We are now ten games through the NHL season so instead of a what we learned this week instead here are the top ten teams after ten games.
1. Tampa Bay Lightning: There really cannot be any debate about the one spot. The lightning night in and night out put up fantastic performances and the league’s leading point scorer, Steven Stamkos (21) and the league’s leading Goal scorer Nikita Kucherov (12) both have spots on this team. The Lightning have a tough stretch of games to start November, the Kings, Blue Jackets and Sharks but the lightning have already played some of the league’s toughest competition early. Right now there isn’t really a weakness on this team.
2. Los Angeles Kings: Johnathan Quick is the best goal tender in the league again after a fluke 2016. Quick has a 1.88 goals against average and 2 shut outs. The Kings offense is there too. 36 goals for and a smoking hot Anze Kopitar who has 7 goals leading the team. However, while Kopitar’s stats don’t stand out they exemplify the tremendous depth on this team. 11 different Kings players have goals and 3 have five or more.
3. Vegas Golden Knights: Do I expect this team to be in this spot ten games from now? No. They fully deserve this right now though the Knights are 8-1-0 one of the greatest starts for a first-year franchise in NHL history. Their doing it without their number one goaltender Marc Andre Fleury who has been out since game four of the Season. There are no all-stars on this team, but James Neal is an NHL vet and a fantastic leader. This team has chemistry and some time that can make up for lack of talent in the NHL.
4. Saint Louis Blues: Coach Mike Yeo has taken the success from the last half of the 2016 season and translated it into instant success in 2017. Jade Schwartz is the non Lightning NHL points leader with 17. Not to mention the fantastic early play of Vladimir Tarasenko and Alex Pitrangelo, both have 12 points. Jake Allen continues to be one of my favorite goalies to watch week in and week out. Colton Pareyko and Vince Dunn head up a solid defensive core for the Blues.
5. Pittsburgh Penguins: The Penguins have a major problem at goal tender. Specifically their back up Antti Niemi who seemingly only gives up 6 goal games. A backup with some 7.50 goals against average is a recipe for disaster if Matt Murray gets hurt. However, the offense looks just as good as ever so the Penguins plug into the five spot, but there are weaknesses this year.
6. Ottawa Senators: 41 goals and a top 5 pk in the league plus a high-flying Craig Anderson equal a team with promise. Not to mention they won 3 in a row without Erik Karlson that doesn’t happen most years.
7. Toronto Maple Leaf’s: The most fun, fastest team to watch in hockey has major defensive problems. The Leaf’s only regulation losses this year have come by a score of 6-3 that is a major problem. However, they are the second highest scoring team in the Eastern Conference right now. So, they can hide their deficiencies from the depth scoring of Connor Brown and William Nylander.
8. New Jersey Devils: Another team no one thought would start this hot also has big defensive problems. Yesper Bratt has been a surprise though and the Devils are winning games so they grab a top ten spot.
9. Columbus Jackets: Sergei Bobrovsky has another hot start. Sonny Milano is suddenly a semi star in the NHL with 6 points.
10. Nashville Predators: There was a Stanley Cup hangover and then they woke right up. Thanks to Filip Foresbergs 12 points and Pk Subbans 9 points.
Honorable Mentions: Chicago Blackhawks, New York Islanders, Dallas Stars, Vancouver Canucks.