Weekly Power Rankings: Where the NHL teams stand as training camp opens
Your early, early, early, early look at the 2022-23 NHL season.
With NHL Training Camps opening this week we use that as an opportunity to look at where every NHL team stands entering camp.
Yes it is very early. Yes a lot of things will change when the games start. You have to start somewhere though.
1. Colorado Avalanche. Losing Nazem Kadri is a big loss, but they kept Valeri Nichushkin and have the depth to more than make up for his departure in free agency. The defense is comically loaded with stars and their top core players are as dominant as anybody else in the league. The big question will be if Alexandar Georgiev can be the No. 1 goalie. Goalies have done well in Colorado the past few years given the defense and offensive support in front of them, and I actually have high expectations for Georgiev to do well here.
2. Carolina Hurricanes. I am still very high on this team, and while they did lose some key players in Vincent Trocheck and Nino Niederreiter I do think there is room for some potentially significant improvement from within as it relates to Andrei Svechnikov, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, and Martin Necas. They still have the potential to really break out. Max Pacioretty will be a significant addition late in the season after he recovers from his offseason injury, and they still have two very capable starting goalies. Great team.
3. Tampa Bay Lightning. Some more big salary cap losses this offseason with Ondrej Palat leaving via free agency and Ryan McDonagh being traded, but they still have a core of superstars locked in place and the best goalie in hockey. I do not know if they have a fourth straight Stanley Cup Final run in them, but they are going to be a fierce contender again.
4. Calgary Flames. Part of me thinks it is insane to think they can actually be better after losing Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk in the same offseason, but they still have an outstanding goalie, a strong defense, and still added some impact players in the offseason. The Tkachuk trade brought them another superstar in Jonathan Huberdeau (who is now actually signed long-term), a top-four defenseman to add to that already strong defense, and then they signed Kadri to bolster their center depth. Add in a strong defensive coach and this team can still be a contender. They came out of a tough offseason as strong as they possibly could have.
5. Florida Panthers. Still a really good team, especially with Tkachuk added to the mix, but I also worry about how much they lost this offseason. Is Tkachuk enough to balance out the loss of Huberdeau, Weegar, Claude Giroux, and the early season absence of Anthony Duclair? Not sure about that.
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