Published every Wednesday, we’ll rate all 32 teams and move them up and down as the season progresses based on their weekly performance. the reason? To ensure a clear hierarchy of teams by the end of the season, and also because the lists are fun. (Scroll down to see your favorite team.)
Last season, 15 of the 16 best teams in Final strength ratings (April 27) He ended up in the playoffs, with 16th seed Canucks narrowly losing and the 17th seed Kings qualified instead.
There are minor changes from last season’s shortlist, but nothing significant. The pre-season ranks considered both last year’s playoff performance and off-season moves.
Avalanche is No. 1 pre-season as the defending champion after finishing second in the strength rankings last year behind the Panthers, whose poor playoff performance saw him fall out of the top five. Looking back, we should have known better than crowning the President’s Cup winner as the No. 1, as history has shown they’ve never won the Holy Grail.
(All great stats 5 vs 5 courtesy of naturalstattrick.com. CF% stands for corsi by percentage The xGF% represents the expected percentage goals.)
1. Colorado Avalanche (last season: 56-19-7, +78 goal difference. CF%: 7, xGF%: 11)
Main loss: Nazim Qadri, but the defending champions reserve the right to hold the first place until the disc falls.
2. Tampa Bay Lightning (51-28-8, +54. CF%: 12, xGF%: 9)
Major losses: Ondrej Palat and Ryan McDonagh, but it’s more of the same – standing out amidst heavy losses – as Lightning goes for a fourth consecutive appearance in the cup final. They would become only the third team in history to do so after the Habs (1951 to ’60, ’65 to ’69, ’75 to ’79) and the Isles (1980 to 1984).
3. New York Rangers (52-24-6, +47. CF%: 25th, xGF%: 24)
Key addition: Vincent Trochek to replace Ryan Strom, but their prospects in the cup really depend on Igor Shesterkin, who single-handedly challenged all the analytical paradigms and propelled Rangers to the conference finals. They easily went through the most impressive, if not shocking, playoff round last season.
4. Carolina Hurricanes (54-20-8, +76.CF%: 2nd, xGF%: 4th)
Key additions: Max Pasuritti (injured) and Brent Burns, their third right attack “D” in three seasons after Doji Hamilton and Tony D’Angelo. The Canes have been through the playoffs four seasons in a row with two second-round knockouts and a sweep in the conference finals, so it’s time to storm the storm, right?
5. Toronto Maple Leafs (54-21-7, +62. CF%: 6th, xGF%: 3rd)
Main Loss: Jack Campbell, who Toronto couldn’t/didn’t want to push and chose instead Ilya Samsonov and Matt Murray, their goalkeepers… I mean, really, who’s to save who’s here?
6. Calgary Flames (50-21-11, +85. CF%: 3rd, xGF%: 5th)
Key additions: Jonathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weigher and Nazim Qadri. GM Brad Trilling deserves the award for best plastic surgery since John Travolta and Nicolas Cage in remove the face.
7. Edmonton Oilers (49-27-6, +38. CF%: 9th, xGF%: 12th)
Key addition: Jack Campbell, who is certainly the most talented goalkeeper of the Conor McDavid era, but can he stay healthy or steady? How does he act behind a weaker defense?
8. Florida Panthers (58-18-6, +94. CF%: 1st, xGF%: 2nd)
Key addition: Matthew Tkachuk, who will drag the Panthers into battle after a shaky performance in the first-round playoff and a sweep by their in-state rival in the next round. The main question: Can they defend?! (An exclamation point has been added to the effect).
9. St. Louis Blues (49-22-11, +69. CF%: 24, xGF%: 23)
Main loser: David Byron, but he likely misses being in St. Louis. The Avs have lost only three times at home in the playoffs, two of them at the hands of the Blues. Can Thomas Grace push Jordan Bennington as Phil Hoso?
10. Pittsburgh Penguins (46-25-11, +43. CF%: 10th, xGF%: 8)
Key addition: Jeff Petrie, who should take some of the pressure off Chris Letang. The silver lining after taking a 3-1 lead against the New York Chesterkins due to injuries and a bad spicy ham, was a sign that this aging core might have another cup.
11. Minnesota Wild (53-22-7, +57. CF%: 11, xGF%: 6)
Main loser: Kevin Fiala, the only other goal-scoring threat he faces behind Kirill Kaprizov, also nearly $13 million in cap space that forces them to bet on prospects and cheap contracts to stay competitive.
12. Boston Bruins (51-26-5, +35.CF%: 4th, xGF%: 1st)
A major addition: David Krejci’s return, which gives another B option behind Patrice Bergeron to anchor the depth of the position. The Bruins must hold out while Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy are out of the squad.
13. Washington Capitals (44-26-12, +30. CF%: 14, xGF%: 15)
Main loser: Niklas Backstrom, whose career is in limbo and has stolen the hat from their best position in the past 15 seasons. If hats are pushing for another title in Alex Ovechkin’s era, there doesn’t seem to be much urgency.
14. Nashville Predators (45-30-7, +14. CF%: 17, xGF%: 16)
Key addition: Ryan McDonagh, who landed on their lap thanks to the Tampa cover crunch. The biggest mystery is whether Philip Forsberg, Matt Duchenne and Ryan Johansson can continue to endure this team’s attack as they did last season. The Preds have always been a wild card, but they have the second longest running streak after the current one at eight seasons.
15. Los Angeles Kings (44-27-11, +3. CF%: 5th, xGF%: 7th)
Key addition: Kevin Fiala, the bona fide scoring winger they’ve missed forever. The Kings are expected to take a big leap with a wave of young talent and push the first-round playoff series to the limit without Drew Dottie.
16. Vegas Golden Knights (43-31-8, +18. CF%: 8th, xGF%: 10th)
An essential plus: a great deal of post-honeymoon pessimism begins to set in. Vegas’ no-prisoners-and-everything approach to getting every shiny game on the market forces them to sell premium assets for pennies on the dollar due to cap restrictions, and they have little recourse to replace the injured Robin Liner.
17. Dallas Stars (46-30-6, -8. CF%: 19th, xGF%: 14)
Key addition: Peter Debor, who should unlock more attacking potential for the stars…except that they may start the season without top scorer Jason Robertson.
18. Vancouver Canucks (40-30-12, +13. CF%: 16th, xGF%: 18)
Key addition: Andrei Kuzmenko’s signature is literally a story Turning lemons into lemonade juice. The Canucks secured a potential top-six winger in cheap ELC that cost them almost nothing, a huge win for a team that underperformed largely for their cap expense. This defense, though…
19. New Yorkers (37-35-10, -6. CF%: 29th, xGF%: 22)
Major addition: Haha, the joke is on you! After a disappointing season, the Islands faltered over the summer and talked about all of their big-name goals.
20. Winnipeg Jets (39-32-11, -5. CF%: 18th, xGF%: 17)
Add key: A full-time role for Cool Perfetti? Rick Bowness was an odd choice for a team without a well-meaning defender and a weary goalkeeper. There’s already more tension in their room than Maverick and Rooster in the bar with Jerry Lee Lewis blasting into the background.
21- Ottawa Senators (33-42-7, -39. CF%: 21st, xGF%: 25)
Major addition: Alex DeBrincat, one of the new faces during the summer of Dorion and giving Sens the latest makeover since Lanny Boggs in It’s all this. It’s a playoff or bankruptcy for Sens, who enter the season with more hope and excitement than ever with a young roster full of top-tier talent.
22. Detroit Red Wings (32-40-10, -82. CF%: 28th, xGF%: 27)
A major addition: Ville Husso, who excels at other acquisitions because the goalkeepers were their biggest headache last year, sometimes pulls his starting player for his support and then pulls out his backing at the start of the game itself. It was really baffled as the sounds of that sentence.
23. Columbus Blue Jackets (37-38-7, -38. CF%: 23rd, xGF%: 31st)
Key addition: Johnny Goudreau, who left money on the table in Calgary and chose a different lifestyle in low-key Columbus. If we judge GMs by their ability to follow a single plan, Jarmo Kekalainen deserves a lot of credit for making the aggressive decision and forcing him into the supplement conversation. In fact, Eric Gudbranson’s contract was so aggressive, it was actually kind of offensive.
24. New Jersey Devils (27-46-9, -59. CF%: 15th, xGF%: 13th)
Key addition: Ondrej Palat, who can play both at the top and bottom of the squad and brings a wealth of experience to a team that has only made playoffs once in 10 seasons, incidentally losing to Palat and Lightning that year. However, the acquisition of Vitek Vanecek could end up being the most impactful move.
25. Buffalo Sabers (32-39-11, -58. CF%: 20th, xGF%: 28)
Major loss: None, which counts as the Adams-Granato system tries to build on the seeds of optimism sown last season. His 232 goals was the most in over a decade, and for the first time it looked like everyone was thrilled to be at Buffalo. An exciting class of young players is coming up, titled Rookie of the Year Jack Quinn in the AHL.
26- Seattle Kraken (27-49-6, -69. CF%: 13th, xGF%: 19th)
A major addition: a better plan, which involved adding more points on Oliver Bjorkstrand and Andre Burakovsky, then having Shane Wright fall into their lap in the draft. Another hope? Phillip Grubauer, whose play has sunk deep into the Puget Sound, and once you reach the bottom, there is no way but to climb.
27- Anaheim DX (31-37-14, -39. CF%: 22nd, xGF%: 20th)
Key addition: John Klingberg’s new asset management move by GM Pat Verbeek is giving the ducks a very good trading chip as they continue to build into the future. Could Trevor Zegras and Mason McTavish form the next family after Ryan Getslav and Corey Perry?
28. San Jose Sharks (32-37-13, -50. CF%: 31st, xGF%: 21st)
Key loss: Brent Burns, who spent 11 seasons in the Bay Area and became the first casualty as new general manager Mike Greer tries to untie the cover mess. He leaves the ‘D’ extraordinarily skinny with $18.5 million tied up in Eric Carlson and Marc Eduard Vlasic and leaves Mario Ferraro – underrated but also not a pairing material – as the top defender.
29. Philadelphia Flyers (25-46-11, -87. CF%: 27th, xGF%: 26)
A major plus: John Tortorella, who comes in guns blazing and has a great reputation that can overshadow his snowboarding effect. Bewildered table moves weren’t his calling, and we’ll see if this so-called match in heaven becomes a nightmare. we need More cameras behind the scenes In this panel, stat.
30. Montreal Canadiens (22-49-11, -98. CF%: 26th, xGF%: 29)
Key loss: Carey Price, who was able to return late last season and whose retirement will close the chapter on one of the best goalkeepers to have managed to win Blanc and Rogge. This is a new era now with Nick Suzuki, newly minted with the letter ‘C’ and also The ugliest patch sponsor jersey of all time.
31. Arizona Coyotes (25-50-7, -106. CF%: 32nd, xGF%: 32nd)
Key Loss: How About a Place to Call Home? Jokes aside, the main plus are the draft picks, and Yotes can have up to 18 picks in the first three rounds in the next three drafts. The scary part? Bill Armstrong is set to add more than $20 million in cover space this season and additional $20 million next season, especially when Jacob Chicheron is dealt. Cover space is the ultimate leverage, folks.
32. Chicago Blackhawks (28-42-12, -72. CF%: 30th, xGF%: 30)
Losing the key: dignity basically. The Hawks are in the process of ripping up their roster and have a long way to go in rehabilitating every aspect of their organization. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toys are entering the final year of their contracts, marking the end of an era of championships that are now ugly and tainted.