NHL Power Rankings: Extremely Small Sample Size Edition

NHL insider Colby Armstrong weighs in on the Matthew Tkachuk, Drew Doughty rivalry dragging on longer than expected, because Tkachuk likes to get under your skin, and Doughty won’t back down from anybody.

The Carolina Hurricanes will win the Presidents’ Trophy.

James Neal completes his transformation from goat to GOAT.

And the San Jose Sharks (0-82-0) will put all their hopes into the draft lottery.

That’s right, kids. The best predictor of future behaviour is this past week’s behaviour.

It’s our annual NHL Power Rankings: Extremely Small Sample Size Edition, in which we use the trends of hockey’s first seven days to wildly and confidently extrapolate season-long conclusions.

All 31 teams are ranked in order of the power they’ve showed since Opening Night. The write-ups peer into the future with the assumption that Week 1’s trends are only bound to continue through April.

Please, don’t waste energy disputing the law of averages.

It’s science.

1. Boston Bruins

It’s impressive that Tuukka Rask’s .937 save percentage holds up through April, but it can’t top tandem mate Jaroslav Halak’s 1.000.

2. Carolina Hurricanes

A resurgent James Reimer registers a sparkling 41-0-0 record with a .940 save percentage, cementing himself as the greatest backup goalie to ever walk the earth.

3. Vegas Golden Knights

Reilly Smith and William Karlsson break the NHL record for most shorthanded points by a pair of teammates when they amass 55 apiece. This leads to opposing teams declining power plays in the post-season.

4. New York Rangers

Mika Zibanejad’s 328-point campaign (164 goals, 164 assists) marks the greatest individual season in the history of team sport and leads the Rangers to the Presidents’ Trophy.

5. Buffalo Sabres

A triumphant end to the longest playoff drought in the NHL sparks a debate in Buffalo over whether to erect a statue of Ralph Krueger (55-0-27), Rasmus Dahlin (137 points) or Victor Olofsson (82 goals).

6. Colorado Avalanche

Nikita Zadorov leads all defencemen with a plus-164 rating and can no longer be ignored in the Norris voting.

7. St. Louis Blues

Doug Armstrong signs off on $1.0935 billion worth of contract extensions by the end of the regular season.

8. Edmonton Oilers

James Neal’s change of scenery pays off with an 164-goal showing, Mike Smith wins every game he starts despite a .892 save percentage and a playoff berth assures Connor McDavid of a Hart Trophy.

9. Anaheim Ducks

John Gibson’s perfect record and .970 save percentage lock up the Vezina for him and the Jack Adams for new coach Dallas Eakins.

10. Toronto Maple Leafs

Auston Matthews’ 102 goals and zero assists make him the greatest Cy Young winner of all time. Equally impressive: A 41-goal breakout campaign by Frederik Gauthier.

11. Tampa Bay Lightning

Steven Stamkos calls out his team 27 times as the Lightning’s 41 standings points mark a drastic 87-point drop-off from 2018-19.

12. Nashville Predators

Matt Duchene’s 164-assist performance snaps Wayne Gretzky’s single-season record and compensates nicely for the fact he fails to score a goal for his new club.

13. Calgary Flames

Milan Lucic amasses a monstrous 55 fights and 713 penalty minutes. Cam Talbot never does get to start.

14. Detroit Red Wings

Anthony Mantha’s franchise-record-breaking run to 137 goals helps him lock up the runner-up spot to Neal’s Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy by Christmas.

15. Philadelphia Flyers

Travis Konecny’s agent begs to renegotiate with Flyers brass after his 22-year-old explodes for a 246-point campaign.

16. Washington Capitals

The trade serves Radko Gudas well as the hard-nosed defender posts a career-high 41 points and career-low 41 penalty minutes.

17. Winnipeg Jets

The Winnipeg Jets’ blue line depth gets tested as they lose 81 defencemen to trade, injury, free agency or personal reasons.

18. Montreal Canadiens

Keith Kinkaid never does play a minute for the Montreal Canadiens, but his tweet game remains (fire emoji).

19. Los Angeles Kings

Drew Doughty chirps Matthew Tkachuk through the media 41 times — and we’re still not bored of it.

20. Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins will attempt to trade Jack Johnson 41 times this season. Sidney Crosby takes out his frustrations by dropping the gloves 57 times, setting a new career-high.

21. New York Islanders

Devon Toews outscores Jonathan Toews by a mellow 57 points.

22. Florida Panthers

Mike Hoffman’s noteworthy 66.7 shooting percentage confirms what his mother always suspected. He’s the most accurate player to ever pick up a hockey stick.

23. Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks play all 82 games in Prague.

24. Dallas Stars

Joe Pavelski’s new team and his former team combine for a mere 10 victories all season, as Dallas and San Jose disappoint with a combined 10-154 record on the season.

25. Columbus Blue Jackets

When neither half of the Joonas Korpisalo–Elvis Merzlikins tandem can muster a save percentage greater than .860, a van full of Blue Jackets fans hatch a plan to drive down to Sunrise and kidnap Sergei Bobrovsky.

26. Arizona Coyotes

Darcy Kuemper turns in a spectacular 1.54 goals-against average and .945 save percentage … and never wins a game.

27. Vancouver Canucks

Alumnus Roberto Luongo crafts 27 hilarious Photoshops to the tune of 113.4K retweets.

28. New Jersey Devils

Blake Coleman’s right wrist scores 41 goals, singlehandedly.

29. Minnesota Wild

The Minnesota Wild’s top two scorers running away are both defencemen: Ryan Suter (123 points) and Matt Dumba (82 points).

30. Ottawa Senators

Pierre Dorion orchestrates 41 small trades in which the other team retains salary.

31. San Jose Sharks

Barclay Goodrow co-leads the Sharks in goals with 20. Erik Karlsson leads the Sharks in newborn babies with 20.

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