NHL Power Rankings: Where every team stands vs. preseason expectations

NHL Power Rankings: Where every team stands vs. preseason expectations

After a month of the 2022-23 NHL season, some teams are clearly surpassing preseason expectations while others have stumbled badly at the start.

In this week’s power rankings, we take a look at the preseason point total over/unders established by Caesars Sportsbook, and how far teams are beyond or below that mark based on their point projections.

How we rank: A panel of ESPN hockey commentators, analysts, reporters and editors rates teams against one another — taking into account game results, injuries and upcoming schedule — and those results are tabulated to produce the list featured here.

Note: Previous ranking for each team refers to the previous edition,

This season will include 103 exclusive regular-season games across ESPN, ESPN+, Hulu and ABC. More than 1,000 out-of-market games will be available to ESPN+ subscribers via NHL Power Play on ESPN+.
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Previous ranking: 7
Preseason O/U: 103.5
Points pace: 95
Next seven days: @ WSH (Nov. 11), vs. WSH (Nov. 13), vs. DAL (Nov. 15), vs. CGY (Nov. 17

The Bolts have played to a 100-point pace for the past five seasons, but some injuries and an average start for Andrei Vasilevskiy have them missing their standings target for now.

Previous ranking: 14
Preseason O/U: 107.5
Points pace: 100
Next seven days: vs. PIT (Nov. 11), vs. VAN (Nov. 12), @ PIT (Nov. 15), vs. NJ (Nov. 17)

Depending on the week, the Leafs are either a disaster that should cost everyone their jobs or a talented team that’s finally putting it together in the regular season, so those firings will have to wait until after the first round of the playoffs.

Previous ranking: 18
Preseason O/U: 73.5
Points pace: 101
Next seven days: vs. OTT (Nov. 12), vs. DAL (Nov. 13), @ CBJ (Nov. 15), @ BOS (Nov. 17)

Few teams are defying expectations like the Flyers have so far. Much of that credit goes to the goaltending of Carter Hart, whose numbers are better than what you’d expect based on the play of the team in front of him.

Previous ranking: 16
Preseason O/U: 94
Points pace: 97
Next seven days: vs. DET (Nov. 12), @ CGY (Nov. 14), @ EDM (Nov. 16)

The Kings get the Dennis Green memorial “They were who we thought they were!” award in the power rankings, as they are just three points off their preseason prediction after 16 games.

Previous ranking: 6
Preseason O/U: 101
Points pace: 93
Next seven days: @ NSH (Nov. 12), vs. ARI (Nov. 13), @ SEA (Nov. 17)

The Rangers are stronger analytically yet worse offensively than they were last season, which is a bit of a conundrum.

Previous ranking: 22
Preseason O/U: 83.5
Points pace: 100
Next seven days: @ LA (Nov. 12), @ ANA (Nov. 15), @ SJ (Nov. 17)

When GM Steve Yzerman made several veteran additions in the offseason, many assumed he believed the Red Wings were ready to turn the corner. Their point pace would indicate it’s less of a turn and more like a Mario Kart power glide.

Previous ranking: 5
Preseason O/U: 103.5
Points pace: 87
Next seven days: @ FLA (Nov. 12), vs. LA (Nov. 16)

Edmonton was already off its preseason points expectations when Evander Kane suffered that unfortunate skate cut injury to his wrist that will keep the top-line winger out for at least three months.

Previous ranking: 4
Preseason O/U: 103
Points pace: 76
Next seven days: vs. WPG (Nov. 12), vs. LA (Nov. 14), @ TB (Nov. 17)

Nazem Kadri has been great, Jonathan Huberdeau has been OK, but Jacob Markstrom has been below average, with a quality starts percentage of .200.

Previous ranking: 12
Preseason O/U: 79
Points pace: 82
Next seven days: vs. BOS (Nov. 12), vs. VAN (Nov. 15), @ OTT (Nov. 16)

The Sabres are running ahead of expectations but still have to shed the label as the NHL’s “start fast, fade quickly” team.

Previous ranking: 20
Preseason O/U: 102.5
Points pace: 82
Next seven days: @ SEA (Nov. 11), vs. SJ (Nov. 13), @ NSH (Nov. 15), vs. PIT (Nov. 17)

The Wild have yet to find their groove offensively, averaging 2.92 goals per game after hitting 3.72 goals per game last season. How much offense did Kevin Fiala take with him?

Previous ranking: 15
Preseason O/U: 100.5
Points pace: 76
Next seven days: @ TOR (Nov. 11), @ MTL (Nov. 12), vs. TOR (Nov. 15), @ MIN (Nov. 17)

The Penguins snapped their seven-game winless streak, but it’s a long climb back to their projected preseason point total.

Previous ranking: 17
Preseason O/U: 96.5
Points pace: 77
Next seven days: vs. TB (Nov. 11), @ TB (Nov. 13), @ FLA (Nov. 15), @ STL (Nov. 17)

The Capitals are nearly 20 points off their preseason total thanks to a slew of significant names — Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson, T.J. Oshie, Tom Wilson and Connor Brown — missing significant time.

Previous ranking: 24
Preseason O/U: 71.5
Points pace: 88
Next seven days: vs. PIT (Nov. 12), vs. NJ (Nov. 15), @ CBJ (Nov. 17)

Thanks to head coach Marty St. Louis and an offensively dominant top line, the Canadiens are blowing past their standings projections.

Previous ranking: 26
Preseason O/U: 65.5
Points pace: 82
Next seven days: @ ANA (Nov. 12), vs. CAR (Nov. 14), vs. STL (Nov. 16)

Based on preseason expectations — and those expectations were that the Blackhawks would be in the tank for Connor Bedard — Chicago is one of the league’s biggest surprises. First-year coach Luke Richardson has the Blackhawks playing hard, competitive games even in defeat.

Previous ranking: 25
Preseason O/U: 98.5
Points pace: 64
Next seven days: vs. NYR (Nov. 12), vs. MIN (Nov. 15), vs. NYI (Nov. 17)

The early-season struggles of Juuse Saros (.892 save percentage through 10 games) are one factor behind the Predators’ stumble out of the gate.

Previous ranking: 29
Preseason O/U: 92.5
Points pace: 64
Next seven days: @ TOR (Nov. 12), @ BOS (Nov. 13), @ BUF (Nov. 15)

Amid lackluster play and front-office dysfunction, the Canucks are around 29 points off their expected total from the preseason.

Previous ranking: 28
Preseason O/U: 73
Points pace: 49
Next seven days: @ DAL (Nov. 11), @ MIN (Nov. 13), @ VGK (Nov. 15), vs. DET (Nov. 17)

Despite Erik Karlsson‘s best efforts, the Sharks are running more than 20 points off their extremely modest preseason expectations.

Previous ranking: 32
Preseason O/U: 63.5
Points pace: 82
Next seven days: @ NJ (Nov. 12), @ NYR (Nov. 13), @ VGK (Nov. 17)

Doesn’t it feel like the Coyotes should be even more than 19 points better than their preseason total? Or is that just what happens when a team wins in Toronto?

Previous ranking: 23
Preseason O/U: 84.5
Points pace: 57
Next seven days: @ PHI (Nov. 12), vs. NYI (Nov. 14), vs. BUF (Nov. 16)

Many NHL executives and media pundits were proclaiming “watch out for Ottawa” before the season. We don’t think they meant “… because the Senators are going to fall woefully short of their point total projections,” but here we are.

Previous ranking: 27
Preseason O/U: 94.5
Points pace: 55
Next seven days: @ VGK (Nov. 12), @ COL (Nov. 14), @ CHI (Nov. 16), vs. WSH (Nov. 17)

The Blues are playing like a team that has lost its identity, lost its swagger and perhaps most of all lost its goal-scoring prowess, owning the league’s worst offense. They’re currently the NHL team missing the mark by the greatest point margin.

Previous ranking: 30
Preseason O/U: 81.5
Points pace: 50
Next seven days: @ NYI (Nov. 12), vs. PHI (Nov. 15), vs. MTL (Nov. 17)

The Jackets have badly missed even the modest expectations they earned after signing Johnny Gaudreau in the offseason. Being 31st in offense and 32nd in defense will do that to a team.

Previous ranking: 31
Preseason O/U: 80
Points pace: 53
Next seven days: vs. CHI (Nov. 12), vs. DET (Nov. 15), @ WPG (Nov. 17)

The Ducks aren’t coming close to their preseason total at the moment, but what they lack in success in the standings they make up with fun, fun and more fun on the ice. We’ll also take “losing fun” over “losing boring” any day.