Welcome to this edition of the 2022-23 weekly Power Rankings for The Hockey Writers. We’ll rank the teams from last to first. Rankings are focused on the overall record, each team’s record of the last week, and the overall feel surrounding each club.
December is officially here as the 2022-23 NHL season rolls on. We haven’t seen any coaching changes or major trades take place up until now. As we get closer to the New Year, the cries for change within the league’s struggling clubs will become louder and louder while the teams in the top half of the league have already begun positioning themselves for potential additions.
All stats and records are current as of of Dec. 6, prior to any games taking place.
32-26: Lottery Sweepstakes
32. Anaheim Ducks (Last Week: 32, 6-17-3, 15 points)
31. Chicago Blackhawks (Last Week: 31, 7-13-4, 18 points)
30. Philadelphia Flyers (Last Week: 29, 9-12-5, 23 points)
29. San Jose Sharks (Last Week: 28, 8-16-4, 20 points)
28. Arizona Coyotes (Last Week: 27, 7-12-4, 18 points)
27. Columbus Blue Jackets (Last Week: 30, 8-13-2, 18 points)
26. St. Louis Blues (Last Week: 19, 11-14-0, 22 points)
Not much has changed other than shuffling a few of the deck chairs on the Titanic. The Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks both remain in the bottom two spots, while the Philadelphia Flyers continue their descent into the depths of the league. The San Jose Sharks and Arizona Coyotes, while fully belonging in the bottom of the barrel, at least appear to be competitive in stretches.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have gotten Patrik Laine back yet again from injury, sparking the team to a victory over the Winnipeg Jets, as the team tries to climb out of the Bedard sweepstakes. On the other hand, the St. Louis Blues Jekyll-and-Hyde season continues as they went 0-3-0 last week, giving up six goals in each of their three losses. Jordan Binnington’s on-ice antics have also begun to take their toll on the team as they continue to slide. As such, changes may be coming soon in the Gateway City.
25. Ottawa Senators (Last Week: 26, 10-13-1, 21 points)
24. Washington Capitals (Last Week: 24, 11-12-4, 26 points)
23. Buffalo Sabres (Last Week: 25, 11-13-1, 23 points)
22. Montreal Canadiens (Last Week: 17, 12-11-2, 26 points)
21. Vancouver Canucks (Last Week: 23, 11-12-3, 25 points)
This grouping of clubs feels like they’re all going to hover around each other for much of the 2022-23 NHL season. With the sale of the team imminent, the Ottawa Senators have been showing some signs of life, winning two in a row and are 5-5-0 in their last 10. The Washington Capitals seem to keep hovering around .500 without being able to crest while the Buffalo Sabres have enough offense (third overall in goals per game at 3.80) but can’t keep opponents out of the net (27th rank penalty kill – 70.6%; 28th overall in goals allowed per game at 3.68). Center Dylan Cozens was the NHL’s second star of this past week with nine points (four goals, five assists) in four games.
Meanwhile the Montreal Canadiens seem dead-set on not going after the number one pick for the second straight year by being just good enough. While they’re still a relatively disappointing team overall, their Reverse Retro 2.0 jerseys (shown above) make them more bearable. After their horrendous start, the Vancouver Canucks are scratching and clawing to find their way out of hockey purgatory, going 7-3-0 in their last 10, which includes a win over the Vegas Golden Knights. Similar to Buffalo, they can score (3.50 goals per game) but aren’t stopping enough pucks (3.85 goals allowed per game).
20-16: Hopes and Dreams
20. Calgary Flames (Last Week: 22, 12-10-3, 27 points)
19. New York Rangers (Last Week: 16, 12-10-5, 29 points)
18. Florida Panthers (Last Week: 18, 12-9-4, 28 points)
17. Edmonton Oilers (Last Week: 15, 14-12-0, 28 points)
16. Nashville Predators (Last Week: 21, 12-9-2, 26 points)
The Calgary Flames have beefed up their win column with victories over the Coyotes and Capitals recently, going 3-0-0 last week, but stars Nazem Kadri (19 points) and Jonathan Huberdeau (15 points) continue to sputter offensively. They seem like a team that may take off once they find a rhythm and team identity. Even with a win over the Blues, the sky may still be falling for the New York Rangers with prior losses to the lowly Senators and Blackhawks. Captain Jacob Trouba attempted to fire his team up with a monster hit and had to watch his words when speaking to the media after their loss to Chicago. They’re 4-4-2 in their last 10.
Things in South Beach haven’t changed much for the Florida Panthers, going 2-1-0 last week and 4-3-3 over their last 10. They’re ninth overall in goals and Matthew Tkachuk is tied for sixth overall in points with 34. They’ve collected two straight 5-1 victories over the Canucks and Seattle Kraken. Connor McDavid was the NHL’s first star of the week, collecting 11 points (five goals, six assists) as the Edmonton Oilers went 2-2-0 in their last four. Their biggest issue remains in net, with Stuart Skinner taking over for the struggling Jack Campbell (4.12 goals against average, .872 save percentage). They’re also looking to make a move for help on the blue line.
Related: NHL 2022-23 Week 9 Power Rankings
After recording a perfect 3-0-0 week, the Nashville Predators jump five spots in this week’s rankings. Their week included impressive wins over the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders. The tandem of Juuse Saros and Kevin Lankinen seems to have hit their stride after some early season struggles.
15-11: On the Cusp
15. Los Angeles Kings (Last Week: 14, 13-10-4, 30 points)
14. Minnesota Wild (Last Week: 20, 13-9-2, 28 points)
13. Detroit Red Wings (Last Week: 10, 12-7-5, 29 points)
12. Colorado Avalanche (Last Week: 6, 13-9-1, 27 points)
11. Pittsburgh Penguins (Last Week: 13, 13-8-4, 30 points)
The Los Angeles Kings need help in the crease as Cal Peterson cleared waivers and was reassigned to the American Hockey League (AHL). Even with scoring 92 goals as a team, they’ve allowed 97 (minus-5 goal differential) as they continue to creep back toward the middle of the pack. Just like the Predators, the Minnesota Wild made a big jump in the rankings after their perfect 3-0-0 week. Kirill Kaprizov and Joel Eriksson Ek both recorded five points in that stretch as the team capped it off by defeating the Dallas Stars in a shootout. They’ve won four in a row.
The Detroit Red Wings took a slight step back as they went 1-1-1 last week, falling to both the Sabres and Golden Knights. The rocky mountain air has gotten thinner for the Colorado Avalanche, as they went 1-3-0 last week. In their most recent loss to the Flyers, Nathan MacKinnon left with an upper-body injury and is week-to-week. They’re now without MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, Artturi Lehkonen, Valeri Nichushkin, Evan Rodrigues, Josh Manson, Bowen Byram, and Kurtis MacDermid for the foreseeable future. Even with the loss of Kris Letang to an extremely scary incident and numerous players missing time with various illnesses, the Pittsburgh Penguins are 7-2-1 in their last 10 and keep on rolling.
10. Carolina Hurricanes
Last Week: 12
14-6-5, 33 points
The Carolina Hurricanes are the fourth team to record a perfect week, going 3-0-0. They’ve strung together four straight wins, with points in nine of their last 10 (5-1-4). Their 2.88 goals per game (G/GP) still ranks fairly low (24th), but they’re still only allowing 2.76 goals per game (GA/GP), which ranks seventh.
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They’re not dominating the league, rather they’re doing just enough most nights to get by. Veteran Brent Burns is putting together a solid season so far (four goals, 14 assists) and leads the team in shots on goal (90) and average time on ice (ATOI) at 23:45 per game. With wins over the Penguins, Blues, and Kings, goalie Pyotr Kochetkov has taken the starter’s duties for now.
9. New York Islanders
Last Week: 7
16-10-0, 32 points
Ilya Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov together form arguably the best goalie duo in the NHL for the New York Islanders. Combined, they’ve allowed just 66 goals, good for fourth in the league. They took two losses to lesser teams in the Flyers and Predators last week, but turned around to pitch a shutout against the Blackhawks.
As a whole, their plus-16 goal differential is fifth in all of hockey. Matthew Barzal continues his strong season as his 24 assists put him third overall in that category. More offense could be on the way as the Isles have recently been rumored as a possible landing spot for Patrick Kane.
8. Tampa Bay Lightning
Last Week: 11
15-8-1, 31 points
8-2-0 over their last 10 and 2-1-0 last week, the Tampa Bay Lightning jumped a few spots. Their “week that was” was highlighted by captain Steven Stamkos recording his 1000th career point, the first player to do so in franchise history, and a 4-3 overtime victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Nikita Kucherov (36 total points, 19 power play points) is leading this team to the seventh most goals per game (3.50) and a 29 percent power play success rate (3rd).
7. Dallas Stars
Last Week: 8
14-6-5, 33 points
Dallas Stars’ phenom Jason Robertson’s unreal play is continuing to light the NHL on fire. He’s currently leading the league in goals with 23, is third in points with 41, and fifth in shots with 111. He’s earned another honor as the NHL’s third star of the week, posting six points (five goals) in that span.
He’s currently on an 18-game point streak while helping Dallas lead the league in goals scored (98) and the third-best goal differential (plus-26). Veterans Jamie Benn (26 points) and Joe Pavelski (28 points) are chipping in as well as better than point-per-game players.
6. Winnipeg Jets
Last Week: 9
15-7-1, 31 points
The Winnipeg Jets’ offense continues to make progress, as they’re now 14th in goals per game (3.22), but they still rely on goalie Connor Hellebuyck to carry more than his fair share of the collective weight. So far, he’s been up to the task, facing 593 shots (third most), stopping 552 of them (second most), recording a .931 save percentage (third best), and a league-best three shutouts. They went 2-1-0 last week and are 7-3-0 in their last 10 with wins over the Hurricanes, Avalanche, and Stars.
5. Seattle Kraken
Last Week: 5
15-6-3, 36 points
The Seattle Kraken keep hanging around the top of the league, going 2-1-0 last week and 7-2-1 in their last 10. Prior to losing to the Panthers on Dec. 3, they had won seven in a row, including a 9-8 thriller over the Kings. In that game, goalie Martin Jones allowed all eight goals and ceded the next two starts to Philipp Grubauer. As a team, the Kraken boast the league’s best shooting percentage (S%) at 12.6 percent. If this team does have a weakness, it’s their 30th ranked penalty killing unit (66.7 percent). Rookie Shane Wright has also been recalled from the American Hockey League.
4. Toronto Maple Leafs
Last Week: 3
15-5-6, 36 points
Mitch Marner has been the driving force for the Toronto Maple Leafs, currently on a franchise-record 19-game point streak (25 total points over that span). They have recorded at least one point in 11 straight and in 16 of 18. They’re also currently tied with the Kraken in goal differential (plus-13).
Their success in net is perhaps the main catalyst for the Leafs’ success so far. The main duo of Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov are vastly outperforming the team’s production last season while the team is allowing just 2.54 goals against per game. The Leafs’ season will go as their goaltenders go.
3. Vegas Golden Knights
Last Week: 4
19-7-1, 39 points
The Vegas Golden Knights jump a spot in this week’s rankings thanks to strong victories over the Red Wings and Bruins, handing the latter their first home loss of the season. Their special teams units haven’t been special so far (16th power play, 25th penalty kill), but they’re the third-best scoring team at five-on-five (62 goals).
Jack Eichel is proving to be worth the price they paid to obtain him from the Sabres, leading the team in goals (13), points (29), and plus/minus (plus-17). Unsung hero Logan Thompson continues to be a force in net with a .921 SV% and a 2.55 GAA. The Golden Knights as a team are 6-2-1 in their last 10.
2. New Jersey Devils
Last Week: 2
20-4-1, 41 points
The New Jersey Devils continue to be the second-hottest team in the NHL, only to be outdone by the Bruins (again). They’re 8-1-1 over their last 10, fueled by goalie Vitek Vanecek and center Jack Hughes (eight points in his last six games). Their 93 goals scored and 57 goals allowed both rank second-best in the league, giving them a plus-36 goal differential (second overall). They’ll look to stay hot during their upcoming two-game week.
1. Boston Bruins
Last Week: 1
20-3-1, 41 points
Even with suffering their first home loss of the season in overtime to the Golden Knights, the Boston Bruins are still atop the NHL’s regular season throne. Head coach Jim Montgomery seems to be on his way to a Jack Adams Award as the league’s top bench boss. Under Montgomery, the Bruins lead the league in wins (20), goals per game (3.96), goals against per game (2.17), goals against (52), and goal differential (plus-43). Their second overall in power play (29.3 percent), penalty kill (84.6 percent), and goals scored (95).
David Pastrnak is fourth in goals (17) and fifth in points (35), leading this offense along with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. The Bruins’ home record now stands at 14-0-1, going 8-1-1 in their last 10 games. They’re the class of the NHL right now, although the Devils, Maple Leafs, and Golden Knights aren’t far behind.
Now that American Thanksgiving has come and gone, we’re now in the second quarter of the 2022-23 NHL season. The gap between the top and bottom of the league is beginning to grow, with a few gaps already proving to be insurmountable for those near the end of this list. Trade speculation is beginning to run rampant as the NHL’s hot stove burner is about to be turned on.
Marcus Ashpaugh is a team writer at THW, focusing on the St. Louis Blues organization. He enjoys writing about the team at the NHL level as well as the prospects within the organization.