NHL Power Rankings: Trick and/or Treat Edition

Patrik-Laine

Patrik Laine, Halloween

Trick or treat,
Gimme candy quick like McDavid feet,
Not too big, not too small,
Just the size of panic in Montreal

It’s the NHL Power Rankings: Trick or Treat Edition.

Happy Halloween, kiddies.

1. Tampa Bay Lightning
Trick: The Lightning may have accidentally made the Penguins stronger in the long run by chasing Antti Niemi in a 7-1 blowout. Niemi was promptly waived.
Treat: Sorry, Benn-Seguin, Ovie-Kuznetsov, Matthews-Nylander, and McDavid-Draisaitl. Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos are hockey’s best forward duo right now.

2. Vegas Golden Knights
Trick: Life is cruel. Malcolm Subban finally gets a shot to establish himself as an NHL goalie and promptly injures his groin.
Treat: The Golden Knights (7-1-0) have jumped to the greatest start by an NHL expansion franchise, and it turns out they have three goalies who can win games. Welcome, Oscar Dansk!

3. Toronto Maple Leafs
Trick: Frederik Andersen has jumped to a sparkling 6-2 record but is working with a career-low .900 save percentage.
Treat: Toronto is scoring 4.44 goals per game and is widely regarded as possessing the deepest offence in hockey.

4. Los Angeles Kings
Trick: Drew Doughty says he loves being a King and doesn’t want to leave L.A. That’s understandable, but winning equals happiness. What if the Kings start losing?
Treat: Doughty and Jake Muzzin have a combined 15 points already, as new coach John Stevens has taken the leash off his blueliners and encouraged them to jump up in the play.

5. Ottawa Senators
Trick: The Senators have bought into Guy Boucher’s system and are more willing to block shots than any other team… but that sacrifice has already cost them Bobby Ryan’s finger.
Treat: Derick Brassard has stormed back from shoulder surgery to lead the team in points (10), with nine of them coming at even strength.

6. New Jersey Devils
Trick: Rookie Jesper Bratt made noise early and is tied for the Devils’ lead in goals with three, but he’s shooting at 37.5 per cent. Taylor Hall has only one goal, but he’s scoring on just four per cent of his shots. This will change.
Treat: College free agent find Will Butcher is setting up teammates at a rate unprecedented for rookie D-men.

7. St. Louis Blues
Trick: On anyone who thought Jake Allen was fragile and broken wears egg on his face.
Treat: Allen’s backup, Carter Hutton, has been near-perfect when called upon this month, too.

8. Columbus Blue Jackets
Trick: Rookie winger (and trick artist) Sonny “Mitts” Milano already has five goals; his crazy-high 35.7 shooting percentage may be difficult to maintain.
Treat: Willie O’Ree’s ceremonial puck drop (and his suit game).

9. New York Islanders
Trick: The Islanders’ offence has been just fine, but they don’t have a single goal from their blue line and the handsomely paid Johnny Boychuk is still looking for a point and is a team-worst minus-4 after nine games.
Treat: No one talks about Anders Lee much, but the forward is second in team scoring and has five more goals than Jordan Eberle.

10. Vancouver Canucks
Trick: Thinking the Canucks will struggle on the road and then they go out and take four of five, starting with a shutout the Senators and ending with a shutout in Minnesota.
Treat: Derek Dorsett acting like a “Rocket” Richard Trophy candidate and Jake Virtanen adding a nice little dose of speed to the Sedins line.

11. Calgary Flames
Trick: The Jaromir Jagr signing spelled bad news for youth in Calgary. Then Jagr goes down within five games, and Mark Jankowski gets a chance to shine.
Treat: That Jagr “After Hours” interview

12. Chicago Blackhawks
Trick: Depth defenceman Cody Franson is averaging a point a game. He’s played twice.
Treat: Richard Panik, waived by Tampa and acquired for peanuts from Toronto, has established himself as a fixture in Chicago’s top six with five goals and eight points through 10 games.

13. Anaheim Ducks
Trick: Just when you think Anaheim has met its quota of sidelined players, Patrick Eaves is diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome. Get well soon, Patrick.
Treat: Andrew Cogliano and Antoine Vermette stepping up their output with Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler down.

14. Philadelphia Flyers
Trick: The Flyers have a plus-6 goal differential but their possession metrics are below average and their PDO counts them as one of the “luckier” teams in the league.
Treat: Philly’s team save percentage of .921 had the Flyers tops in the Metropolitan Division heading into Tuesday night.

15. Colorado Avalanche
Trick: Matt Duchene is for sure getting traded, right?
Treat: Tyson Barrie has bounced from his curious off-season injury in Europe and is producing offence at a rate in line with his 2015 hype.

16. San Jose Sharks
Trick: Brent Burns doesn’t have a goal despite leading the Sharks in shots (32).
Treat: Logan Couture — six goals and nine points in his past four games — is on fire.

17. Dallas Stars
Trick: Dallas ranks among the league’s top possession teams and worst PDO teams. The Stars’ record belies how good they’ve been.
Treat: John Klingberg (seven points, plus rating, 24-plus minutes a night) is turning into the back-end horse Dallas bet he’d be.

18. Winnipeg Jets
Trick: Steve Mason (zero wins) thought he was brought in to lead the Jets goaltending tandem, but really his presence has just kick-started Connor Hellebuyck (four wins).
Treat: Nikolaj Ehlers has responded well to a life of financial security, putting up a team-high six goals.

19. Washington Capitals
Trick: Splitting Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin may have been a small gamble considering their years of success, but now the Backstrom line and the Evgeny Kuznetsov line are firing at an elite clip.
Treat: Nathan Walker is making history as the first Australian to score in the NHL.

20. Nashville Predators
Trick: Just when you think the Predators are putting it together, they get doubled up by a vulnerable Rangers team and lose a shootout to Calgary.
Treat: ESPN ranked the Predators the No. 1 franchise in all sports.

21. Boston Bruins
Trick: With Tuukka Rask, goaltending shouldn’t be an issue for Bruins. Yet Rask is now hurt and Boston has one of the worst team save percentages in the NHL (.880).
Treat: Brad Marchand’s Twitter feed on Oct. 20…

22. Minnesota Wild
Trick: Minnesota is the best Western team in the faceoff circle. Even though they start with the puck, they’ve been stuck in the Central Division basement.
Treat: Chris Stewart is off to the season of his life, scoring six goals and eight points through six games to lead all Wild scorers.

23. Detroit Red Wings
Trick: The Red Wings’ hot start is starting to look like a mirage. Case in point: A 4-1 whipping at home by Vancouver that coach Jeff Blashill called an embarrassment.
Treat: Veteran cornerstones Mike Green and Henrik Zetterberg are performing like it’s 2007.

24. Carolina Hurricanes
Trick: If you think Carolina is struggling out of the gate, check the Hurricanes’ games played. No team has played fewer.
Treat: Think he’s too old? Justin Williams has been a fantastic (re-)addition so far, scoring five points and a team-high four assists.

25. Pittsburgh Penguins
Trick: They’re the champions… of surrendering goals, with an Eastern Conference–high four per game.
Treat: A video of Phil Kessel playing basketball exists…

26. Florida Panthers
Trick: Someone told them Antii Niemi was the answer to an injured Roberto Luongo.
Treat: The return of Russia’s Evgeny Dadonov — seven points in eight games — is one of the better (and under-reported) tales of October hockey.

27. Edmonton Oilers
Trick: The Oilers are getting slammed for their rough start but have the NHL’s best Corsi rating and the worst PDO in the West.
Treat: Leon Draisaitl… he’s baaaaack.

28. New York Rangers
Trick: The Rangers lead the NHL in hits (227), which means they don’t have the puck.
Treat: Henrik Lundqvist hasn’t quite reached stick-smashing status unlike another well-paid, under-performing Eastern Conference goalie we know.

29. Buffalo Sabres
Trick: The notion that adding Marco Scandella and Nathan Beaulieu could shape up an already thin D core that lost Cody Franson and Dmitry Kulikov.
Treat: Jason Pominville is getting about four minutes less ice time than Evander Kane and Jack Eichel but producing just as many points (11).

30. Montreal Canadiens
Trick: Max Pacioretty had one goal through his first eight games. Until scoring again Tuesday, he was a frequent 30-goal guy shooting a measly three per cent, so I haven’t waived him from my fantasy team yet. Am I an idiot? Discuss.
Treat: The hockey world is a more interesting place when things are extremely good or extremely bad in Montreal.

31. Arizona Coyotes
Trick: Antti Raanta is a No. 1 goalie.
Treat: Clayton Keller is the real deal. The freshman leads all Coyotes in goals and points and has his sights on the Calder.

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