NHL Power Rankings: Avalanche and Rangers looking like early Cup favorites

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The Daily Goal Horn’s Top Ten NHL Power Rankings are back now the preseason action is underway.

As we look at teams in September, a lot of what the rankings are based on include:

  • Last season’s performance
  • Offseason moves
  • Training Camp news
  • Exhibition play

The first batch of preseason games are already in the books so let’s dive in to the latest rankings.

NHL Power Rankings

2022-23 Top 10 Teams (September):

  1. Colorado Avalanche
  2. New York Rangers
  3. Florida Panthers
  4. Calgary Flames ⬆️
  5. Carolina Hurricanes ⬆️
  6. Toronto Maple Leafs
  7. Edmonton Oilers ⬆️
  8. Tampa Bay Lightning ⬇️
  9. Minnesota Wild ⬆️
  10. St. Louis Blues (NEW)

2022-23 Top 10 Teams (August):

  1. Colorado Avalanche
  2. New York Rangers
  3. Florida Panthers
  4. Tampa Bay Lightning
  5. Calgary Flames
  6. Toronto Maple Leafs
  7. Carolina Hurricanes
  8. Edmonton Oilers
  9. Pittsburgh Penguins
  10. Minnesota Wild

Daily Goal Horn Power Rankings Breakdown

colorado avalanche
Jun 26, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; The Colorado Avalanche pose for a team picture with the Stanley Cup after their game against the Tampa Bay Lightning in game six of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

1. Colorado Avalanche: The Avs will open up the season without Gabriel Landeskog, but isn’t expected to be out long term with a lower-body injury. This is a team that went on a 16-4 run to win the Stanley Cup in 2021-22 and have the likes of Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, and Mikko Rantanen to keep them afloat. Although they lost several key players via free agency in Nazem Kadri and Darcy Kuemper, they have enough talent to repeat. A summer trade to bring in goaltender Alexandar Georgiev at least helped with their loss in net.

2. New York Rangers: The Rangers are coming into this season as contender, which is far different than last year when people weren’t sure if they were even a playoff team. While the team lost all their trade deadline pickups via free agency, they will be replaced by upcoming young stars like Alexis Lafreniere, Kaapo Kakko, and Vitali Kravtsov. The signing of veteran Vincent Trocheck helps replace Ryan Strome but also weakens the Hurricanes, who are their biggest threat for first in the Metro. Superstars like Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Adam Fox, and Chris Kreider makes this a team to reckon with. Once you add Vezina winner Igor Shesterkin to the mix that elevates them to #2 on this list.

3. Florida Panthers: They were considered one of the favorites to win it all before falling to the Lightning in Round 2. Many felt the Panthers, despite all their scoring power were too easy to play against. Enter in Matthew Tkachuk after a blockbuster deal that sent Jonathan Huberdeau and Mackenzie Weegar to Calgary. While Florida also lost Claude Giroux in free agency, this is still a very good hockey team with Paul Maurice now at the helm. If Aaron Ekblad can stay healthy, the Cats may finally get over the hump.

4. Calgary Flames: GM Brad Treliving should be a lock for GM of the Year just based off the wild summer he had. First he lost Johnny Gaudreau via free agency, and then Matthew Tkachuk refused to sign longterm so he was shipped to Florida. In return, the Flames got high-scoring forward Jonathan Huberdeau and defenseman Mackenzie Weegar. They then went out and signed Nazem Kadri and dumped Sean Monahan to improve their center position. Now that head coach Darryl Sutter has his horses in place, they should be ready to run through the Pacific Division again.

5. Carolina Hurricanes: The Hurricanes are still one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference but maybe probably no longer the top team in Metropolitan Division. The acquisition of Brent Burns will make the team dangerous from the blue-line and the addition of Max Pacioretty for a song thanks to Vegas’ cap issues will bolster their offense. Unfortunately, he’s out 6 months with an Achilles injury which will hurt them as they battle the Rangers for first place.

6. Toronto Maple Leafs: The Leafs on paper look like world-beaters. That has yet to translate into anything substantial on the ice as they continue to lose in the first-round of the playoffs. Yes, Auston Matthews is great. Who doesn’t love what Mitch Marner, John Tavares, Morgan Rielly, and William Nylander bring to the table? Beyond that, the overall defense is suspect and questions are abound in net. Will Matt Murray find the form he lost in Pittsburgh? Will Ilya Samsonov hit his potential? It’s for these reasons that the Leafs crack the top 10 but not the top 5.

7. Edmonton Oilers: Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl finally have a goalie they can play with in Jack Campbell, who left the cap-strapped Maple Leafs to join the high-flying Oilers. Evander Kane, who played well since the trade last season wisely re-upped with the club on a multi-year deal. Despite being swept in the Western Conference Final by the Avs, Edmonton looks poised to take a few more strides and challenge for the title. Now that McDavid’s had a taste of some playoff success, he might actually get better. A scary thought for the rest of the league.

8. Tampa Bay Lightning: The light is slowly fading on the Lightning, but they are unlikely to go quietly into the night. Yes, they were forced to move Ryan McDonagh to Nashville for cap reasons, plus watched Ondrej Palat sign with New Jersey. However, their young players like Mikhail Sergachev and Anthony Cirelli will only be counted on more. Let’s not forget this team has Andrei Vasilevskiy in between the pipes with Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, and Victor Hedman to lead them.

9. Minnesota Wild: The Wild have a well balanced team that plays a strong system. Minnesota will rely heavily on Marc-Andre Fleury after jettisoning Cam Talbot to Ottawa. The team’s defense is solid 1-6 and their offense runs though young star Kirill Kaprizov. The loss of Kevin Fiala will hurt them in the long run, but they have enough talent to compete in the Central Division.

10. St. Louis Blues: Not too far behind the Wild are the Blues, who took them out in last year’s playoffs. The team is basically intact and their young stars are a year older and signed for the ling run. Both Jordan Kyrou and Robert Thomas will be key players for this team which is bolstered by veterans Ryan O’Reilly, Vlad Tarasenko, Pavel Buchnevich, and Torey Krug. Keep an eye on Jordan Binnington being a difference maker this season.