Sun, 27 Nov 2022

NHL power rankings: No. 32 Canadiens to No. 1 Avalanche

Field Level Media
06 Oct 2022, 01:55 GMT+10

Nearly 30 years have passed since a Canadian-based team won the Stanley Cup, and just one has played in the final in the past 11 years.

The Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers hope to buck that trend.

The Alberta representatives are set to begin their respective seasons on their home ice Friday. Both teams are looking to join the 2020-21 Montreal Canadiens as the only NHL team north of the U.S. border to reach the finals since 2011.

Edmonton and Calgary will eventually need to find a route past the defending champion Colorado Avalanche, however.

The Flames won the Pacific Division title last season but couldn't slip past the Oilers in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs.

Calgary then swapped two of its best offensive players for the top point scorer (Jonathan Huberdeau) on the Florida Panthers, and one of the most skilled goal scorers (Nazem Kadri) on the Avalanche.

Edmonton couldn't topple Colorado in the Western Conference final after giving up 22 goals in the four-game sweep, so the Oilers went out and secured a top-notch goalie (Jack Campbell) in a bid for another title run.

The season officially begins in Prague in the Czech Republic on Friday when the Nashville Predators play the San Jose Sharks in the first of two games in the 2022 NHL Global Series.

POWER RANKINGS

32. Montreal Canadiens -- The team with the fewest points in the NHL last season didn't add much spice to its roster.

31. Chicago Blackhawks -- The locker room became further demoralized after Alex DeBrincat, a 41-goal scorer last season, was traded for draft picks.

30. Philadelphia Flyers -- The Flyers didn't pursue high-scoring free agent Johnny Gaudreau, who once expressed interest in playing for his favorite childhood team.

29. Winnipeg Jets -- Two of the top eight point scorers for the Jets last season will be wearing different uniforms in 2022-23.

28. Arizona Coyotes -- All seven of the double-digit goal scorers for the Coyotes last season are set to return.

27. Seattle Kraken -- The Kraken head into their sophomore season appearing more dangerous after upgrading their goaltending with the acquisition of Philipp Grubauer.

26. San Jose Sharks -- Two-time Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson has yet to play near expectations since arriving four years ago.

25. New Jersey Devils -- The arrival of Ondrej Palat and Erik Haula should provide some big-game experience in the wide-open Metropolitan Division.

24. Buffalo Sabres -- The Sabres went 16-9-3 down the stretch last season to finish fifth in the Atlantic Division and bring newfound optimism.

23. Anaheim Ducks -- The Ducks are building toward the future, but they're not remaining stagnant either, bringing in several experienced players.

22. New York Islanders -- Scoring could still be an issue, but goalies Ilya Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov remain the best tandem in the league.

21. Vancouver Canucks -- The Canucks hope a full season under coach Bruce Boudreau will be enough to get them back in the postseason.

20. Vegas Golden Knights -- The Golden Knights made two long playoff runs in their first three seasons, but the salary cap will make things difficult again in 2022-23.

19. Columbus Blue Jackets -- The Blue Jackets won the offseason lottery when they signed Gaudreau.

18. Ottawa Senators -- The Senators are ready for a big move up the Atlantic Division standings after trading for DeBrincat.

17. Detroit Red Wings -- The Red Wings are ready to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2016 after acquiring 34-year-old winger David Perron to mix with their skillful youth.

16. Los Angeles Kings -- The Kings still appear talented enough to make the playoffs, but might not possess the depth to advance very far.

15. Boston Bruins -- Jim Montgomery has big shoes to fill after replacing Bruce Cassidy as head coach.

14. Minnesota Wild -- Kirill Kaprizov, who is entering his third season, will need to carry an even bigger offensive load now that Kevin Fiala bailed to the Kings.

13. Toronto Maple Leafs -- The Maple Leafs downgraded in a couple key areas, most notably in goal with Matt Murray replacing Campbell.

12. Dallas Stars -- Restricted free agent Jason Robertson was still unsigned on Wednesday, but expect the 41-goal scorer on the ice for the season opener.

11. New York Rangers -- The Rangers seem content to ride with the group that carried them to the Eastern Conference final last season.

10. Nashville Predators -- The Predators weren't idle in the offseason, acquiring defenseman Ryan McDonagh and forward Nino Niederreiter, both postseason vets.

9. Washington Capitals -- The Capitals were desperate for decent goaltending so they lured Darcy Kuemper from the Stanley Cup champion Avalanche.

8. Pittsburgh Penguins -- It's been 4 1/2 years since Sidney Crosby won a playoff series, but the Penguins are ready to challenge for an Eastern Conference title.

7. St. Louis Blues -- The Blues left no doubt where their future lies by signing up-and-coming centers Jordan Kyrou and Robert Thomas to eight-year extensions.

6. Tampa Bay Lightning -- Expectations remain high in Tampa Bay after back-to-back Stanley Cup titles in 2020-21, but they lost more pieces to their puzzle in the offseason.

5. Carolina Hurricanes -- The Hurricanes are hoping 37-year-old defenseman Brent Burns and 36-year-old center Paul Stastny still have a lot left.

4. Florida Panthers -- The Panthers created waves when they traded Huberdeau to the Flames in exchange for equally talented left wing Matthew Tkachuk.

3. Calgary Flames -- Huberdeau and Kadri will be asked to replace the offense lost with the departures of Tkachuk and Gaudreau.

2. Edmonton Oilers -- Connor McDavid got a taste of a deep playoff run last season, and the addition of Campbell might get the Oilers to the end.

1. Colorado Avalanche -- The defending Stanley Cup champions already are seeing chips in their armor with the departures of high scorers Kadri and Andre Burakovsky.

--By Dan Arritt, Field Level Media

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