Power Rankings: Maple Leafs have turned into front-runners


Our committee of 20 hockey experts has voted. Granted, it's based on a small sample size, but the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins no longer rule the Power Rankings roost. A young, high-scoring squad has roused its long-suffering fan base in Toronto to become the early team to beat, followed by some of the usual suspects -- and a few surprises (welcome, Vegas!).
If the first week of hockey was any indication, it's going to be a fun season. Here are the Week 2 NHL Power Rankings:
The Maple Leafs have been even better than advertised in the early going, with a thrilling overtime win against the Blackhawks worthy of particular note. And of the 20 Toronto players who have skated a shift thus far, 19 have at least one point.
Chicago brought the band back together this offseason. And -- how about that? -- the old Hawks have a few more hits left in them. Get to know 19-year-old rookie Alex DeBrincat (three points in four games). He has lead-singer capabilities.
Alex Ovechkin has cooled off after his first two games -- he's on pace for only 164 goals now -- but it's hard to find a weakness on a team that seemed to have all the boxes checked off last season as well.
The Blues are 4-0 for the second time in franchise history, and -- even better -- their scoring is balanced, with five players at two-plus goals already. This isn't just the Vladimir Tarasenko show (though we'd tune in for that, too).
Those who cited the Penguins' lack of depth as a weakness this preseason look spot on thus far. On the other hand, this team has a knack for creating scoring stars out of nowhere, and a PDO (a way to measure "puck luck") that is second worst in the league means that the sticks will start to heat up soon.
Artemi Panarin -- who was brought over from Chicago in one of the summer's highest-profile trades -- hasn't missed a beat with his new team, logging three assists through three games. And after it looked like Sonny Milano might have plateaued, the 21-year-old already has four goals this season.
Jonathan Quick leads a stingy defense (one goal allowed in two games), and Anze Kopitar (two goals in his first two games) is scoring again. It's (kind of) like 2014 all over again.
It's off to a rocky start, but this is still the Connor McDavid Show (see: hat trick on opening night) -- and this is still a team expected to contend for the Stanley Cup. No need to McWorry.
The bad news for Tampa? Andrei Vasilevskiy has a 3.66 goals-against average and .900 save percentage so far. The good news? He's going to finish with stats much better than those, and his team is 2-1-0 despite its netminder's early struggles.
The Knights are the feel-good story in sports, plus they're fun to watch -- and we're not just talking about Cirque du Soleil intermission acts and glow-in-the-dark drumlines. James Neal, by the way, is on pace for 137 goals.
The Ducks are 2-1-1, while managing around injuries to key players like defensemen Sami Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm. And hey, their streak of 29 consecutive home wins over the Flames couldn't last forever.
The mullet has landed! Jaromir Jagr, age 45, made his Flames debut Wednesday night against the Kings, and will try to bat his age again this season. He racked up a respectable 46 points last year in his 23rd (!!!) NHL season.
After a woeful 2016-17 and a summer beset by Matt Duchene drama, the Avs collected two wins in their first three games -- and all on the road. Not bad for second-year head coach Jared Bednar.
It has been somewhat of an inauspicious start for a team that many thought would take a big step forward this season. But on the bright side, the Canes are playing a gentlemanly game this season, being whistled for the league's fewest minor penalties thus far (12 PIM).
Given that the Devils have a decades-long history of scoring struggles -- perhaps self-inflicted -- the fact that they've scored 16 goals in their first three games so far this season has shocked the hockey world. While their even-strength shooting percentage of 13.2 percent leans to the unsustainable side, the injection of skill in the form of rookies Jesper Bratt and Nico Hischier, along with trade acquisition Marcus Johansson, has been readily apparent.
After three seasons of mediocrity, goalie Jimmy Howard had a bounce-back (and injury-shortened) 2016-17 season, highlighted by a 2.10 goals-against average and .927 save percentage. He has picked right back up where he left off, sporting a 1.44/.961 split in two starts thus far.
If the goal for the Senators in the early going was to stay in the mix without Erik Karlsson on the ice, mission accomplished. As Karlsson inches closer to a return -- possibly as soon as this weekend -- Ottawa has four points through three games.
Ghost Bear is back, baby! After a sophomore slump in 2016-17, Shayne Gostisbehere has five points through four games, and the Union College product seems to have earned back the faith of Flyers coach Dave Hakstol, as he's skating more than 22 minutes per game.
Although the overall results haven't been fantastic thus far, the Rangers' big move this summer -- landing Kevin Shattenkirk for a team-friendly cap hit of $6.65 million per season -- has gone about as well as one could hope. He has four points through four games, and is skating the highest average ice time rate of his career by nearly a minute.
The catfish hangover won't last long. Following a tough opening stretch on the road at Pittsburgh and Boston, Nashville rebounded with a wild win in its Smashville home opener.
The Wild haven't won a game yet, but they also haven't had the services of Zach Parise. And goalie Devan Dubnyk, who has been a Vezina top-5 finalist four of the past five years, is still around.
Montreal tends to be a strong possession team, and that's no different this season, as the Canadiens are second in the league in Corsi for percentage, at 60.4. Puck luck has been a problem, as they sport the league's worst PDO (90.7). That should turn around, especially given the addition of the electrifying Jonathan Drouin over the summer.