Way-too-early 2018-19 NHL Power Rankings

The Washington Capitals have finally won a Stanley Cup. Are they primed to make another low run in 2018-19? The ESPN energy row — a organisation of 25 writers, editors and TV personalities — is already looking forward to subsequent deteriorate with a way-too-early book of a NHL Power Rankings. Here’s how we consider a joining will smoke-stack adult in 2018-19.

Note: These rankings simulate that teams electorate consider would win head-to-head matchups. Higher-ranked teams would be adored opposite lower-ranked teams. ESPN Stats Information contributed a following “what tangible them” information.

1. Tampa Bay Lightning

2017-18 record: 54-23-5

What tangible them: The Lightning modernized to a Eastern Conference finals for a third time in 4 seasons, nonetheless a ultimate esteem eluded them again. They set authorization annals for wins (54) and points (113), nonetheless their durability memory will be removing close out by a Washington Capitals in Games 6 and 7 of a discussion finals.

What could change: Ryan Callahan pronounced a Lightning played Game 6 opposite Washington like they knew they had a Game 7 left. Tampa Bay also knew that this organisation has one some-more year together to make another a Cup run before Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, Ryan McDonagh, Anton Stralman and others all need new contracts.

2. Nashville Predators

2017-18 record: 53-18-11

What tangible them: The Predators won a Presidents’ Trophy for a initial time in authorization history, earning 23 some-more points than they did a deteriorate before. A second-round playoff exit during a hands of a Winnipeg Jets left a green note in Music City, nonetheless — generally after a Preds reached a Stanley Cup Final in 2017.

What could change: They were glorious in 2017-18, nonetheless afterwards they fizzled out in a playoffs. Perhaps Predators GM David Poile will demeanour to make some tiny tweaks, nonetheless there’s no reason to doubt this group as a critical contender again subsequent season.

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  • 3. Winnipeg Jets

    2017-18 record: 52-20-10

    What tangible them: After blank a 2017 playoffs by 7 points, a Jets had a league’s second-best record and modernized to a Western Conference finals this year. Not bad for a authorization that didn’t even have a playoff win before this season. Patrik Laine has already scored 80 goals in his initial dual NHL seasons — and he customarily incited 20 in April.

    What could change: Everything points to a Jets being a group to kick over a subsequent 4 or 5 seasons. All of a pieces are there (though a lot of them will need to be paid). Winnipeg should grow as a outcome of a 2017-18 success and playoff run.

    4. Washington Capitals

    2017-18 record: 49-26-7

    What tangible them: After so many years of underachieving in a playoffs, a Capitals exorcised copiousness of demons. In a nation’s capital, a certainties embody death, taxes and Alex Ovechkin winning a Rocket Richard Trophy. The latter has happened 7 times, 5 some-more than anyone else.

    What could change: It will take some finagling, nonetheless if a Capitals can re-sign John Carlson, this group could contend for another Stanley Cup subsequent season. In an swap universe, a Capitals humour another early playoff ouster in 2019 and players like Nicklas Backstrom finish adult on a trade block.

    5. Vegas Golden Knights

    2017-18 record: 51-24-7

    What tangible them: After a deteriorate that exceeded their wildest expectations, it could be an engaging summer for a Golden Knights. James Neal, David Perron and Ryan Reaves will all be unlimited giveaway agents — and William Karlsson will get a large raise. But a group has lots of tip space.

    What could change: Owner Bill Foley has indicated that a Golden Knights’ duration arise to a Western Conference pretension won’t be a one-and-done situation, that means Vegas could potentially use a brood of breeze picks over a subsequent 3 seasons and substantial tip space to take a run during everybody from Erik Karlsson to John Carlson to John Tavares.

    6. Boston Bruins

    2017-18 record: 50-20-12

    What tangible them: The Bruins’ tip line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak competence be a league’s best. All 3 players scored during slightest 30 goals, nonetheless no one else on a group had some-more than 17. Despite a second-round detriment to a Lightning, this group felt good about a 50-win season.

    What could change: Bergeron, Marchand and David Krejci are all in their 30s. Zdeno Chara is 41. But a Bruins’ multiple of these maestro players and energetic youngsters like Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy will make them a pretension contender in 2018-19.

    7. Pittsburgh Penguins

    2017-18 record: 47-29-6

    What tangible them: Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are sealed prolonged term, so a Penguins should once again be in a hunt for Lord Stanley’s Cup. Pittsburgh became a initial group given a 2003-04 Lightning to have 3 players finish among a tip 10 in scoring (Malkin, Phil Kessel and Crosby).

    What could change: They didn’t three-peat, nonetheless after a summer of rest (something they’re not used to of late) design Crosby and Malkin to come behind as clever as ever. Goalie Matt Murray is staid to miscarry after a rather unsure 2017-18.

    8. San Jose Sharks

    2017-18 record: 45-27-10

    What tangible them: The Sharks have constructed 98, 99 and 100 points, respectively, in their past 3 seasons underneath manager Peter DeBoer. For a second uninterrupted summer, they’ll have a preference to make on authorization brave Joe Thornton, who didn’t play after Jan. 23 given of a ripped ACL and MCL.

    What could change: The window is far-reaching open for a Sharks subsequent deteriorate to win their initial Stanley Cup. Then things get unequivocally interesting, as they customarily have 9 players (!) now underneath agreement for 2019-20, tentative a few free-agent deals this summer. Both Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski will be unlimited giveaway agents in 2019.

    9. Columbus Blue Jackets

    2017-18 record: 45-30-7

    What tangible them: The good news? The Blue Jackets reached a postseason in uninterrupted years for a initial time in authorization history. The bad news? They’re still looking to get past a initial round. Columbus’ biggest summer regard is tip scorer Artemi Panarin (27 goals, 82 points) who is entering his free-agent travel year.

    What could change: The Blue Jackets need to do dual things this offseason: close in Panarin and acquire abyss scoring. The growth of Pierre-Luc Dubois bodes good for this team, that is still on a fork of violation out.

    10. Toronto Maple Leafs

    2017-18 record: 46-24-7

    What tangible them: The Maple Leafs continued their ceiling trajectory, posting authorization annals in wins (49) and points (105). New ubiquitous manager Kyle Dubas, 31, will have a bustling summer, that could embody agreement extensions for Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner.

    What could change: Is there a difference between manager Mike Babcock and Matthews? Will a Leafs make a representation for an elite-level defenseman? Can Dubas run a uncover himself, now that former GM Lou Lamoriello and former partner GM Mark Hunter took their pucks and went home after Dubas was promoted? So many questions sojourn in a Centre of a Hockey Universe.

    11. New Jersey Devils

    2017-18 record: 44-29-9

    What tangible them: After finishing final in a Eastern Conference in 2016-17, a Devils snapped a five-year playoff drought this season. Their 27-point improvement, helped by a career-high 39 goals from Hart Trophy finalist Taylor Hall, was a largest in authorization history.

    What could change: There’s no reason these 2017-18 overachievers should regression subsequent season. As prolonged as GM Ray Shero creates defensive abyss a priority, and other scorers not named Taylor Hall emerge, we’re looking during another playoff team.

    12. Los Angeles Kings

    2017-18 record: 45-29-8

    What tangible them: The Kings mustered customarily 3 goals in removing swept by a Golden Knights in a initial turn of a playoffs. Anze Kopitar was a Hart finalist, nonetheless he was one of customarily 3 Kings to measure during slightest 20 goals. Norris Trophy finalist Drew Doughty is entering his travel year.

    What could change: Some of us would adore to be a aristocrat for a day. Doughty will expected be a King for life after a large agreement prolongation that he and a group are deliberating comes to pass.

    13. Minnesota Wild

    2017-18 record: 45-26-11

    What tangible them: The Wild’s third uninterrupted first-round depart in a playoffs cost GM Chuck Fletcher his pursuit after 9 seasons. His replacement, Paul Fenton, will get a register that will expected be “retooled” nonetheless not “rebuilt.”

    What could change: This is a group that has been on a verge of a breakthrough for some time. Perhaps Fenton — who cut his teeth as an partner GM with a Predators — will supplement a right pieces (and subtract a wrong ones) to get a Wild over a hump.

    14. Colorado Avalanche

    2017-18 record: 43-30-9

    What tangible them: The Avalanche had an NHL-best 47-point alleviation from 2016-17 and done a playoffs this year on a final day of a unchanging season. Hart Trophy claimant Nathan MacKinnon led a swell with 97 points, a many by any Avs actor given Joe Sakic (100) in 2006-07.

    What could change: A shockingly decent group final season, a Avalanche will still be immature in 2018-19. The misfortune competence be over for Colorado, nonetheless a bar is so many aloft than it was final deteriorate that we’re not certain they can accommodate it.

    15. St. Louis Blues

    2017-18 record: 44-32-6

    What tangible them: Even after they dealt core Paul Stastny to Winnipeg during a trade deadline, a Blues still done a run during a postseason, going 8-1-0 in mid-March. They still had a possibility to make a a playoffs on a final night of a unchanging season, nonetheless mislaid 5-2 to a Avalanche.

    What could change: We design a Blues to be assertive in giveaway group and pursue a top-line center, as good as a scoring winger. The customarily problem? There aren’t a ton of good names available, generally if St. Louis whiffs on John Tavares. The Blues competence be in a stalemate.

    16. Philadelphia Flyers

    2017-18 record: 42-26-14

    What tangible them: Captain Claude Giroux delivered a clever bounce-back season, with 102 points — apropos a initial Flyer to strike a century symbol given Eric Lindros in 1995-96. Although they returned to a playoffs after a one-year absence, a Flyers haven’t won a postseason array given 2012.

    What could change: How shortly can Carter Hart play? The timber awaiting could be a pivotal to Philadelphia’s long-standing goaltending woes. Hart is not distant off, nonetheless will expected start subsequent deteriorate in a AHL, generally deliberation GM Ron Hextall‘s incessant patience.

    17. Chicago Blackhawks

    2017-18 record: 33-39-10

    What tangible them: The Blackhawks had their fewest points in a deteriorate during a Patrick Kane-Jonathan Toews epoch (76) in 2017-18. Their 3.07 goals-against normal was a team’s misfortune given 2005-06 (3.35).

    What could change: Let’s assume that goalie Corey Crawford is back. Things can’t get worse than they were in 2017-18. (If they are, design a outrageous shakeup by Christmas.) We’re assured that Toews will miscarry and that adequate youngsters can assistance block in and hint this lineup.

    18. Edmonton Oilers

    2017-18 record: 36-40-6

    What tangible them: The Oilers finished with 25 fewer points than they did in 2016-17, that was a second-worst indicate differential in a Western Conference this year. Yet, Connor McDavid played any diversion and won a Art Ross Trophy with 108 points, a many by an Oilers actor given Mark Messier in 1989-90.

    What could change: The Oilers are still in a hunt for an chosen defenseman to fill out their blue line, among other equipment on a bulletin as Edmonton tries to retreat march from a muted deteriorate and contend again.

    19. Anaheim Ducks

    2017-18 record: 44-25-13

    What tangible them: The Ducks were bleeding for many of a season, nonetheless Anaheim overcame countless injuries to make a playoffs for a sixth uninterrupted year. Only a Penguins (12) have a longer active streak. Anaheim didn’t stay long, however — a Ducks were outscored 16-4 in a four-game brush by San Jose.

    What could change: The Ducks need what a Capitals had this season: an assertive distillate of girl and uninformed perspectives behind a aging talents of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and whatever is left of Ryan Kesler. But during slightest they have a blue line and a goalie to build on.

    20. Dallas Stars

    2017-18 record: 42-32-8

    What tangible them: On Mar 11, as a Stars started a six-game highway trip, they were 3 points forward in a wild-card race. Then an 0-4-2 outing and dual some-more home waste all nonetheless finished those playoff dreams.

    What could change: It’s tough to pointer who a Stars will be, deliberation they’re bettering to their third conduct manager in as many seasons. It competence not be flattering during first, as new manager Jim Montgomery implements his style.

    21. New York Islanders

    2017-18 record: 35-37-10

    What tangible them: The bad news: The Islanders were final in goals against, with 293, in 2017-18 — a many they had surrendered in a deteriorate given 1995-96 (315). The good news: Mathew Barzal‘s 63 assists tied an Islanders rookie record, and his 85 points were a many by an NHL rookie given Evgeni Malkin in 2006-07.

    What could change: Lamoriello is using a uncover now. This group isn’t really distant off if Tavares returns. The Islanders need a goalie and a few defensemen, nonetheless they could win subsequent season. If Tavares leaves … well, afterwards there will be some dim days ahead.

    22. Carolina Hurricanes

    2017-18 record: 36-35-11

    What tangible them: The Hurricanes were in postseason position in mid-February nonetheless finished 9-14-2 to tumble out of a playoffs. Scott Darling had a misfortune save commission (.888) of any goaltender to seem in 40 games this season.

    What could change: After 9 years of blank a playoffs, design a register shakeup as Carolina commits to a enlightenment change. That means it competence get worse before it gets better. Oh, and they need to figure out if Darling can be their No. 1 goalie.

    23. Florida Panthers

    2017-18 record: 44-30-8

    What tangible them: The Panthers’ 52 points (25-8-2) were tied with a Predators for a many after a All-Star break, nonetheless it was not adequate to strech a playoffs. Aleksander Barkov and Vincent Trocheck were a initial camber of Panthers with during slightest 75 points in a season.

    What could change: The core of a group is sealed adult by 2022, including 39-year-old goalie Roberto Luongo, nonetheless we doubt he’ll be earning that $1 million bottom income in a final year of that contract. The indicate is: The Panthers know what they’re building around, so can GM Dale Tallon fill in those blanks?

    24. Calgary Flames

    2017-18 record: 37-35-10

    What tangible them: The Flames missed a playoffs for a seventh time in a past 9 seasons, interjection in partial to scoring a league-worst 1.9 goals per diversion from Feb. 27 on. The unemployment cost manager Glen Gulutzan his job.

    What could change: This is going to be one of a many fascinating box studies in a NHL. Was Bill Peters hamstrung by bad goaltending and crew moves in Carolina, customarily to flower in Calgary as a Flames’ new conduct coach? Or is it Calgary’s complement that doesn’t work?

    25. New York Rangers

    2017-18 record: 34-39-9

    What tangible them: When a Rangers were separated on Mar 27, Henrik Lundqvist played incomprehensible games for a initial time in his career. From Feb. 1 on, a Rangers had a second-worst record in a NHL (a .344 points percentage) behind customarily a Blackhawks, that contributed to manager Alain Vigneault losing his job.

    What could change: Let a rebuilding begin. With new manager David Quinn during a helm, a Rangers are going to dedicate to a sum distillate of girl — design a large showcase for tip prospects like Filip Chytil and Lias Andersson — before they are prepared to contend again.

    26. Detroit Red Wings

    2017-18 record: 30-39-13

    What tangible them: The Red Wings missed a playoffs in uninterrupted seasons for a initial time given a five-season camber between 1978 and 1983. They did get 3 breeze picks, including a 2018 first-round collect from Vegas for Tomas Tatar, who had 6 points in 20 games with a Golden Knights.

    What could change: GM Ken Holland is staying in Detroit, rather surprisingly, to get this reconstruct going. When Red Wings boss Chris Ilitch uses difference like “it’s going to be a process,” well, bend adult for some rough rides during a subsequent few years. And is Mike Green entrance back, or what?

    27. Buffalo Sabres

    2017-18 record: 25-45-12

    What tangible them: The Sabres finished final in their multiplication for a fifth time in a past 6 seasons and had a misfortune record in a NHL for a third time in a past 5 seasons. The good news is they’ll collect initial in a NHL breeze for a initial time given 1987 (when they took Pierre Turgeon).

    What could change: The 18-year-old Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, Rasmus Dahlin, Rasmus Dahlin, Rasmus Dahlin, Rasmus Dahlin, Rasmus Dahlin, Rasmus Dahlin, Rasmus Dahlin, with Rasmus Dahlin and, of course, Rasmus Dahlin. Oh, and a Sabres are substantially going to trade Ryan O’Reilly after he suggested he mislaid his smile.

    28. Montreal Canadiens

    2017-18 record: 29-40-13

    What tangible them: The Canadiens mislaid 40 games in regulation, their many given 2000-01. Montreal’s success customarily is driven by Carey Price‘s play, and this year was no different, as he finished with career-worsts in save commission (.900) and goals-against normal (3.11)

    What could change: While casting an eye during a John Tavares derby, a whole concentration of a Canadiens’ offseason appears to be what, if anything, will occur with captain Max Pacioretty, including a intensity sign-and-trade as he enters a final year of his prior contract.

    29. Vancouver Canucks

    2017-18 record: 31-40-11

    What tangible them: The Canucks have had a misfortune record in a Western Conference a past 3 years (.441 points percentage). Now they have to reinstate Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin, who played in 82 and 81 games each, respectively, this deteriorate during age 37.

    What could change: The reconstruct is on* and it’s spectacular! (*Please note that any jubilee about a reconstruct is on reason until we see if a Canucks do something forward-thinking and active with their seventh altogether collect in a draft. Sigh … as slightest Elias Pettersson is going to uncover when he gets to a NHL.)

    30. Ottawa Senators

    2017-18 record: 28-43-11

    What tangible them: The Senators went from being one idea divided from a Stanley Cup Final final Jun to finishing with their fewest points (67) given 1995-96 (41). Erik Karlsson is a customarily defenseman with 45 assists in any of a past 5 seasons, nonetheless will he sojourn in Ottawa?

    billboards worked in Brooklyn, they did not nonetheless for Eugene Melnyk.

    31. Arizona Coyotes

    2017-18 record: 29-41-12

    What tangible them: The Coyotes have missed a playoffs any of a past 6 years given losing to a Kings in a 2012 Western Conference finals. From Feb. 8 on, however, a Coyotes had a 17-9-3 record, that was improved than a Golden Knights (16-10-3) and customarily behind a Capitals (18-9-2).

    What could change: Oliver Ekman-Larsson appears prepared to pointer a prolonged extension, nonetheless a work is customarily starting for GM John Chayka: Everything from what to do about limited free-agent winger Max Domi to whom to breeze fifth altogether in Dallas after this month.

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