It is great to have hockey back. It was a fun first week in the NHL. There was lots of high scoring games and some sloppy play that led to exciting battles. We had a line brawl where two friends fought, and a McDavid hat-trick, What a great time. Let’s get into where I see the seven Canadian teams placing in terms of power rankings through the first week of the season.
The Oilers are going to need a lot of points from McDavid and Draisaitl if they are going to go anywhere this season. Edmonton has just 5 players with more than one point through 4 games and it is apparent that the depth still just isn’t there. I haven’t liked their defense or their goaltending either. I thought their big two studs mixed with Puljujarvi (who has been invisible) and Yamamoto might be enough to will them to the playoffs but after one week, I’m not so sure.
Another team that has not impressed me so far is the Canucks. I was expecting it more from them because of their tough offseason but even their stars haven’t been very good so far. They’ve had one excellent period that I’ve seen from them (1st period against the Flames on Monday) but then they were brutal the rest of the way and lost 5-2. Besides their one win against the Oilers, I don’t see much so far to make me excited about this Vancouver team. They get the nod over Edmonton because at least they were on the road and not at home for their first 4 games.
I knew the Sen’s would be a fun team to watch even if they didn’t win many games and I feel like I was right. Tim Stutzle had a beauty for his first NHL goal and the team grinded out a nice win against the Leafs and made another interesting against them as well. I have really liked Thomas Chabot and Drake Batherson so far as well. I’m not sure Ottawa will be in a five spot for me all season but so far they have impressed me. If not for an OT loss to Winnipeg on Tuesday I would have them in my top 4. We will see if they can maintain this surprising pace as the season goes on.
The Jets were a team I felt would battle for the final North Division playoff spot this year and it looks like I could be onto something. I like their top-six forward group as I thought I would and don’t love their defence. Laine looks like he could be a force again this year although he appears to be a bit injured right now. Scheifele and Connor have looked great. There is still room for improvement from their bottom-six but with Edmonton struggling more than I thought they would this Winnipeg team might finish higher than I expected, although it has only been one week.
The Flames have had some really good stretches of hockey and some really bad stretches of hockey in their first three games. They were really bad in the 2nd and 3rd period against Winnipeg and the 1st period in their second game against Vancouver and really good in the 1st period against Winnipeg and 2nd and 3rd in the second game against Vancouver with a pretty good all around game in the middle. Jacob Markstrom looks like just what the team was hoping for so far and the power play has been great. Johnny and Monahan look much better so far than they did last year and Elias Lindholm has been awesome at centre. This is a team that should finish top 3 in the North if this continues.
I have really liked what I have seen from this Montreal team so far. A solid tandem in net, a strong group on the back end and they are so deep at the forward position. Nick Suzuki and Josh Anderson have been great so far and how about Jeff Petry, talk about underrated. If not for some bad penalties in their first game against the Leafs, Montreal would be 3-0-0 because they were the much better team 5 on 5. I feel like they handled Edmonton pretty easily in the back to back as well. Not much bad to say about Montreal so far except that they are taking too many penalties.
The Leafs have looked pretty good offensively as well besides a stumble against Ottawa in their first matchup. Their stud forwards have stepped up and piled up the points so far and the D-core looks much more respectable with Holl definitely taking a step this year. Freddie has looked a little shakey at times but that shouldn’t matter too much with the rate this team can put the puck in the net. They have a back to back with Edmonton to start the week and then what should be a big matchup with Calgary in two straight games.
Week two should help determine if teams are just having a bad start or if they really are bad. Fans in Vancouver and Edmonton will be looking for a much better stretch for their teams this week. As always, thanks for reading!
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