Go go Power Rankings! Commissioner Thomas Gidlow powers up the dino-coins for his bi-weekly (or thereabouts) top and bottom lists.
COMMISH'S POWER FIVE: A definitive look at the top five teams in BEARD Hockey - according to Thomas, at least. A note: the parity is real! 33 days into the season and 9 points separate the 2nd and 31st teams in the league. The spread between the same rankings in the NHL is 16 points. Incredible!
#1: NEW JERSEY DEVILS (The Red Ranger)
12-2-0, 24 points; 1st in Metro Division, 1st in Eastern Conference
Leading Scorer: Jesper Bratt, Troy Terry, Cale Makar, and Boone Jenner (all with 13 points)
Goaltending: Sergei Bobrovsky (13 games, .934 SP, 2.29 GAA)
NOTES: A pair of 6-1-0 starts for the Devils - who have the same four players tied for their scoring lead as the last report - puts Tommy B's boys in the BEARD Hockey driver seat. New Jersey is clearly the class thus far, being 5 points clear of the field in just 14 games. Ad it doesn't look like anything will change in the days to come.
#2: VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS (The Black Ranger)
9-5-1, 19 points; 1st in Pacific Division, T-1st in Western Conference
Leading Scorer: Logan Couture (15 games, 5-15-20)
Goaltending: Jacob Markstrom (14 games, .914 SP, 2.85 GAA)
NOTES: Improved play in their own end is progress, but the Golden Knights have gone just 3-3-1 since our first report. Barely hanging to the 2nd spot here, Vegas needs to rekindle that offensive spark that led them to their hot start. Otherwise, they'll continue to be among the glob of clubs fighting for a spot in the upper echelon.
#3: BOSTON BRUINS (The Yellow Ranger)
9-5-0, 18 points; T-1st in Atlantic Division, T-2nd in Eastern Conference
Leading Scorer: Kyle Okposo (14 games, 6-7-13)
Goaltending: Jack Campbell (14 games, .916 SP, 2.83 GAA)
NOTES: GM Jay Roc's Beantown Beaters make their debut in the Power Five with a 7-3-0 jaunt in their past ten games. Built more for defense than offense (Okposo leading your scoring tells that particular story), the Bruins are in a tedious position moving forward. How long before Campbell gives out? Playing in every game won't leave much room for the stretch, and Brian Elliott's brittle bones may have turned to dust by that point.
#4: ARIZONA COYOTES (The Blue Ranger)
8-2-3, 19 points; T-1st in Central Division, T-1st in Western Conference
Leading Scorer: Pavel Buchnevich (13 games, 6-7-13)
Goaltending: Darcy Kuemper (13 games, .934 SP, 2.28 GAA)
NOTES: Another team relying on defense and goaltending rather than outscoring their opponents, the Yotes are off to a nice start on the back of their play in their own end. GM Brandon Streblow has also relied on his netminder in every game thus far, so it'll be interesting to see if that can hold up. A pace of 1.4 points per game in their last 10 is a solid one, if they can keep it up.
#5: NASHVILLE PREDATORS (The Pink Ranger)
9-4-1, 19 points; T-1st in Central Division, T-1st in Western Conference
Leading Scorer: Filip Forsberg (14 games, 9-7-16)
Goaltending: Alex Nedeljkovic (12 games, .913 SP, 2.87 GAA)
NOTES: The offense is purring along nicely with seven Predators with four or more goals in just 14 games. Defense and goaltending have been questionable at best, but Nedeljkovic is keeping them in more games than not, at least. With so little room between the top teams and the bottom, this is a pretty precarious position. So we'll see how long it lasts.
Drops from the Power Five: Buffalo, Dallas, and Philadelphia - my "iron lock" pick - Dallas - of course dropped out this time. They're 6-4-0 in their last ten, so don't sing their swan song just yet. Things are only getting tighter, so expect plenty of fluctuation.
COMMISH'S "BRINGING UP THE REAR" LIST: It's still sort of early, so...you know. Keep taking them grains of salt and all that.
#32: WINNIPEG JETS (Rita Repulsa)
2-7-3, 7 points; 8th in Central Division, 16th in Western Conference
Leading Scorer: Radek Faksa (12 games, 3-9-12)
Goaltending: Braden Holtby (7 games, .888 SP, 4.00 GAA)
NOTES: A 1-6-3 run in their last ten games lands Trevor Cook's Winnipeg Jets - the defending Stanley Cup Champions, no less - in the bottom spot. The underlying concerns are on the backend, as Winnipeg simply can't stop shots. Holtby and Jonathan Bernier have a combined GAA over four, and the top six on D are a combined -25. Might be a good point for Cook to reassess and start planning for next season.
#31: EDMONTON OILERS (The Putty Patrol)
4-9-2, 10 points; 8th in Pacific Division, 15th in Western Conference
Leading Scorer: Jesperi Kotkaniemi (15 games, 5-9-14)
Goaltending: Robin Lehner (11 games, .903 SP, 3.27 GAA)
NOTES: The lifesigns alluded to in our debut report look to be false returns, as the Oilers have plummeted even further into the depths of BEARD Hockey with a 2-3-2 run in their past seven contests. Kotkaniemi's continued progress notwithstanding, Lehner has had a dreadful stretch while no one else has stepped up to help stem the tides.
#30: MONTREAL CANADIENS (The Green Ranger - the evil one)
5-8-1, 11 points; 8th in Atlantic Division, 16th in Eastern Conference
Leading Scorer: Nick Suzuki (14 games, 10-4-14)
Goaltending: Spencer Knight (10 games, .907 SP, 2.87 GAA)
NOTES: The signs of life in Montreal are apparent, however. Despite sitting at the bottom of the East, the Canadiens have gone 3-2-1 since our last report and both Suzuki and Knight - the two future gems of the franchise, arguably - continue to show signs of improvement. Expectations were low for this season, so anything above a zero on the year is gravy.
#29: SAN JOSE SHARKS (Lord Zedd)
6-9-1, 13 points; 7th in Pacific Division, 13th in Western Conference
Leading Scorer: Connor McDavid (16 games, 7-12-19)
Goaltending: Filip Gustafsson (9 games, .916 SP, 2.83 GAA)
NOTES: Very mixed reviews from San Jose thus far on the young season. McDavid has woken up recently, but ten-game stretches of 4-5-1 won't put the Sharks in contention any time soon. GM Kyle Phillips needs to address some key issues here before the season slips away - there is still something to be salvaged here, in my humble opinion.
#28: CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS (The younger Rita Repulsa)
5-6-2, 12 points; 7th in Central Division, 14th in Western Conference
Leading Scorer: Elias Pettersson and Dawson Mercer (both 13 games, both 5-5-10)
Goaltending: Jake Oettinger (11 games, .921 SP, 2.62 GAA)
NOTES: Oettinger is really the main reason this club is still within earshot of competing. But time will run short eventually, as the weight of carrying a team on his young shoulders may become too much to handle. Evgeni Kuznetsov was brought in to help a sputtering offense, but hasn't done much in his two games in Chicago. If Alex Ovechkin can't find his previous form (just two goals in 13 games), there just might not be enough here to fight for a playoff spot this season.
Drops from the 'Rear': Minnesota and Washington - both clubs are a couple of games away from being top ten or bottom ten teams. That's just how tight things are right now. But both have improved enough to climb out of the cellar in BEARD Hockey - at least, for now.