Friday, 26 September 2014

NHL: Power Rankings

Hey everyone.  This is my list for power rankings entering this season.  I know nearly everyone will disagree somewhat, but I am sticking by these picks!

1. Los Angeles Kings:  The Kings have proven to be a team that can turn it on down the stretch.  They are one of the deepest teams up front.  Youngsters Toffoli and Pearson are creating some great chemistry with Jeff Carter, which makes all 3 of the Kings' top lines extremely dangerous.  Very few teams have the luxury of this depth.  Combine that with Johnathan Quick, and stellar defense; You have a team built for success.

2. Boston Bruins:  The Bruins are quite possibly the best defensive team in the league.  They always bring great centerman, and physical defense to the table.  Tuuka Rask will put up great numbers once again playing behind the likes of Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Zdeno Chara.   These guys will be crucial to the teams' overall success.  Don't forget about newcomers Rielly Smith and Carol Soderberg, though.  Both these guys will be looking to follow up last year with another great season.  With these two in the mix, the Bruins will have a very deep roster.

3. Anaheim Ducks:  The Ducks are looking a little better than last year.  I believe adding Kesler will help round out the offence a little more.  Now the team can hopefully lighten the load for Getzlaf and Perry.  With the added depth, expect the teams youngsters to improve drastically.  With Cam Fowler, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler; the team has four very dangerous players in the prime of their careers.  If they can find security in goal, they will put up some great numbers this season.

4. St. Louis Blues:  The Blues have been my pick to win a cup for the past several years.  They have  depth in every position that can grind the opposition down.  If the pieces fall into place offensively, the Blues will be very dangerous.  Vladamir Tarasenko started to look dangerous offensively late last season, and Jaden Schwartz is still showing signs of development.  Adding Stasny will only boost the team up in the standings.  I guess it does not hurt to have Shattenkirk, Pietrangelo and Bouwmeester on the back end either.

5. Colorado Avalanche: The Avalanche really turned it on down the stretch last season.  They did not have the success they wanted in the post season, but we have to remember that the entire team is still very young.  Matt Duchene, Nathan Mckinnon and Gabriel Landeskog are still developing.  To have this kind of success so soon is startling, and they will continue to improve.  Adding Jarome Iginla should help the young forwards develop quicker.

6. Pittsburgh Penguins:  The Penguins are a big question mark for me when it comes to the playoffs.  Crosby and Fleury are so inconsistent in big games.  On top of that, Crosby and Malkin have reported injuries entering pre-season. To mane thins worse, Letang is coming off of a serious stroke from last season.  The talent is there, but the team will have to face a lot of adversity if they want to succeed.

7. Chicago Blackhawks: The Hawks are still one of the powerhouses in the West, but they do lack some depth compared to the other Western teams.  Don't get me wrong, they are a very deep and skilled team.  However, the conference is strong and the Blackhawks are no longer the top dogs in the West.  Key pieces like Toews and Kane will ensure the teams stays competitive for years to come.

8. New York Rangers:  The Rangers made it clear that they are a competitor in this league last season.  They battled hard all playoff long, and Henrik Lundqvist proved that he is an elite goaltender once again.  They still have key pieces in place, including King Henry, Rick Nash and Ryan McDonagh.  Losing Brad Richards to the Blackhawks could prove to be an issue later on this season if they cannot keep up offensively.

9. San Jose Sharks:  The Sharks are one of those teams that always seem to be in the mix.  They usually tear up the regular season, but flounder come playoff time.  I rate them in the top ten because the roster is very similar to last season, and I believe that Pavelski and Couture are ready to take on control of the team.  Guys like Joe Thorton and Patrick Marleau will still be there as well, which adds some serious depth for the Sharks offense.

10. Tampa Bay:  The Lightning are not an overly dangerous team apart from a few select players.  However, they do have Stamkos who is quite possibly the best scorer in the league.  He should be healthy to start the season and will likely start potting goals right off the hop.  They have some depth as well, with the likes of Ondrej Palat, Valterri Flippula.  I expect Ben Bishop to be steady in goal again this year, and he is the main reason why I am comfortable putting Tampa in my top ten.