Let's get right down to it! Here's how I see it.
1. Pittsburgh Penguins (12-4-0, 24 points)
Through the first 16 games, the Pens continue to play like champions! Without question, they remain the most balanced and best team in the NHL. With great leaders like Crosby, Malkin and great backups like Staal, Fedotenko, Kennedy, and add solid goaltending from Fleury, you got yourself a very nice hockey team!
2. San Jose Sharks (11-4-2, 24 points)
When you have guys like Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, and Dany Heatley on your hockey team, 56 goals through the first 17 games isn't surprising at all.
3. Colorado Avalanche (11-3-2, 24 points)
If the Avs continue to get some positive production from their youngsters, good things could come in Denver.
4. Buffalo Sabres (9-2-1, 19 points)
Ryan Miller continues to cover up for the Sabres' mediocre offense.
5. Philadelphia Flyers (7-4-1, 15 points)
I have the Flyers this high because I've watched them take high advantage of their power play. They execute better on it than basically the rest of the entire league.
6. New York Rangers (10-6-1, 21 points)
Offense and a great penalty killing unit has given this team a great boost to start the new season.
7. Los Angeles Kings (10-4-2, 22 points)
Along with Colorado, the Kings have been the most surprising team so far. Just my opinion.
8. Washington Capitals (8-3-4, 20 points)
Now, let's see how this team plays WITHOUT Alexander Ovechkin...
9. Vancouver Canucks (10-7-0, 20 points)
The Canucks know how to protect their home ice rather well! They are an NHL-best 7-0-0 at home so far this season.
10. Calgary Flames (9-4-1, 19 points)
Like the Flyers and Thrashers, the Flames know how to take advantage of their power play very well.
11. Phoenix Coyotes (10-6-0, 20 points)
Woven with the poor offseason (literally), the Coyotes have shown signs of life with new coach Dave Tippett behind the bench.
12. Chicago Blackhawks (8-5-1, 17 points)
Not the greatest of starts to an NHL season, but the Blackhawks are still my favorite to win the Central Division.
13. Atlanta Thrashers (6-5-1, 13 points)
Despite the mediocre start, the Thrashers are taking advantage of taking advantage of their power play opportunities.
14. New Jersey Devils (9-4-0, 18 points)
The Devils' new nicknames should be the "Road Warriors." They hold an NHL-best 7-0-0 road record this season so far.
15. Dallas Stars (6-3-6, 18 points)
If the Stars can finally figure out a way to get it done in overtime, they might be a little higher. But number 15 seems to be the right spot for now.
16. Ottawa Senators (7-4-2, 16 points)
I guess losing Dany Heatley was a good idea after all. They've recorded 16 points in 13 games and have killed 87% of penalties they've faced against (tied for second-best in the league.)
17. Detroit Red Wings (7-4-3, 17 points)
The injury-struck Red Wings have recorded a team total -1 +/- rating through the first 14 games. Not very exciting. Something tells me that these aren't going to be the Red Wings we've been use to seeing over the past few years.
18. Edmonton Oilers (7-8-1, 15 points)
Dustin Penner continues to put on a show (tied-6th best with 16 points through 16 games).
19. Columbus Blue Jackets (8-5-2, 18 points)
Wow! What happened to Steve Mason? Sophomore slump perhaps.
20. Anaheim Ducks (5-7-2, 12 points)
Well, Corey Perry is doing his job on offense, Now if only the rest of the Ducks can join in and give him a little help, theings would be a little better doe the Ducks, but no.
21. Boston Bruins (6-7-2, 14 points)
If the Bruins would do better on the power play, they might be a little higher. I still do see a bright 2009-10 season for this team, though.
22. St. Louis Blues (5-6-2, 12 points)
The defense and goaltending is there, now they just need to get some offense going.
23. Montreal Canadiens (8-8-0, 16 points)
The Habs have killed only 14.3% of man disadvantages (6th worst in the NHL.)
24. New York Islanders (5-5-5, 15 points)
A little of a better of a start to the season than I expected, but the Isles remain the joke of the Atlantic Division.
25. Florida Panthers (5-7-1, 11 points)
Like the Bruins, the Panthers are having trouble scoring on the power play, which is something they got to do if they want to see themselves get back into the playoffs.
26. Tampa Bay Lightning (5-4-5, 15 points)
Took him a little bit of time, but Steven Stamkos has finally arrived and is playing like the best player on this Lightning team.
27. Minnesota Wild (5-10-0, 10 points)
Despite them being a not-so-exciting team they aren't so bad against the power play.
28. Nashville Predators (6-7-1, 13 points)
Only averaging just two goals per game isn't going to cut it. That's just not good. The Preds offense has to pick it up dramatically if they want to get anything positive going.
29. Toronto Maple Leafs (1-7-5, 7 points)
And so it continues...terrible goaltending!
30. Carolina Hurricanes (2-9-3, 7 points)
*Insert sound of plane crash here*
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