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NHL Power Rankings (Oct. 14): Shaky Starts Plague Projected Top Teams

Mark Jones@@CanesReportSenior Analyst IOctober 14, 2009

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 14: Wayne Simmonds #17 of the Los Angeles Kings is stopped by Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on October 14, 2009 in New York, New York.  The Rangers defeated the Kings 5-4. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

It's been a crazy two weeks we've had since the start of the 2009-2010 NHL season.

We've seen some teams get off to unexpected fast starts, while others, projected to be among the elite by experts in the preseason, have fallen below expectations.

The system for these power rankings (for those of you who like formulas) is as follows:

  • 35% Projected Results
  • 55% Success this season (so far)
  • 10% intangibles/miscellaneous

For those of you who don't prefer formulas quite as much, let's just say that those little percentages aren't strictly followed.

Therefore, I am by no means saying that this is the order of toughness of opponents, this is just my little blended smoothie of projected, sensible standings and the baffling ones we are seeing right now. However, I am sure there will be people who disagree. And there's a space for you, too: It's called the comments section.

However, with all this craziness, sometimes you just have to remember, it has just been five games.

The Power Rankings

1. Pittsburgh Penguins (5-1-0, 10 pts)

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The defending Stanley Cup champions definitely avoided the Cup hangover, and are tied for the top in the league in points so far.

2. Chicago Blackhawks (3-1-1, 7 pts)

The loss of Khahibulin apparently didn't hurt too much, for the 'Hawks are 3-1-1 and just completed a five goal comeback to beat Calgary several nights ago, which also wins the award for earning the most airtime the NHL has ever had on Sportscenter: 75 seconds.

3. New York Rangers (5-1-0, 10 pts)

After plentiful criticism during the offseason, the Rangers proved critics wrong with a fast start.

4. Philadelphia Flyers (3-1-1, 7 pts)

The opening-night road win against my Hurricanes was Emery's first game (and first shutout) back in the NHL, and he hasn't looked back yet.

5. Washington Capitals (2-2-2, 6 pts)

A great opening weekend has crumbled away, but the Caps are still among the league's best.

6. San Jose Sharks (3-2-1, 7 pts)

Dany Heatley didn't take long to settle in on the West Coast, and the Sharks are off and running for another great regular season.

7. Columbus Blue Jackets (4-1-0, 8 pts)

The Jackets also started the season with a bang, and have won four in a row after an opening-night loss.

8. Calgary Flames (4-2-1, 9 pts)

The Flames started with an impressive four-straight wins, but they've been sputtering in the past week.

9. New Jersey Devils (3-2-0, 6 pts)

A busy offseason led to two disorienting opening games, but the new-look Devils have since gotten it together.

10. Boston Bruins (2-3-0, 4 pts)

Inconsistency has plagued the Bruins helplessly so far, and the loss of Bergeron is also still an open wound. However, they still have plenty of potential to get a top-three playoff seed in whats turning out to be a pretty easy division.

11. Buffalo Sabres (3-0-1, 7 pts)

Ryan Miller has been sensational, and the Buffalo defense is currently the best in the league. It seems as if the worse the Bills get, the better the Sabres become!

12. Detroit Red Wings (2-3-0)

Sweden didn't work, Johan Franzen didn't work, and Buffalo sure didn't work.

13. Los Angeles Kings (4-1-0, 8 pts)

The Kings have looked good, really good. But you have to wonder if they have enough experience and top-level talent to keep it up.

14. Vancouver Canucks (2-3-0, 4 pts)

Just yet another top-rated team that's currently sitting below .500, and the Sedin injury also has to hurt. The Canucks need to start to group together again and overcome a sluggish opening half-month.

15. Anaheim Ducks (2-2-1, 5 pts)

There hasn't been to much special yet for the Ducks, but I think they have the players needed to make a run at the title of what may be the toughest NHL division this season.

16. Dallas Stars (1-0-3, 5 pts)

The Stars have certainly shown they can be competitive with just about anyone, and it shows in the record. However, they haven't yet shown if they know what it takes to win.

17. Ottawa Senators (3-2-0, 6 pts)

The Senators haven't been doing very well since about Christmas of 2007, but they have the skills needed to make a run at the title of the below-average Northeast division and a playoff spot.

18. Edmonton Oilers (3-1-1, 7 pts)

The Oilers have seven points in five games, not to mention a top-eight offense to compliment Khahibulin at the other end.

19. Carolina Hurricanes (2-3-0, 4 pts)

It's been a shaky, penalty-laden opening two weeks for the Hurricanes, but they still have the depth to get into the top third of the league by the end of the year.

20. Colorado Avalanche (4-1-1, 9 pts)

It's been quite a start for the Avs against a tough schedule, but I really don't think they will be able to ride this momentum for very much farther.

21. St. Louis Blues (2-2-0, 4 pts)

The Blues do better in Scandinavia than they do in St. Louis, I think.

22. Tampa Bay Lightning (2-1-2, 6 pts)

The Lightning have already suffered heartbreak, but they also have had their share of good play. Ryan Malone is poised for an excellent year, on the ice and on the fantasy scoresheet.

23. Montreal Canadiens (2-3-0, 4 pts)

After a thrilling overtime win versus Buffalo a week ago, the Habs have lost three in a row in a fashion more similar to the one seen last spring.

24. Minnesota Wild (1-3-0, 2 pts)

It hasn't clicked yet for the Wild, but trust me, I have a feeling the might make a run soon.

25. Phoenix Coyotes (3-2-0, 6 pts)

They got a sellout! For the first time ever in Phoenix! And also for the last time ever in Phoenix!

26. Atlanta Thrashers (2-1-0, 4 pts)

They haven't really seen much action yet (just three games in two weeks), but it has been a bit better than we expected.

27. Nashville Predators (2-2-0, 4 pts)

The goaltending has been exceptional, but in turn the offense has been even worse.

28. Florida Panthers (1-4-0, 2 pts)

Vokoun has a 5.00 GAA, and the Panthers are struggling. However, if he can turn that into a 1.50 GAA in the next five games, expect the Panthers to return to .500 or better. It's just how that team goes...

29. New York Islanders (0-1-3, 3 pts)

Somehow, the Islanders have managed to become competitive! But still not winners.

30. Toronto Maple Leafs (0-5-1, 1 pt)

This is what pure depress and deflation looks like.

Comments (agree or disagree?) are certainly welcome.

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