(Hey everyone, we here at Puck Daddy are doing real power rankings for teams Nos. 1-31 — well, those numbers but like, reversed. Actually, it’s just me doing it. Anyway, here they are, based on pretty much only how I am feeling about these teams, meaning you can’t tell me I’m wrong because these are my feelings and feelings can’t be wrong. Please enjoy them.)
31. Buffalo Sabres
I saw both “The Room” and “The Disaster Artist” this weekend and I am not one of those guys who loves to watch a bad movie. Often, I think watching a bad movie is a waste of time that is in no way fun. “The Room” is an incredibly fun, baffling movie, and “The Disaster Artist” highlights why: You have the ability to watch it with incredulity, but you have to respect the vision and drive of the weirdo happily, enthusiastically steering the ship into the rocks.
Meanwhile, there have been plenty of movies with troubled productions that were frustrating to all involved, but in the end turned out to be truly great films. “The Shining” and “Apocalypse Now” stand out as masterpieces of their genres despite a lot of very bad stuff happening along the way.
The thing that is truly bad about the Sabres — apart from, y’know, “everything” — is that this isn’t even a team that’s bad and fun to watch. They’re just bad. They’re also boring. They’re also frustrating. They’re also guided with no clear vision that is, at this point, in any way discernible (probably a function of a first-year tandem of both coach and GM).
Maybe at some point we will look back on these trying times and say, “Well, that turned out to be worth it.” But the way things are going right now, it’s more likely Jason Botterill ends up saying, “Thanks for enjoying my comedy film,” on the way out the door.
30. Arizona Coyotes
29. Philadelphia Flyers
Yikes. There’s nothing else to say here, really. I’m trying to remember some other notable 10-plus game losing streaks in the past decade or so and I can’t come up with too many. I feel like maybe Calgary and Edmonton had them a while back. That feels right, at least spiritually.
And look, when you’re being compared to those late-2000s Flames/Oilers teams, that’s extremely bad.
28. Florida Panthers
27. Detroit Red Wings
Ken Holland has to get fired soon, right? Like, this team is basically talking to a man about the collective embarrassment they feel for how they’ve played. And while no one is “lose 10-1 on a regular basis” bad, this team is “lose on an incredibly regularly basis” bad for sure.
26. Ottawa Senators
Did you see that box score from Sunday night? There was a point early in the second period where the Jets had as many goals (five) as the Senators had shots. This is not a good team, and they’ve only won nine of their 25 games. Remember when people thought they could make the playoffs again? Adorable.
24. Edmonton Oilers
Hey, all they needed was that weird own goal in a game with 12 total goals to stop the Flames comeback. If they can get the other team to start scoring for them on a regular basis, I say we give Chiarelli the GM of the Year award.
23. Anaheim Ducks
In all honesty the Ducks should probably be lower on this list but with all these injuries, I can’t dock them too much.
Also, I don’t think this team is good or anything.
22. Boston Bruins
21. Carolina Hurricanes
What a frustrating team, honestly. Every time it feels like they’re figuring it out, they say, “Ah ha, the joke here is on you, my friend, because we’re still not quite as good as the Bruins, even though we should be.”
Nonetheless, I have faith in these guys! I’ll see how I feel about all that later.
20. Calgary Flames
The Flames’ defensive woes are probably not good news for Brad Treliving since his big offseason acquisition was a defenseman whose performance so far this season, to be nice, stinks.
Watch a Flames game and you go, “This is a team with how many good defensemen?” I still think it’s a function of their forward depth needing improvement, but they shouldn’t be wasting a great season from … Mike Smith?
Sucks to face a reckoning, in my opinion.
18. Montreal Canadiens
Amazing that Montreal has scored just 78 goals this season, and 19 of them have come in two games. Anyway, this team is currently third in their division. I don’t know what everyone was so worried about! (Just kidding yes I do.)
16. New York Rangers
15. San Jose Sharks
The Canucks, Rangers, and Sharks are three teams where I’m like “Well, I guess they’re winning, but also they aren’t good. But also they aren’t that bad either.” So oh well. That probably puts you right around the middle of the league.
14. Minnesota Wild
I keep waiting for these guys to get their feet under them. Good team, solid roster, great coach. Something’s kinda missing there, but as long as Bruce Boudreau keeps shouting out the analytics department, I have nothing but love.
13. Washington Capitals
The Caps have a negative goal difference, and unlike the Penguins they haven’t been blown out a few times. I don’t know if that’s good or bad for them, but it seems like it’s the latter, right?
12. Pittsburgh Penguins
11. New Jersey Devils
The Devils have no goal difference at all. Dead even. Which is kind of amazing considering they’ve won many more games than they have lost.
Anyway I thought the Sami Vatanen trade was interesting. Vatanen is a guy who does really well against lower-tier competition but is probably a little overrated league-wide. The same can be said of Adam Henrique. So it was one of those trades where both teams deal from a position of strength to address a weakness and no one really comes out on the losing end.
10. Dallas Stars
This is a good team and even though I don’t trust Ben Bishop at all I will stick by this statement until they prove me wrong. At which point I will be mad at them.
9. Vegas Golden Knights
Well they’ve got the points, still, but things seem to be turning back to what everyone expected for these guys. They don’t seem to beat anyone but Arizona lately, which isn’t a big deal because y’know, it’s the Coyotes.
8. New York Islanders
7. Toronto Maple Leafs
6. St. Louis Blues
I said it in WWL this week but they weren’t gonna get this kind of performance from Jake Allen all year. And that’s fine. He doesn’t have to be .920-plus all year for this team to succeed. It’s just regular old “good” at hockey anyway.
5. Los Angeles Kings
Credit where it’s due: This is a better club than anyone expected. I’m still kinda waiting to see when the bottom drops out.
4. Columbus Blue Jackets
I suspect, though, that the bottom will not drop out for Columbus. Also just regular old good but also with an elite goaltender.
Starting to look like this is the team that’s going to come out of the West again. They have a little more of a basis for their success than the Jets.
2. Winnipeg Jets
But also the Jets are really good at every position. They can tighten some things up, obviously, but overall? Very good team that just so happens to be playing some of the best hockey in the league.
1. Tampa Bay Lightning
The Bolts have hit a little bit of a lull here, with a wholly unimpressive record through their last 10 games, but let’s be honest: This is the best team in the league so far this season from just about any perspective you want to apply.
(All stats via Corsica unless otherwise noted.)