The NHL 2015-2016 season is already 1 month old and the ranking is not what most people expected. Beside a few teams that are always up there, it was hard to predict who would be where at this point of the season. Here is the current top 5 of the NHL:
1 – Montreal Canadiens (25pts) 12-2-1 +28
Montreal started the season with 9 consecutive wins before losing to Vancouver and Edmonton in a western Canadian trip. Even if they did lose Carey Price during that trip, the backup goalie Mike Condon, took care of business and the team went back winning instantly. Condon is currently leading the NHL goalies with a 1.50 GAA and is 2nd behind Lundqvist (.943) for save percentage with .941, pretty impressive from this 25years old at his first NHL season.
But the success of the team does not stop there. P.K Subban is leading the NHL in the plus/minus with +11 and leading defensemen with 14 points. Tomas Plekanec who recently signed a contract extension with Montreal is 8th in the NHL with 14 points and 4th with +9. Max Pacioretty is 10th with 7 goals scored and 4th with +9. Dale Weise is tied 3rd in the NHL with 8 goals scored (just wow). Andrei Markov is tied 2nd in defensemen with 13 points and 4th all players combined with +9. The list goes on and on. Even 4th liner Torrey Mitchell is pitching in with 5 goals 4 assists in 15 games.
That team is showing game after game, why they are sitting on top of the NHL. Their success is not only because of Carey Price (which have been proven since his injury) but because of every players forming that squad. They have 4 very good lines that can all score goals in important and key moments. They have a very solid top4 and they have not only the best goalie of the NHL, but also the best 2nd. Don’t expect them to stop dominating.
2 – Dallas Stars (20pts) 10-3-0 +9
The Dallas Stars improved their team a lot during the off-season. While adding Patrick Sharp to the first line, Johnny Oduya to their defensemen depth and Antti Niemi as their starting goalie, they kept their core intact and injury free. They have the second best offensive team in the NHL (behind Montreal Canadiens) lead with the 2014-2015 Art Ross trophy winner, Jamie Benn, who is currently leading the NHL with 20points (tied with his line partner Tyler Seguin) and also leading the NHL with 10 goals. Defenseman John Klingberg is 2nd with 13points, just behind P.K Subban (14). Don’t expect this team to stop scoring goals anytime soon as they have the best offensive duo of the league. How to beat them? Score more goals.
3 – St.Louis Blues (19pts) 9-3-1 +5
That team is getting used to be sitting on top of the NHL and this year shouldn’t be any different. While Tarasenko is rising as a top NHL forward, his linemates are following him closely. Alex Steen and Paul Statsny (broken foot since oct 16th) are also owning offensively and helping greatly this solid overall team to produce game after game. The main strength of this team is that they are very well balanced. Their major weakness is that they are not successful when the playoffs start.
4 – Washington Capitals (18pts) 9-3-0 +11
Washington Capitals added the best available forwards to complete their already dominating top6. With the help of T.J Oshie and Justin Williams, Ovechkin, Backstrom, Kuznetsov and Johansson are now dangerous in every situation. It also allows the coaching staff to play around those 6 forwards to be better overall and be more balanced than they used to be.
Their starting goalie, Braden Holtby is tied 1st in the NHL with 7 wins. Even if they had a weird start (Backstrom missed first 3 games because of injury) and Ovechkin got benched for missing a practice, this team is back to where they belong.
5 – New York Rangers (18pts) 8-2-2 +13
New York Rangers seem to be always up there, season after season. With Henrik Lundqvist dominating the NHL with a .943 GAA and the current 2nd best defense of the league (allowed 23 goals in 12 games) this team will always be hard to beat. Their defensive squad is among the best of the leagues (Yandle, Staal, McDonagh, Girardi, Klein and Boyle). With a very young and talented 3rd line (Lindberg-Hayes-Stalberg) their offensive depth is no more a weakness for the New York Rangers.