NHL Power Rankings: New Jersey Devils might be for real this year

We’re almost done the first month of the NHL schedule, and we’re getting a much better picture as to how some of the teams are looking. There’s still time for teams to bounce back from slow starts, but we may already have a few teams that have dug themselves holes too deep to get out of this year.

As I’ve done so far this season, I’ll be ranking teams not just on their results in the standings, but also with how they’ve looked in several stats as well. Otherwise I’d just copy and paste the standings, right? No fun in that. The rankings are an aggregate of six different stats: points %, 5-on-5 goal differential, 5-on-5 xGF/60, 5-on-5 xGA/60, power play xGF/60, and shorthanded xGA/60, all coming courtesy of Natural Stat Trick. But, to ground the rankings a bit, no team can be above a team that’s more than five points ahead in the standings, regardless of the aggregate.

1. New Jersey Devils

Record: 6-3-0 (.667%, t-6th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +6 (t-4th)
5v5 xGF/60: 3.61 (1st)
5v5 xGA/60: 1.61 (1st)
PP xGF/60: 10.69 (2nd)
PK xGA/60: 5.41 (1st)
5v5 PDO: 95.7
Previous Week: 4th (+3)

The talk has always been on the smart moves that the Devils have made in the past few off-seasons to finally build a competitive team around Jack Hughes, Jesper Bratt, and Nico Hischier, and while it’s only been a few weeks, that team is starting to look like it’s finally been put together. They dropped their first game last week to the Capitals but followed it up with three straight wins over the Red Wings, Avalanche, and Blue Jackets, with the Avs being the first and only opponent this season for the Devils to not have at least 60% of the expected goal share at even strength against.

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2. Boston Bruins

Record: 8-1-0 (.889%, 1st)
5v5 Goal Differential: +9 (2nd)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.9 (9th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.12 (4th)
PP xGF/60: 10.09 (3rd)
PK xGA/60: 5.88 (4th)
5v5 PDO: 102.9
Previous Week: 1st (-1)

The Bruins drop down more because of the play of the Devils than their own play, although they did drop off slightly even with winger Brad Marchand in the lineup much sooner than expected. Still without Charlie McAvoy, they had a clean sweep last week, beating the Stars, Red Wings, and Blue Jackets.

3. Carolina Hurricanes

Record: 5-2-1 (.688%, t-4th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +7 (3rd)
5v5 xGF/60: 3.33 (t-2nd)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.04 (2nd)
PP xGF/60: 7.78 (13th)
PK xGA/60: 6.42 (6th)
5v5 PDO: 100.7
Previous Week: 5th (+2)

New addition Brent Burns is really starting to settle into his new role as the Dougie Hamilton/Tony DeAngelo replacement in Carolina, thanks to a three-point week and his first two goals as a Hurricane. The Canes started off the week strong against the Canucks, and ended it well against the Flyers, but had an ugly 6-2 loss to the Islanders in the middle of that.

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4. Florida Panthers

Record: 5-3-1 (.611%, t-10th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +6 (t-4th)
5v5 xGF/60: 3.26 (t-4th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.09 (3rd)
PP xGF/60: 8.82 (9th)
PK xGA/60: 6.95 (9th)
5v5 PDO: 99.4
Previous Week: 6th (+2)

While it wasn’t the best week in the win department, with only one win in their three games, the Panthers keep trucking along without Aaron Ekblad on the back end. They still dominated in all of those games, and Brandon Montour has stepped up in Ekblad’s absence with five points in three games last week.

5. Vegas Golden Knights

Record: 8-2-0 (.800%, 2nd)
5v5 Goal Differential: +10 (1st)
5v5 xGF/60: 3.33 (t-2nd)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.21 (5th)
PP xGF/60: 6.39 (26th)
PK xGA/60: 7.07 (10th)
5v5 PDO: 102.7
Previous Week: 11th (+6)

The Golden Knights continue to prove everyone wrong and keep winning despite all of the offseason and injury losses, and now their play is catching up to them, hence a six spot jump this week. They did a lot of celebrating between four straight wins this week and a couple milestones achieved by Phil Kessel, including him setting the new Ironman streak record.

6. Calgary Flames

Record: 5-2-0 (.714%, 3rd)
5v5 Goal Differential: +2 (t-14th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.84 (t-12th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.6 (t-12th)
PP xGF/60: 9.87 (4th)
PK xGA/60: 5.74 (3rd)
5v5 PDO: 99.1
Previous Week: 7th (+1)

The Flames have had a great start to the season, but it’s been quiet, mostly because they’re one of two teams to not play eight games through three weeks, and only got two games in last week. They had a great win over the Penguins to start off the week, and played well in the 3-2 loss to the Oilers on Saturday, especially considering they were missing their star addition for a bit of the game due to… well, we’ll let Darryl tell you why.

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7. Dallas Stars

Record: 5-3-1 (.611%, t-10th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +6 (t-4th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.76 (15th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.47 (8th)
PP xGF/60: 8.45 (11th)
PK xGA/60: 8.07 (18th)
5v5 PDO: 103.3
Previous Week: 3rd (-4)

After a hot start for the Stars, they seem to have stalled a little bit this week, losing three of four games while playing about as average as you’d expect in a 1-3 week. They drop a little bit down the rankings as a result, although they were in tough without Miro Heiskanen, who missed their last three games with an upper-body injury.

8. Seattle Kraken

Record: 4-4-2 (.500%, t-19th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +3 (t-10th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.91 (8th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.38 (6th)
PP xGF/60: 6.01 (28th)
PK xGA/60: 5.61 (2nd)
5v5 PDO: 99.5
Previous Week: 15th (+7)

Could the Kraken possibly be turning into a competitive NHL team? Their record doesn’t quite show it yet, but they’re starting to put together some impressive numbers. They may have given the Canucks their first win of the season, but they also took care of a Sabres team off to a hot start and beat the Penguins to finish off the week, all without starting goaltender Philipp Grubauer (not that he’s been all that good since joining the Kraken anyways).

9. Pittsburgh Penguins

Record: 4-4-1 (.500%, t-19th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +6 (t-4th)
5v5 xGF/60: 3.26 (t-4th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.58 (t-10th)
PP xGF/60: 9.53 (5th)
PK xGA/60: 10.04 (31st)
5v5 PDO: 101.6
Previous Week: 2nd (-7)

Speaking of the Penguins, they take quite a tumble down the rankings this week after an ugly Northwestern road trip that saw them lose all four games, with three of them by a difference of at least three goals. You had to figure it was going to happen once the schedule started to get tougher, but I’m sure they aren’t too happy losing to the Canucks either.

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10. New York Rangers

Record: 5-3-2 (.600%, 13th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -2 (t-22nd)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.95 (7th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.5 (9th)
PP xGF/60: 12.4 (1st)
PK xGA/60: 8.78 (23rd)
5v5 PDO: 97.5
Previous Week: 13th (+3)

The Rangers didn’t necessarily start the week off right, extending their losing streak to four games with losses to the Avalanche and Islanders, but bounced back over the weekend with wins over the Stars and Coyotes. They did all this without Filip Chytil holding down that third line. He’s a late-blooming young gun whose game evolved in the playoffs last season.

11. Toronto Maple Leafs

Record: 4-4-2 (.500%, t-19th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -4 (t-25th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.85 (11th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.66 (t-15th)
PP xGF/60: 9.48 (6th)
PK xGA/60: 6.03 (5th)
5v5 PDO: 97.9
Previous Week: 8th (-3)

Despite what Leafs fans may have you believe right now, this team is far from a train wreck, although they still have been slightly underwhelming. Dropping four straight games on a Western road trip certainly feeds the chaotic flames right now, especially losing two in overtime to bottom-feeders in the Sharks and Ducks, but with Matthews finally getting a couple more goals, that might kickstart their return to dominance.

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12. Los Angeles Kings

Record: 5-5-0 (.500%, t-19th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -1 (t-19th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.75 (16th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.58 (t-10th)
PP xGF/60: 7.47 (t-16th)
PK xGA/60: 6.83 (8th)
5v5 PDO: 98.6
Previous Week: 17th (+5)

After a bit of a chaotic start for the Kings, they’ve started to return to that form that got them to the playoffs last season, even if it hasn’t necessarily shown in the win column just yet. They got wins against the Lightning and Leafs, and while they lost to the Jets in a high-scoring 6-4 affair, the Kings put up their best expected goal share of the season in that game, so there’s lots of promise with this team after this week.

13. Ottawa Senators

Record: 4-4-0 (.500%, t-19th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +5 (9th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.89 (10th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.81 (22nd)
PP xGF/60: 7.4 (18th)
PK xGA/60: 7.08 (12th)
5v5 PDO: 102.6
Previous Week: 10th (-3)

The Sens started off the week strong with a win over the Stars, but then just about everything went downhill after that. Not only did they drop their other two games to the Wild and Panthers, they also briefly lost Anton Forsberg for a game, are out Artem Zub for one to two weeks, and might not even see center Josh Norris for the rest of the season based on recent evaluations.

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14. Edmonton Oilers

Record: 6-3-0 (.667%, t-6th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +2 (t-14th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.7 (18th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.96 (26th)
PP xGF/60: 9.14 (8th)
PK xGA/60: 8.25 (19th)
5v5 PDO: 101.2
Previous Week: 22nd (+8)

The Oilers shoot up the rankings thanks to four straight wins, although their play not quite living up to their record is what continues to drag them down a bit more. They looked good against the Penguins and Blues, but got outplayed quite a bit against the Blackhawks and Flames, needing a McDavid hat trick in the former game and another lights out performance from Stuart Skinner in the latter game to pull out wins.

15. Detroit Red Wings

Record: 4-2-2 (.625%, t-8th)
5v5 Goal Differential: 0 (t-17th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.31 (25th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.97 (27th)
PP xGF/60: 7.72 (14th)
PK xGA/60: 7.07 (10th)
5v5 PDO: 101.6
Previous Week: 12th (-3)

The Wings have started to slow down a little bit, with losses to the Devils and Bruins to start the week before barely making it out alive in a 2-1 win over the Wild where they only had 35.94% of the expected goals. Now, those two losses came to our No. 1 and 2 teams, so you can cut them a bit of slack, but this team has yet to show that they’re truly legit this year.

16. Colorado Avalanche

Record: 4-4-1 (.500%, t-19th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -1 (t-19th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.5 (t-20th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.8 (21st)
PP xGF/60: 7.47 (t-16th)
PK xGA/60: 6.7 (7th)
5v5 PDO: 99.6
Previous Week: 14th (-2)

The Avalanche still seem to be struggling out of the gate, sitting middle of the pack yet again after dropping two straight to the Devils and Islanders and not looking good in the process. They did miss leading scorer Valeri Nichushkin in both of those games, so that doesn’t help their depth that’s already been depleted due to a tight cap and injuries, and they still have plenty of time to recover, but we haven’t seen the Avs look average like this for a long time.

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17. Washington Capitals

Record: 5-4-0 (.556%, t-14th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +3 (t-10th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.32 (24th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.82 (23rd)
PP xGF/60: 8 (12th)
PK xGA/60: 8.42 (21st)
5v5 PDO: 103
Previous Week: 19th (+2)

While the Capitals have been far from a perfect team, credit where it’s due, they still find themselves above .500 despite the piling list of injuries they’ve had to deal with. On top of Nicklas Backstrom, Tom Wilson, and Carl Hagelin not playing a game yet this season, they’ve lost Connor Brown for a while and saw T.J. Oshie and John Carlson leave Saturday’s game early with injuries, with Oshie already confirmed to be out indefinitely. At this rate, they might have to move their arena to a hospital just to play it safe going forward.

18. New York Islanders

Record: 5-4-0 (.556%, t-14th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +6 (t-4th)
5v5 xGF/60: 3.11 (6th)
5v5 xGA/60: 3.28 (32nd)
PP xGF/60: 6.58 (25th)
PK xGA/60: 9.1 (24th)
5v5 PDO: 102.4
Previous Week: 23rd (+5)

The Islanders jump up five spots on the back of a three game winning streak, beating the Rangers, Hurricanes, and Avalanche to do so, which aren’t exactly easy games either. Despite their defensive reputation, the Isles managed to put up the best offensive performance this season from any team, generating 4.88 expected goals at 5-on-5 on Saturday against the Avs.

19. Minnesota Wild

Record: 4-4-1 (.500%, t-19th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -9 (29th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.5 (t-20th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.43 (7th)
PP xGF/60: 9.46 (7th)
PK xGA/60: 9.21 (25th)
5v5 PDO: 95.8
Previous Week: 29th (+10)

The Wild still haven’t quite woken up from their slow start, but they’re certainly in the lightest stage of slumber now. They climbed back up to .500 after winning three of four this week, and they also outplayed their opponents in all four games, but their stars haven’t quite hit their stride yet to make this team the powerhouse many expected them to be this season.

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20. Buffalo Sabres

Record: 5-3-0 (.625%, t-8th)
5v5 Goal Differential: 3 (t-10th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.72 (17th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.9 (25th)
PP xGF/60: 5.51 (31st)
PK xGA/60: 7.89 (17th)
5v5 PDO: 102.6
Previous Week: 16th (-4)

Like with a few other teams on this list so far that have been overperforming, a couple losses gave the aggregate an excuse to drop the Sabres a few places in the ranking. They managed to recover it with a 4-3 win over the Blackhawks on Saturday, but they’ll need to start improving their overall play if they want a chance at ending their 11-season playoff drought.

21. St. Louis Blues

Record: 3-4-0 (.429%, 26th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -8 (28th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.53 (19th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.76 (t-18th)
PP xGF/60: 8.48 (10th)
PK xGA/60: 7.17 (13th)
5v5 PDO: 96.4
Previous Week: 9th (-12)

The Blues see the biggest drop this week after going from an undefeated record to dropping four straight games with losses to the Jets, Oilers, Predators, and Canadiens. Only playing seven games so far doesn’t help how volatile they Blues have been in the rankings so far, but they’ll need to step it up to not dig themselves into an early hole, especially with Pavel Buchnevich out for an unknown amount of time.

22. Tampa Bay Lightning

Record: 5-4-0 (.556%, t-14th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -2 (t-22nd)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.84 (t-12th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.68 (17th)
PP xGF/60: 7.38 (19th)
PK xGA/60: 10.34 (32nd)
5v5 PDO: 99
Previous Week: 20th (-2)

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The Lightning may have bumped their record up above .500 after two straight wins to the Ducks and Sharks, but they still haven’t quite looked like the Lightning we all know yet. At the very least, Kucherov and Stamkos have masked their struggles so far, as both players have been off to hot starts with Kucherov’s 12 points and Stamkos’ seven goals in the team’s first nine games.

23. Philadelphia Flyers

Record: 5-2-1 (.688%, t-4th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +1 (16th)
5v5 xGF/60: 1.99 (30th)
5v5 xGA/60: 3.14 (29th)
PP xGF/60: 7.27 (20th)
PK xGA/60: 8.3 (20th)
5v5 PDO: 102.7
Previous Week: 18th (-5)

While my rule of overriding the aggregation that comes up with these rankings when a team is ahead of another one by more than five points hasn’t come into effect just yet, the Flyers are really pushing the limits of it. They only played two games this week and went 1-1, so regression can’t really kick into effect just yet, but they have yet to play a game where the expected goals are in their favor, and they aren’t getting any help soon either now that Sean Couturier is out longer than anticipated.

24. Chicago Blackhawks

Record: 4-3-2 (.556%, t-14th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -4 (t-25th)
5v5 xGF/60: 1.97 (31st)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.63 (14th)
PP xGF/60: 7.06 (21st)
PK xGA/60: 7.81 (16th)
5v5 PDO: 100.5
Previous Week: 21st (-3)

The Blackhawks that came into this season with their sights set on Connor Bedard are slowly creeping up on what was a hot start for Chicago. They beat the Panthers to start the week, but then dropped three straight to the Oilers, Sabres, and Wild, and they’ve lost Petr Mrazek, Tyler Johnson, and Seth Jones to injury for significant stretches to add to the damage.

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25. Winnipeg Jets

Record: 5-3-1 (.611%, t-10th)
5v5 Goal Differential: 0 (t-17th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.35 (t-22nd)
5v5 xGA/60: 3.06 (28th)
PP xGF/60: 6.78 (22nd)
PK xGA/60: 9.28 (26th)
5v5 PDO: 101.3
Previous Week: 30th (+5)

The Jets are another team really pushing that 5+ point rule to the limit with these rankings, as a 3-0-1 record on the week has really boosted what’s otherwise been a mediocre at best performance so far this season. Having new head coach Rick Bowness in and out of games due to COVID-19 has certainly added to the Jets’ chaos, but luckily for them, they have Connor Hellebuyck bailing them out in the crease, who’s looking like an early Vezina candidate with his play so far with a .931 save percentage and 7.98 goals saved above expected.

26. Montreal Canadiens

Record: 5-4-0 (.556%, t-14th)
5v5 Goal Differential: +3 (t-10th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.27 (26th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.79 (20th)
PP xGF/60: 6.21 (27th)
PK xGA/60: 10.02 (30th)
5v5 PDO: 101.5
Previous Week: 28th (+2)

The Habs keep on surprising early in the season, as they rebounded from a loss to Wild to begin the week with wins over the Sabres and Blues to keep above .500 in the first month of the season. Cole Caufield continues to keep scoring with another three goals this week, but that inexperienced blueline has been getting caved in, and it’s only a matter of time before the team’s record catches up.

27. Nashville Predators

Record: 3-5-1 (.389%, 27th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -1 (t-19th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.77 (14th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.76 (t-18th)
PP xGF/60: 6.66 (23rd)
PK xGA/60: 9.95 (29th)
5v5 PDO: 99.5
Previous Week: 27th (0)

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The Preds find themselves in the exact same spot as last week, although with only two games this week, it’s hard for them to really do anything to improve or worsen. They looked good in their 6-2 win over the Blues, but then weren’t all that good against the Caps, adding to the mediocrity, but they’ll probably see some improvement once their stars play like stars and Juuse Saros returns to form.

28. San Jose Sharks

Record: 3-8-0 (.273%, 32nd)
5v5 Goal Differential: -12 (31st)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.25 (27th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.6 (t-12th)
PP xGF/60: 7.56 (15th)
PK xGA/60: 7.65 (15th)
5v5 PDO: 96.7
Previous Week: 26th (-2)

This Sharks team may not be good or even entertaining, but if you’re a nostalgic person like myself, then you can watch their games solely to see Erik Karlsson’s return to form, dragging this team to the few wins they’ve gotten so far like he carried the 2017 Senators to the Conference Final. He currently leads all defensemen in goals above replacement with 5.4, and played a big role in the team’s lone win this week, a 4-3 OT victory over the Leafs that the Sharks had no business being in.

29. Vancouver Canucks

Record: 2-5-2 (.333%, 28th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -2 (t-22nd)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.35 (t-22nd)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.66 (t-15th)
PP xGF/60: 6.62 (24th)
PK xGA/60: 9.3 (27th)
5v5 PDO: 100.6
Previous Week: 25th (-4)

The Canucks have finally got their first wins of the season, if not for the sanity of the team and their fans, then my own sanity for justifying not having this team in last place in these rankings. In a weird twist of fate, they actually fall a few places despite going 2-1 this week, but their play might see some improvement with the team bringing in Ethan Bear as a puck-moving option on their back end.

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30. Arizona Coyotes

Record: 2-5-1 (.313%, 29th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -14 (32nd)
5v5 xGF/60: 1.56 (32nd)
5v5 xGA/60: 3.21 (30th)
PP xGF/60: 5.71 (30th)
PK xGA/60: 7.24 (14th)
5v5 PDO: 97.2
Previous Week: 32nd (-2)

This is it. This is the Coyotes’ Stanley Cup. They’ve finally found a way to get out of last place, even if it’s just for the week. They still haven’t won the expected goal battle in a game yet this season, and they haven’t quite capitalized on the unique atmosphere of their new home at Mullet Arena after losing their first two games there, but they can enjoy not being the worst team in the NHL… for now.

31. Anaheim Ducks

Record: 2-6-1 (278%, 31st)
5v5 Goal Differential: -7 (27th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.03 (29th)
5v5 xGA/60: 3.23 (31st)
PP xGF/60: 5.83 (29th)
PK xGA/60: 8.72 (22nd)
5v5 PDO: 99.6
Previous Week: 31st (0)

The Ducks currently find themselves at the bottom of the standings, and second worst in points percentage after seeing their losing streak extend to seven games before adding to the Maple Leafs’ misery with a comeback 4-3 OT win on Sunday night. Trevor Zegras played a big role in that win with two goals, including the OT winner, and it’s been him and Troy Terry carrying the load offensively so far this year for this team.

32. Columbus Blue Jackets

Record: 3-7-0 (.300%, 30th)
5v5 Goal Differential: -11 (30th)
5v5 xGF/60: 2.19 (28th)
5v5 xGA/60: 2.84 (24th)
PP xGF/60: 5.42 (32nd)
PK xGA/60: 9.4 (28th)
5v5 PDO: 97.1
Previous Week: 24th (-8)

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The Blue Jackets see a massive drop this week as their early struggles continue, as they’ve been bad across the board to start their year. They finally got Patrik Laine back at the start of the week, but that didn’t stop them from getting absolutely stomped by the Devils 7-1 on Sunday, not just on the scoreboard, but analytically to the point where it was historically bad.


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