The NHL season didn’t even take a breather before unleashing the chaos. Just like everyone expected, the best teams in the league are the Sharks and Ducks and Sabres and the worst is the Canadiens.

It’s tough to rank teams this early in the season, because a lot can change the next few weeks. But this is an every-week exercise.

Just don’t judge too harshly when the Sabres are in the bottom-quarter of the rankings in a couple weeks.

1. Florida Panthers

The Panthers are getting more hype than they ever have. It’s early. But they sure do look like they’ve been building something. They beat four good teams to start the season.

2. Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins were hit by COVID-19 early and still look downright scary on offense.

3. Edmonton Oilers

Connor McDavid entered Friday with 47 points in his past 18 games, and none of that is a typo.


4. Tampa Bay Lightning

The defending champs are always going to be a threat. Even without Nikita Kucherov, we’ve already learned that.

5. Minnesota Wild

It’s the second season in a row the Wild seems like it actually might be fun. This team is not a fluke!

6. Washington Capitals

The Capitals should be a power in the Metropolitan again.

7. Boston Bruins

The Bruins have a lot of question marks, but that’s still a dangerous team if goaltending can work itself out.

8. Toronto Maple Leafs

The record isn’t terrible, but the analytics hate the Leafs leaving so many expected goals on the board. But hey, we’re all just slowly approaching the first round of the playoffs anyway, right?

9. Colorado Avalanche

Nathan MacKinnon has missed time because of COVID-19 and even still the Avs offense is dangerous. The Avalanche will get back on track.

10. Carolina Hurricanes

Even if they do nothing else all season, is a win.


11. Vegas Golden Knights

Defense has been a sore spot for the Knights. The post Marc-Andre Fleury era might be tougher than anticipated.

12. Dallas Stars

I don’t know what to think about this team yet. The Stars are 12th based on vibes, and 90 percent of those vibes are about Roope Hintz.

13. Philadelphia Flyers

They’re scoring goals, and Carter Hart isn’t a disaster. What more could they want?

14. Anaheim Ducks

It’s not like the Ducks are going to make a run, but it is exciting to see their young players are exciting.

15. St. Louis Blues

The Blues knocked off the Golden Knights and Avalanche in early-season contests.

16. San Jose Sharks

The Sharks getting off to a hot start is a great indicator how early-season results aren’t expected to hold.


17. New York Islanders

Rough start. But the Islanders will probably have something like a three-game shutout streak, play the most boring stretch in the league and find their way in the conference finals. So, whatever.

18. Buffalo Sabres

The Sabres are on a tear, against all expectations. Well, that sure has never happened before, has it?

19. Seattle Kraken

If the Kraken can ever stop transition offense, it might have something. It just, uh, has to show it can do that.

20. Vancouver Canucks

The only team that has allowed more high-danger chances than the Kraken is a couple of hours across the border.

21. Nashville Predators

Phil Tomasino scored in his first game, and Juuse Saros is still cleaning up every Preds mess.

22. New York Rangers

Hey, at least they have six alternate captains to lead them through it.


23. New Jersey Devils

The Devils looked kind of good until Jack Hughes went out.

24. Columbus Blue Jackets

Their opening-night win was sharp, and Patrik Laine looks engaged,

25. Ottawa Senators

Brady Tkachuk is back, and once again the Sens are one of the sneaky-enjoyable teams to watch.

26. Montreal Canadiens

Literally the worst start to a season ever for a team that was just in the Cup Final. Ever. Mathematically.

27. Los Angeles Kings

Anze Kopitar is on pace to win the Hart Trophy, and the year is 2012.

28. Detroit Red Wings

No one should expect miracles for this team but man, Moritz Seider is a solid addition to the league’s class of young defenders.

29. Calgary Flames

The Flames are going to finish like, 15th or 16th in the league, and I would bet anything you want on that. The most perennially average team.


30. Winnipeg Jets

The Jets will go as far as Connor Hellebuyck takes them. So, the same as the past three seasons.

31. Chicago Blackhawks

Following Thursday’s loss to Vancouver, Chicago had scored just three five-on-five goals in five games.

32. Arizona Coyotes

It’s ugly in the desert, in what might be the Coyotes’ last season there.