Publish date:

NHL Power Rankings: Tricks or Treats for Every Team

This week's trick-or-treat themed power rankings take a look at the greatest and scariest from around the league.

Filled with candy corn, bad puns and even worse movies, spooky season has started early with Halloween landing, sadly, on a Thursday. Hockey Halloween is in full effect: Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Torey Krug dressing up as Toy Story characters on a trip to Boston Children’s Hospital, Connor McDavid sported a Grinch costume and Dougie Hamilton dressed up as the 90-pound pig that watches every Hurricanes home game. And, for good measure, Gritty did its best Wonder Woman impersonation, just in case anyone needed a gangly googly-eyed, orange-haired savior.

And keeping with the holiday spirit, here’s how we see team’s stacking up this week, with some trick-or-treat themed power rankings:

31. Ottawa Senators | Record: 3-7-1 | Preview Ranking: 31

Trick: Owner Eugene Melnyk luring over 11,000 fans to Senators games feels like a trick played on the entire city of Ottawa.

30. New York Rangers | Record: 4-5-1 | Previous Ranking: 29

Trick: Vitali Kravstov he went back to Russia on Friday and signed with the KHL’s Chelyabinsk after he was benched, scratched and saw little playing time in the AHL. He’s the Rangers best prospect behind Kaapo Kakko and, while New York can recall him at any time, this youth movement requires some patience.

29. Los Angeles Kings | Record: 4-8-0 | Previous Ranking: 28

Trick: The goaltending. It’s been bad. Really bad. The Kings’ .856 team save percentage and 4.08 goals allowed per game rank dead last in the NHL.

28. Detroit Red Wings | Record: 4-8-1 | Previous Ranking: 25

Trick: The Red Wings were riding an eight-game winless streak. Though they finally snapped it Tuesday with a win over Edmonton, but it marked the third consecutive October that Detroit has lost at least six games in a row. Get those lottery odds up early.

27. Minnesota Wild | Record: 4-8-0 | Previous Ranking: 30

Trick: The Wild are the third-oldest team in the league and they’re not getting any younger. A quarter of the team’s cap hit is tied up with Zach Parise, Mats Zuccarello and Ryan Suter through 2024—all over 32 years old, each with no-movement clauses. GM Bill Guerin has his work cut out for him.

26. New Jersey Devils | Record: 2-5-2 | Previous Ranking: 27

Treat: Jack Hughes sniped a power-play goal over Antti Raanta’s left shoulder and there aren’t a ton of players who’d pull off that shot. After going pointless in his first six games, Hughes has five in his last three. The kid is going to be alright.

25. Dallas Stars | Record: 5-8-1 | Previous Ranking: 26

Treat: Amid Dallas’s offensive wasteland, Roope Hintz leads the Stars with seven goals and has established himself as a top-six forward.

24. Chicago Blackhawks | Record: 3-6-2 | Previous Ranking: 23

Treat: In their first game as linemates this season, Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat combined to score three goals in a 5–1 victory over the Kings. Strome and DeBrincat played together with the Erie Otters, where they notched a combined 198 points on the way to an OHL Championship.

23. San Jose Sharks | Record: 4-8-1 | Previous Ranking: 17

Trick: Almost every forward not named Evander Kane has been ice cold. San Jose is attempting nearly 10 fewer shots per 60 minutes and its offense hasn’t come close to matching last season’s success. Losing Joe Pavelski, Joonas Donskoi and Gustav Nyquist took a bite out of the Sharks’ depth, but players like Logan Couture, Timo Meier and Erik Karlsson should be playing well enough to make up for that. They aren’t. And falling 5–2 to the Senators isn’t a good sign.

22. Blue Jackets | Record: 5-4-2 | Previous Ranking: 24

Treat: The entire month of October! The Blue Jackets aren’t abysmal: Columbus reeled off a five-game point streak and has collected wins against the Leafs, Hurricanes and Sabres so far. There’s reason for optimism for an under-24 core that includes Pierre-Luc Dubois, Zach Werenski, Olivier Bjorkstrand and Alexandre Texier. Hopefully Tortorella won’t prevent too many Sonny Milano highlight reel goals.

21. Philadelphia Flyers | Record: 5-5-1 | Previous Ranking: 21

Trick: Flyers fans freaking out about Carter Hart’s slow start. His sub-.900 save percentage isn’t helping, but he’s young. Hart just turned 21 in August. Give him some time.

20. Winnipeg Jets | Record: 6-7-0 | Previous Ranking: 20

Trick: The Jets scored two or fewer goals in six consecutive games, and that isn’t a recipe for success in front of a piecemeal blue line. Worse yet, Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler have been outscored 22–12 while on the ice together since March 30. Paul Maurice needs to get creative.

19. Florida Panthers | Record: 5-3-4 | Previous Ranking: 22

Trick: Sergei Bobrovsky’s seven-year, $70 million contract. He has allowed 11 more goals than the average goaltender would have surrendered at even strength, while his .869 save percentage and 3.79 goals against average are among the league’s worst. The Russian netminder will figure it out by 2026, hopefully.

18. Calgary Flames | Record: 6-6-2 | Previous Ranking: 16

Trick: The Avalanche took the mask off the Flames Scooby Doo style and revealed them to be an average offensive team. Coach Bill Peters has tinkered with the lines but he hasn’t gotten much out of his bottom six forwards.

17. Anaheim Ducks | Record: 8-6-0 | Previous Ranking: 12

SI Recommends

Treat: John Gibson, despite a shaky blue line, continues to be one of the NHL’s best goalies and is the only thing keeping the Ducks floating around .500. Give this man some help.

16. Montreal Canadiens | Record: 5-4-2 | Previous Ranking: 15

Trick: Jordie Benn logged the most shorthanded minutes last season for Montreal and the team hasn’t found a replacement for the lockdown defenseman. Through 11 games, the Canadiens have the second-worst penalty kill in the NHL. Yikes.

15. St. Louis Blues | Record: 6-3-3 | Previous Ranking: 11

Trick: The Blues announced Vladimir Tarasenko will have surgery on his left shoulder and be out at least five months, all but sidelining him for the rest of the regular season. It’s the same shoulder he had surgery on during the 2018 offseason.

14. Arizona Coyotes | Record: 7-3-1 | Previous Ranking: 19

Treat: The Coyotes figured out scoring goals makes winning easier. Arizona has scored 3.00 goals per game through 11 games—a half-a-goal improvement over last season—and Nick Schmaltz has returned to form since missing the second half of last season with a knee injury.

13. Toronto Maple Leafs | Record: 6-5-3 | Previous Ranking: 10

Treat: Ilya Mikheyev loves soup, and Toronto loves Souperman. The Maple Leafs signed Mikheyev—a 25-year-old undrafted free agent who led the KHL’s Avangard Omsk with 45 points —and he has posted four goals and six assists while filling in for Zach Hyman on the second line.

12. Pittsburgh Penguins | Record: 8-5-0 | Previous Ranking: 12

Treat: The guys who aren’t Sidney Crosby. Backup netminder Tristian Jarry has a 2.02 goals against average and .939 save percentage in games against the Jets, Knights and Lightning. Defenseman John Marino played well enough to make Erik Gudbranson disposable. Centers Teddy Blueger and Sam Lafferty have filled in for a banged-up forward group and have made a case to stick around all season. Each has helped Pittsburgh wade through an injury-riddled October, while Crosby, Jake Guentzel and Kris Letang continue in their starring roles.

11. Vancouver Canucks | Record: 7-3-1 | Previous Ranking: 14

Treat: So far, everything! The Jacob Markstrom–Thatcher Demko tandem has produced the fourth-best team save percentage in the league. Quinn Hughes looks like a superstar. Vancouver has received scoring all throughout its lineup. The defense has been good.

10. Tampa Bay Lightning | Record: 5-4-2 | Previous Ranking: 8

Trick: Tampa plays 11 of its first 15 games away from home. The Lightning haven’t blown the doors off the league, yet, and it might take a few home stretches to return to dominant form. Early-season adversity isn’t the worst thing for Tampa Bay, though.

9. New York Islanders | Record: 8-3-0 | Previous Ranking: 18

Treat: Mitch Korn and Barry Trotz are goaltending wizards. The Semyon Varlamov– Thomas Greiss tandem has been as good as last year’s experiment, and the Islanders have allowed two or fewer goals in seven consecutive games. That streak, by the way, is the longest winning streak in the NHL so far. Mathew Barzal has been great during that stretch and the Isles haven’t dropped off since last season.

8. Vegas Golden Knights | Record: 8-5-0 | Previous Ranking: 7

Trick: Vegas can’t find a steady backup to Marc-Andre Fleury. Malcolm Subban? No, he surrendered two first-period goals and forced Fleury to return in a 4–1 loss to the Coyotes. Oscar Dansk? Not him either, he gave up six to the Flyers. What about Garret Sparks? He came in relief for Fleury against the Avs, but still let in a pair in the 6–1 loss.

7. Carolina Hurricanes | Record: 8-3-1 | Previous Ranking: 6

Treat: Dougie Hamilton scored his sixth goal, becoming the first defenseman since 2006 to notch six goals in October. He has scored more goals than any blueliner since 2017. Averaging a team-high 23:20 on ice per game, Hamilton has thrived with an expanded role. And also this Andrei Svechnikov goal.

6. Nashville Predators | Record: 8-3-1 | Previous Ranking: 13

Treat: The Predators are right as rain on offense. Nashville has scored at least three goals in 10 of its first 12 games, aided by Calle Jarnkrok’s solid play on the team’s top line. With no Pekka Rinne regression in sight and wins against the Capitals, Lightning and Golden Knights, the Predators are as complete a team as any in the Western Conference.

4. Washington Capitals | Record: 9-2-3 | Previous Ranking: 4

Treat: Alex Ovechkin campaigning for John Carlson to win a Norris Trophy. Carlson has been that good this year (as he has been for some time), becoming the first defenseman with 21 points in his first 13 games since Al MacInnis in 1991.

4. Edmonton Oilers | Record: 8-4-1 | Previous Ranking: 5

Trick: Forwards outside Edmonton’s top six had a combined two goals and three assists through the team’s first 12 games. Coach Dave Tippett spread his forwards out more equally ahead of Tuesday’s game against Detroit, but the Oilers need their fringe players to give them something.

3. Buffalo Sabres | Record: 9-2-2 | Previous Ranking: 2

Treat: Even though Buffalo fired Phil Housley after last season’s collapse, the Sabres honored their former coach with a video tribute in his first game back. Points for class. Meanwhile, Buffalo looked as good as any team behind Eichel’s hot start. Hopefully it’s not another trick this season.

2. Colorado Avalanche | Record: 8-2-1 | Previous Ranking: 1

Treat: Gabriel Landeskog is out indefinitely but take a sigh of relief: Jared Bednar announced Mikko Rantanen is week-to-week after suffering a nasty looking leg injury on Oct. 21. In the meantime, the Avs dominated the Golden Knights 6–1 without Rantanen and shouldn’t fall too far behind while their star wingers recover.

1. Boston Bruins | Record: 9-1-2 | Previous Ranking: 3

Treat: Secondary scoring is overrated when David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand are obliterating everyone they face. Pastrnak leads the league with 12 goals and 24 points, and his five-game goal streak only ended when he collected five assists in the Bruins 7–4 win against the Rangers. Combined, Boston’s trio is averaging over two goals per game and haven’t slowed since last season.