This is a question about “1.”
Given a plethora of extra game postponements due to COVID-19 — and several players and team personnel undergoing the protocol — it’s been a difficult start to the week, but the Power Rankings continue to rise. The Florida Panthers have topped our list for the second week in a row, and for the sixth time this season.
But every team, from one to 32, excels in at least one area, and we used this chance to determine each team’s “superpower” as well.
How we rank: A panel of ESPN hockey pundits, analysts, reporters, and editors rank teams against one another based on game results, injuries, and the upcoming schedule, and the results are collated to generate the list seen above.
Note: The previous rating for each team pertains to the edition from last week, which was published on December 8. The percentages of points scored are through Tuesday’s games.
1 pts 0.714 pts 0.714 pts 0.714 pts 0.714 Upcoming games include: against. LA (Dec. 16), At MIN (Dec. 18), and @ CHI (Dec. 19). (Dec. 21)
Depth is a superpower. 11 of Florida’s first 27 games were missed by Aleksander Barkov. Anthony Duclair has been in and out of the lineup during the season. How have the Panthers maintained their dominance? The breadth of the contributions. The Panthers have been limiting shoots against and Sergei Bobrovsky has been rebounding excellently. Over half of the team’s lineup has double-digit point totals, the Panthers have been limiting shots against, and Sergei Bobrovsky has been rebounding admirably. It’s fantastic.
Previously ranked at 4 points, with a percentage of 0.714. next games: vs. LA (Dec. 19), At CHI (Dec. 15), @ WPG (Dec. 17), @ PHI (Dec. 19). (Dec. 21)
Consistency is a superpower. The Washington Capitals look to be unflappable. This season, they haven’t lost consecutive games in regulation and haven’t been shut out. When one aspect of the game isn’t doing well, like as the power play recently, the penalty kill comes together to keep pucks out of the goal. Washington, D.C., runs like a well-oiled machine.
Previously ranked: 5 points, 0.722 percentile upcoming games: Dec. 16 vs. DET, Dec. 18 vs. LA, Dec. 19 vs. NSH, Dec. 20 At BOS (Dec. 21)
All-around all-stars are their superpower. For the Hurricanes, there are no obvious flaws. They are capable of completing any task. Carolina is in the top ten in goals scored, has the best goals against in the league, has a power play of over 20%, is in the top three on the penalty kill, has a star in Sebastian Aho, and is seeing Frederik Andersen’s greatest performance in years.
Previous position: 2 points, 0.667 percentile The following games are scheduled: At VAN (Dec. 18), @ SEA (Dec. 19). (Dec. 19)
Soup-er stars are a superpower. The Leafs don’t have (nor do they need) an MVP. Auston Matthews will be hanging across the D one night. William Nylander tickles the twine next. John Tavares is always a danger. And in net, Jack Campbell has been outstanding. Mitch Marner isn’t there? For Toronto, this is not an issue.
Previously ranked at #7, with a percentage of 0.696. Upcoming games include games against Buffalo (Dec. 16), Florida (Dec. 18), and Dallas (Dec. 19). (Dec. 20)
5-on-5 play is a superpower. Even at full strength, Minnesota is a difficult team to defeat. The Wild has the second-most 5-on-5 goals (68) and the third-best 5-on-5 shooting percentage through 28 games (9.7 percent ). Minnesota allowed the second fewest 5-on-5 goals in the league during its current eight-game winning run (10). When you can accomplish all of that, why go on a power play?
Previously ranked: 10 points, 0.692 percentile next games: against. TB (Dec. 18), At DET (Dec. 16), @ NSH (Dec. 16). (Dec. 20)
All-out offensive is my superpower. Colorado is a force to be reckoned with. The Avalanche have the top 5-on-5 shooting percentage (10.5 percent) in the league, so it’s no wonder that they score the most goals per game (4.32). Colorado has scored five goals or more in ten of its first 24 games, including three consecutive games with seven goals. Fire.
Previously ranked at #8 with a percentage of 0.714. Schedule: vs. OTT (Dec. 16), At COL (Dec. 18), @ VGK (Dec. 19). (Dec. 21)
Resilience is a superpower. How many teams could be given the same hand as Tampa Bay and yet succeed? The injuries (Point! Kucherov!) Cernak! Cirelli! The Lightning have offered no excuses as the Bogosian!) have piled up. There’s no question the Lightning will bounce back despite a huge shutout defeat in Ottawa and issues on the penalty kill. As is customary.
Previous position: 11; percentage: 0.617; previous ranking: 11; previous ranking: 11; previous ranking: 11; previous ranking: Upcoming games include games against SEA (Dec. 15), ARI (Dec. 17), EDM (Dec. 20), and CGY (Dec. 21). (Dec. 21)
Special teams are a superpower. After the “Michigan” goal, you might claim Trevor Zegras has true abilities, but I digress. On special teams, the Ducks have been among the best in the NHL. Anaheim was the only club in the top five in both the power play (25.3 percent) and penalty kill (25.3 percent) through 30 games (86.7 percent ). This is another another example of the Ducks exceeding all expectations this season.
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Previously ranked at 6 points, with a percentage of 0.696. Upcoming games: vs. VGK (Dec. 15), Vs ARI (Dec. 15). (Dec. 17)
Shesterkin has a superpower. Yes, Igor Shesterkin was sidelined earlier this month due to a lower-body issue. Yes, the Rangers were victorious without him. However, Shesterkin’s super status is unaffected by two wins against the Blackhawks and one over Buffalo. Plus, Shesterkin is skating again while he recovers from his injuries.
Previous position: 3 points, 0.643 percentile next games: against. CBJ (Dec. 18), vs. ANA (Dec. 19). (Dec. 21)
Stinginess is a superpower. Darryl Sutter’s team was putting up a fight against everyone when the season was halted due to COVID-19. The Flames had allowed the fewest 5-on-5 goals (37), were 31st in goals against per game (2.21), and fourth in shots against per game after 28 games (29.3). You’re going to have a hard time getting through it.
Previously ranked at 18 points, with a percentage of 0.625. against. COL (Dec. 16), At CHI (Dec. 17), @ CAR (Dec. 19), vs. WPG (Dec. 20). (Dec. 21)
Overachievement is a superpower. Who saw the Predators as a major Central Division contender when they were first drafted? There aren’t many hands in the air. Thanks to strong beginnings by Matt Duchene, Mikael Granlund, and Juuse Saros, Nashville has already outperformed expectations. It’s also helped to have a top-10 power play and be in the top five in shots against. The Predators are currently on a five-game winning run.
Previous position: 17 0.638 percentile points Upcoming games include: against. DAL (Dec. 17), At WPG (Dec. 19), and @ OTT (Dec. 20). (Dec. 21)
Superpower: The ability to make a comeback. It’s not every team that improves as the season progresses, but St. Louis is one of them. When behind after the first period, the Blues are the best team in the NHL (.625 winning % through 28 games), and they’re in the top third of the league when trailing after 40 minutes. The Blues truly shine in the second session, outscoring their opponents 35-22. St. Louis remains in the game to the very end.
Previously ranked at 13 points, with a percentage of 0.625. Upcoming games include: against. BUF (Dec. 17), At NJ (Dec. 19), and vs. NJ (Dec. 20). (Dec. 21)
Jarry-like goaltending is his superpower. Forget about the guys that have been absent from the Pittsburgh Steelers’ lineup. Tristan Jarry has been the team’s MVP since he became available. While the Penguins’ roster has changed throughout the years, Jarry has stayed consistent and put up outstanding stats in 21 starts (12-5-4, .934 save percentage, 1.92 goals-against average).
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Previous position: 15 points, 0.607 percentile next games: vs. TB (Dec. 16), At NJ (Dec. 17), @ NYR (Dec. 17), @ NYI (Dec. 19). (Dec. 21)
Adaptability is a superpower. Curveballs are nothing to the Golden Knights. They’ve seen everything. COVID-19 difficulties, significant player injuries (particularly, Max Pacioretty, Mark Stone, and William Karlsson), salary cap snafus, and a poor start had pundits writing Vegas off by October. The Golden Knights, who are still in the postseason hunt, are unconcerned.
Previously ranked at 14 points, with a percentage of 0.600. next games: against. CAR (Dec. 16), vs. NYI (Dec. 18), vs. MTL (Dec. 18), vs. OTT (Dec. 19). (Dec. 21)
Staying alive is a superpower. Last week, Boston re-entered the postseason race for the first time this season by doing what it does best: keep pushing ahead no matter what. Due to COVID-19, the Bruins were without coach Bruce Cassidy, Jake DeBrusk’s trade request has been distracting, trusted forwards have fizzled, and the team’s goaltending has been questionable at times. Despite this, Boston manages to find a way to get through it all.
Previously ranked at 9 points, with a percentage of 0.593. next games: Dec. 16 vs. CBJ, Dec. 18 At SEA, Dec. 19 vs. ANA (Dec. 20)
One-two punch is a superpower. The Oilers haven’t had a good run recently. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl haven’t had a very good December. The fact that those guys anchor Edmonton’s top six is what propels the club forward. It distinguishes them. And there’s plenty of time for a change.
Previously ranked at 12 points, with a percentage of 0.538. Schedule: @ STL (Dec. 17), against. CHI (Dec. 18), vs. MIN (Dec. 19). (Dec. 20)
Top tandem is a superpower. The Stars aren’t known for their offensive prowess. When Braden Holtby and Jake Oettinger share the goaltending duties, that’s less of an issue. In his first six starts this season, Oettinger was 5-1-0 with a.951 save percentage, while Holtby had a.923 save percentage through 14 games. The Stars will soar if they can move out of the bottom third in scoring.
Previously ranked at 16 points, with a percentage of 0.554. Upcoming games include: against. WSH (Dec. 17), vs. STL (Dec. 19), and At NSH (Dec. 20). (Dec. 21)
Superpower: Extraordinary exertion. Winnipeg’s main players put forth a lot of effort. When the Jets face hardship, their steadiness keeps them afloat. Kyle Connor (32 points in 27 games) has only gone without a point in multiple games once. Pierre-Luc Dubois has already surpassed his point totals from the previous season. Nikolaj Ehlers is now stepping up as well. Those efforts, as well as those of Mark Scheifele, will be critical if Winnipeg is to survive Blake Wheeler’s latest setback.
Previously ranked at 23 points, with a percentage of 0.534. upcoming matchup: VAN vs. (Dec. 16, Dec. 21)
Killer instinct is a superpower. With the exception of one area, the Sharks’ season has been up and down. Whatever the Sharks’ problems are, they always rely on their special teams to keep them going. The Sharks had only allowed multiple power-play goals against them once in the first 28 games of the season, had given up the second fewest man-advantage goals overall (10) and had been in the top five on the kill throughout.
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Previously ranked: 21 points, 0.537 percentile Schedule: At EDM (Dec. 16), @ CGY (Dec. 18), @ BUF (Dec. 19). (Dec. 20)
Cooking at home is a superpower. For Columbus, home is really where the heart is. Through 26 games at Nationwide Arena, the Blue Jackets had a 9-3-1 record, outscoring opponents 47-33.
Previously ranked: 20 points, 0.537 percentile next games: Dec. 16 vs. FLA, Dec. 18 vs. CAR, Dec. 19 vs. WSH (Dec. 19)
Veteran maneuvers are a superpower. Anze Kopitar is a Serbian footballer. Drew Doughty is a character in the film Drew Doughty. Quick, Jonathan. That is all there is to it. That concludes the list. Los Angeles can look fantastic when those three are the Kings’ greatest players, which they have been (when healthy) this season. And everyone else is aware that they should follow their example.
Previously ranked at 27 points with a percentage of 0.467. upcoming schedule: against. TOR (Dec. 18), vs. ARI (Dec. 19), @ SJ (Dec. 16), vs. TOR (Dec. 18), vs. ARI (Dec. 19), @ SJ (Dec. 21)
“There it is, Bruce,” says the superpower. Ignore everything that transpired in Vancouver before to Bruce Boudreau’s arrival (just for a second). The Canucks took to their new coach well, going 4-0-0 with Boudreau at the helm. Things are looking good for the time being.
Previous position: 19 points, 0.534 percentile Schedule: @ CAR (Dec. 16), against. NJ (Dec. 18), vs. COL (Dec. 19). (Dec. 20)
Rising stars are a superpower. The Red Wings have had an odd month, with a five-game winning run sandwiched by sets of consecutive defeats. Those five games, though, served as a microcosm of Detroit’s season, highlighting the team’s actual strength: youthful talent. Lucas Raymond scored three goals, Moritz Seider scored four, and Dylan Larkin scored five. The more revenue Detroit receives from them, the better.
Previously ranked at 22 points, with a percentage of 0.463. vs. VGK (Dec. 16), At DET (Dec. 18), vs. PIT (Dec. 19), @ PIT (Dec. 20). (Dec. 21)
Threat-scoring is a superpower. New Jersey may be in the middle of the pack in terms of scoring, but it boasts a slew of great shooters. Jesper Bratt is enjoying a breakout season, Andreas Johnsson is playing some of his finest hockey of his career, and Dawson Mercer’s excellent rookie season has gotten a lot of notice. The Devils are entertaining to watch when they’re all producing.
Previously ranked: 25 points, 0.481 percentile upcoming schedule: against. OTT (Dec. 18), vs. WSH (Dec. 16), vs. MTL (Dec. 16). (Dec. 21)
Carter Hart has a superpower. Hart doesn’t get much assistance from the Flyers, but he manages to keep his head above water. Despite the fact that Philadelphia has the most shots against in the NHL, Hart still has a respectable. Through 17 starts, he has a 913 save percentage and a 2.91 goals-against average. In summary, Hart gives Philadelphia a shot almost every night, which is fantastic.
Previous position: 26 0.396 percentile points next games: Dec. 16 vs. BOS, Dec. 19 vs. VGK, Dec. 20 vs. MTL (Dec. 20)
Leadership pedigrees are a superpower. Is it too late for the Islanders to rebound from a 7-11-5 start (including an 11-game losing streak) after 23 games? Maybe. And since it has Barry Trotz and Lou Lamoriello, you can only give New York the benefit of the doubt. They are the only coach-GM duo capable of leading a club through this quagmire.
Previously ranked: 24 points, 0.407 percentile vs. WSH (Dec. 15), against. NSH (Dec. 17), At DAL (Dec. 18), vs. FLA (Dec. 19). (Dec. 21)
Superpower: I’ve seen everything. The Blackhawks have seen it all at this point, there’s no other way to phrase it. Forget about the off-ice sexual assault probe and accompanying front-office purging. Chicago’s had it everything, from beginning 1-9-1 under Jeremy Colliton to winning seven of their next ten under Derek King, from overachievers to underachievers. And when you’ve already been through a lot together, it may help a dressing room come together like nothing else.
Previously ranked at 28 points, with a percentage of 0.411 The team’s next schedule includes games against ANA (Dec. 15), EDM (Dec. 18), TOR (Dec. 19), and ARI (Dec. 20). (Dec. 21)
Creating (franchise) history is a superpower. The Kraken is doing everything for the first time. The highs and lows of an expansion team’s inaugural season are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Every game, every record, is a milestone city that only this set of players will be able to experience. This kind of enthusiasm may help a team’s roster to grow.
Previous position: 31 0.393 percentile points next games: vs. CBJ (Dec. 16), At MIN (Dec. 17), @ PIT (Dec. 18). (Dec. 20)
Superpower: There are no excuses. The Sabres’ struggles might be attributed to the trade of Jack Eichel or Craig Anderson’s injury. Buffalo, on the other hand, has attempted to maintain an optimistic outlook. Although the results haven’t been consistent recently, Kyle Okposo and Tage Thompson have been instrumental in propelling Buffalo forward.
Previously ranked at 29 points with a percentage of 0.365. upcoming games: vs. BOS (Dec. 19), vs. STL (Dec. 16), @ TB (Dec. 18), @ PHI (Dec. 18), @ TB (Dec. 16), @ PHI (Dec. 18), @ PHI (Dec. 18), @ PHI (Dec. 18), @ PHI (De (Dec. 21)
The ability to rattle the cage is a superpower. Penalties are a common occurrence for the Senators (averaging over four per game). They’re obnoxious in this sense. Ottawa is looking to harness its inner Brady Tkachuk and get under opponents’ skin. It’s also a squad that strives to play aggressively. Ottawa has beaten elite teams like Tampa Bay and Carolina when it does this (and gets superb goaltending, of course).
Previously ranked at 30 points, with a percentage of 0.250. Upcoming games include: against. PHI (Dec. 16), vs. BOS (Dec. 18), and At NYI (Dec. 19). (Dec. 20)
Carey Price has a superpower. Price, the Habs’ goalkeeper, is expected to return at some time, but will he be needed? Someone should get the guy a cape.
Previously ranked at 32 points, with a percentage of 0.222. vs. NYR (Dec. 15), At ANA (Dec. 17), @ VAN (Dec. 19), @ SEA (Dec. 20). (Dec. 21)
Staying in Arizona is a superpower. Gary Bettman’s decision to move the Coyotes out of Arizona will not be swayed by unpaid taxes or the loss of venues. At least for the time being.