An injury-filled week mars the rankings, with P.K. Subban, Andrei Vasilevskiy and Zdeno Chara all going down. It's early enough in the season that these contenders can recover from it.
But it still reminds us how quickly things can change. Yes, the Preds have been on a tear. But another injury could change that. The Lightning's start could be completely derailed if Vasilevskiy is out for a long time.
And it's possible that some teams sneaking up from behind (the Blue Jackets and Islanders, for example) could be the beneficiaries.
31. Los Angeles Kings | Record: 7–12–1 | Previous Ranking: 31
Let the selloff begin.
30. St. Louis Blues | Record: 7–9–3 | Previous Ranking: 27
And so Mike Yeo’s seat finally burned up. Perhaps the team can turn things around, but based off the other two midseason firings this season, that’s certainly no guarantee. Meanwhile Ryan O'Reilly has been as advertised, but it hasn't been nearly enough.
29. New Jersey Devils | Record: 8–9–2 | Previous Ranking: 28
A goaltending solution needs to be figured out. Right now. Neither Cory Schneider nor Keith Kinkaid is getting it done.
28. Vegas Golden Knights | Record: 9–12–1 | Previous Ranking: 29
Vegas’s best performers from last season are still the best performers this year. The production is just way down.
27. Ottawa Senators | Record: 9–9–3 | Previous Ranking: 19
Uber-gate was survived, and it even ended with a really nice road win against Tampa. Then the Senators got shellacked against Florida the next day. So goes their season.
26. Arizona Coyotes | Record: 9–9–1 | Previous Ranking: 22
Quietly, Alex Galchenyuk's return has been off to a strong start. Watch out if he gets going.
25. Pittsburgh Penguins | Record: 7–8–4 | Previous Ranking: 16
The Penguins have lost four in a row and nine of their last 10. And so the shakeup begins, though Tanner Pearson should find his way with the talented scorers around him now.
24. Detroit Red Wings | Record: 9–9–2 | Previous Ranking: 26
Another team quietly finding its way. It helps to have two goaltenders playing really well.
23. Florida Panthers | Record: 8–7–3 | Previous Ranking: 25
In two weeks, Florida will be much higher. The Panthers are making their climb—and it all goes back to Roberto Luongo, who's been fantastic.
22. Chicago Blackhawks | Record: 8–8–5 | Previous Ranking: 30
It's going to be a long year, but it helps when you can play teams like the Blues!
21. Anaheim Ducks | Record: 8–9–5 | Previous Ranking: 24
It just gets worse for the Ducks, with Cam Fowler now out. Now it's time to think about selling. Unfortunately, there's not much to be done. Jakob Silfverberg is a pending free agent, but he's on IR. Can the Ducks find a suitor for Corey Perry or Ryan Getzlaf?
20. Philadelphia Flyers | Record: 9–9–2 | Previous Ranking: 20
Brian Elliott has had a few good games in a row, but it's been against mostly mediocre competition. Not enough to help propel this team—and now he's out two weeks.
19. Carolina Hurricanes | Record: 9–8–3 | Previous Ranking: 23
Carolina should play Chicago all the time after two resurgent wins over the Blackhawks recently. Scott Darling has been fine with regular playing time, but nothing special.
18. Washington Capitals | Record: 10–7–3 | Previous Ranking: 18
Say what you want about Tom Wilson—he gives the Caps their bite. In the four games he’s been back, Wilson has one goal and four assists.
17. Edmonton Oilers | Record: 9–10–1 | Previous Ranking: 12
It took until Todd McLellans final days to put Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid back together on the top line, but count us as fans. Now that Ken Hitchcock is in charge with McLellan's firing, it's up to him to fine tune this team to be a contender.
16. Dallas Stars | Record: 11–8–2 | Previous Ranking: 14
We remain utterly confused about Dallas, a team that should be so much better than it is.
15. New York Rangers | Record: 11–8–2 | Previous Ranking: 21
An odd loss against the Islanders, but the Rangers have found an identity with Dave Quinn and it's been working, boasting an 8–1–1 run in their last 10 games.
14. New York Islanders | Record: 10–7–2 | Previous Ranking: 10
The Islanders had a good win against the Rangers. Not saying losing John Tavares was a good thing, because it wasn't. But the Isles are playing far better than most expected right now.
13. Vancouver Canucks | Record: 10–11–2 | Previous Ranking: 6
It was a rough 1–4–1 road trip for the Canucks, which they followed up with a pair of losses at home, including a 6–3 loss to the Jets on Monday. Is this the stretch that brings the Canucks back to earth?
12. Montreal Canadiens | Record: 11–6–4 | Previous Ranking: 13
Montreal put up a fight against the Capitals on Monday, especially Carey Price (who even got a round of applause from Alex Ovechkin for a show-stopping save). The Canadiens have steadily held on in a tough Atlantic Division.
11. Calgary Flames | Record: 12–8–1 | Previous Ranking: 5
Calgary has the offense to compete—do they have the goaltending?
10. Columbus Blue Jackets | Record: 12–7–2 | Previous Ranking: 15
The Jackets have quietly turned things over the past few games. But the real test began Monday, when the Blue Jackets dropped their first game of the week against Toronto, 4–2. They have a chance to respond on Friday when the Leafs visit Columbus.
9. Buffalo Sabres| Record: 13–6–2 | Previous Ranking: 17
They could arguably be higher after a 2–1 win over the Lightning, which they followed up with wins against Winnipeg, Minnesota and the Penguins. Having won six straight and seven of their last eight, November has been kind to the Sabres.
8. Colorado Avalanche | Record: 10–6–4 | Previous Ranking: 11
Not that LA would be incredibly willing to help, but wouldn't Tyler Toffoli be a nice secondary scoring option for the Avs?
7. Boston Bruins | Record: 11–6–3 | Previous Ranking: 9
Boston’s top line of Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand has no-doubt been incredible, but it does underscore the lack of depth at scoring. After David Krejci, there's a huge drop off in production on offense.
6. San Jose Sharks | Record: 11–7–3 | Previous Ranking: 4
The Sharks seem to finally be rounding into form, especially after a 5–4 statement win over Nashville last week that featured a two-goal game from Joe Pavelski. It doesn’t hurt to see Erik Karlsson scoring his first goal in teal just a couple days later.
5. Winnipeg Jets | Record: 12–5–2 | Previous Ranking: 7
Given Patrik Laine's (relatively) slow start, it's good to note just how well both Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele are playing.
4. Minnesota Wild | Record: 12–7–2 | Previous Ranking: 8
Admittedly surprised about Minnesota. Perhaps even more surprised by Mikael Granlund, the team's leading scorer (19).
3. Toronto Maple Leafs | Record: 15–6–0 | Previous Ranking: 3
John Tavares has a quiet 23 points. It shouldn't be. He's been outstanding in Auston Matthews's absence. When Matthews gets back, watch out.
2. Tampa Lightning | Record: 14–6–1 | Previous Ranking: 2
Backup goalie Louis Domingue has been fine thus far, but he's not Vasilevskiy. Will the Bolts look to add a medium-term solution in the mean time?
1. Nashville Predators | Record: 15–5–1 | Previous Ranking: 1
The Predators recovered from two losses with an easy win against Los Angeles and then a huge win against the Lightning. We'll see how the Subban injury affects things, but at least we got a measuring stick against Tampa Bay.