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Super 16

Super 16: Blackhawks move to top of rankings

Maple Leafs, Blues surge to Nos. 2, 3 in NHL.com poll

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

Taking into consideration the obvious caveat that that the season is 8 days old, the Chicago Blackhawks have at least begun to put to rest any questions about their ability to stay an elite team in the NHL.

The Blackhawks have gotten off to a strong start in all phases of the game and have jumped ahead of the pack as the No. 1 team in NHL.com's Super 16 power rankings, compiled by 12 staff members who participated in the rankings this week.

Each staff member put together his or her own version of what they think the Super 16 should look like. Those rankings were submitted and a point total was assigned to each ranking.

The team picked first was given 16 points, second got 15, third got 14 and so on down to the team picked 16th, which got one point.

The Blackhawks were ranked No. 1 by four staff members, No. 2 by three and No. 3 by two. They edged the Toronto Maple Leafs, who received two No. 1 votes and four No. 2 votes.

The St. Louis Blues, who fell two points short of making the preseason Super 16, which was published Oct. 4, finished at No. 3 this week after being ranked first by three staff members and No. 2 by another three.

As expected considering how early it is, opinions varied more than usual among the participants. Twenty-seven of the 31 teams received at least two points. The only teams that weren't ranked by anybody were the Arizona Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres, San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks.

Check out how the rankings shook out once the math was finished, and be sure stay for the information:

 

1. Chicago Blackhawks (3-0-1)

Total points: 172
Preseason rank: No. 7

Hit: The Blackhawks' top line of Jonathan Toews (two goals, three assists), Brandon Saad (five goals, two assists) and Richard Panik (three goals, three assists) has combined for 18 points. Each player has at least one point in all four games.

Miss: Center Nick Schmaltz, who had three points (two goals, one assist) in the first two games, has missed the past two games with an upper-body injury. He might return against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday.

Video: NHL tonight on Chicago's lineup combinations

 

2. Toronto Maple Leafs (3-1-0)

Total points: 166
Preseason rank: No. 10

Hit: You can't argue with the production and how the Maple Leafs have spread their scoring out. Nineteen of the 20 skaters who have played for Toronto this season have at least one point. Center Eric Fehr has been shut out in his two games.

Miss: One thing the Maple Leafs must watch out for is the way they allow teams to surge against them and score goals in bunches. It's a defensive structure issue, a risk/reward issue, that they'll likely be ironing out as the season goes along.

 

3. St. Louis Blues (4-0-0)

Total points: 161
Preseason rank: Unranked

Hit: Jaden Schwartz has seven points (two goals, five assists) on a four-game point streak to begin the season.

Miss: The Blues are allowing 37.0 shots on goal per game. They are generating 28.3.

Video: DAL@STL: Schwartz finishes great pass from Jaskin

 

4. Tampa Bay Lightning (2-1-0)

Total points: 153
Preseason rank: No. 2

Hit: The Lightning's top line of Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Vladislav Namestnikov has picked up where it left off in November, when Stamkos sustained a season-ending knee injury. The line has combined for 13 points, including three goals from Kucherov and five assists from Stamkos.

Miss: Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy hasn't gotten off to the greatest of starts. He has a 3.67 goals-against average and .900 save percentage through three games. The Lightning have allowed at least three goals each of their first three games.

 

5. Washington Capitals (2-1-1)

Total points: 148
Preseason rank: No. 9

Hit: So far, defensemen Dmitry Orlov, Matt Niskanen and John Carlson look comfortable playing 25 or more minutes per game. That's a good sign for a defense group that isn't that deep.

Miss: Something to be mindful of is how many road games the Capitals have coming up. They play 10 of their next 16 games away from Capital One Arena, including seven of their next 10.

 

6. Pittsburgh Penguins (2-1-1)

Total points: 139
Preseason rank: No. 1

Hit: Defenseman Kris Letang has not looked any worse for the wear in his return from his six-month recovery following neck surgery. He's playing his normal minutes and says he feels good doing so.

Miss: Defenseman Ian Cole is considered out indefinitely after getting hit in the face by a shot in a 4-0 win against the Nashville Predators on Saturday and requiring emergency dental work. He has not been ruled out from playing against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday.

 

7. Columbus Blue Jackets (2-1-0)

Total points: 131
Preseason rank: No. 3

Hit: Sergei Bobrovsky has a 0.48 GAA and .985 save percentage after allowing one goal on 67 shots in two starts. Rookie forward Sonny Milano has four goals in three games, including in overtime for a 2-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday.

Miss: Backup goalie Joonas Korpisalo didn't fare too well in his first start, allowing five goals on 29 shots in a 5-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.

Video: Sonny Milano talks about his hot start to the season

 

8. Calgary Flames (3-1-0)

Total points: 81
Preseason rank: No. 11

Hit: Johnny Gaudreau has gotten off to a hot start, and the defense pair of TJ Brodie and Travis Hamonic looks like a keeper.

Miss: The Flames have already had a few games when they were outshot badly and struggled to keep possession of the puck when they did have it. It's not a trend yet, but it's something to watch.

 

9. Edmonton Oilers (1-2-0)

Total points: 70
Preseason rank: No. 5

Hit: Defenseman Oscar Klefbom hasn't scored yet, but he's getting his shot through from the point. He has 13 shots on goal in three games (4.33 per game). He had 201 shots in 82 games last season (2.45 per game).

Miss: The Oilers have been guilty of too many defensive breakdowns the past two games, including several in a 5-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Monday.

 

10. Los Angeles Kings (2-0-1)

Total points: 69
Preseason rank: Unranked

Hit: Dustin Brown has played well and he's getting a lot of minutes, early signs of a rebound season by a potentially rejuvenated player. The 32-year-old had two goals and an assist in 18:12 in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Flames on Wednesday.

Miss: Injured defenseman Alec Martinez (lower body) is skating on his own and close to returning to practice, but he has missed the first three games and is expected to miss more.

 

11. Vegas Golden Knights (3-0-0)

Total points: 53
Preseason rank: Unranked

Hit: The Golden Knights are the first team in NHL history to win its first three games. James Neal has five goals, including the winner in all three games.

Miss: Nothing yet.

Video: Golden Knights erupt for four early goals

 

12. Nashville Predators (1-2-0)

Total points: 47
Preseason rank: No. 4

Hit: The Predators are 5-for-16 on the power play, including 3-for-4 in their come-from-behind 6-5 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday.

Miss: They have allowed 13 goals in three games, including at least four in each game.

 

13. New Jersey Devils (3-0-0)

Total points: 45
Preseason rank: Unranked

Hit: The Devils have shown a lot of speed early in the season, a major change from the past few seasons, when they were considered one of the slower teams in the League. Rookie forward Jesper Bratt has been a pleasant surprise. He has six points (three goals, three assists) after he had an assist in a 6-3 win at the Maple Leafs on Wednesday.

Miss: Forward Drew Stafford has missed the past two games with a lower-body injury sustained in a season-opening 4-1 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.

Video: NJD@BUF: Bratt finishes Henrique's feed on two-on-one

 

14. Dallas Stars (1-2-0)

Total points: 39
Preseason rank: No. 8

Hit: Forward Tyler Seguin has scored two goals and has 24 shots on goal, an average of eight per game.

Miss: Is backup goaltending going to be an issue all season? Kari Lehtonen has allowed six goals on 26 shots in two games, including four on 21 in a 4-2 loss to the Blues on Saturday.

 

15. Anaheim Ducks (2-1-1)

Total points: 38
Preseason rank: No. 6

Hit: Corey Perry already has some goals, a good sign for the former 50-goal scorer, whose production dropped significantly last season. Perry had 19 goals in 82 games in 2016-17 after he averaged 39.4 goals per season each of the previous five full NHL seasons.

Miss: The Ducks don't seem as difficult to play against without center Ryan Kesler (hip surgery) in the lineup. That's not a surprise, but it's a reality they're going to have to deal with until at least late December.

Video: ARI@ANA: Perry fires a laser shot past Domingue

 

16. Carolina Hurricanes (1-0-1)

Total points: 22
Preseason rank: Unranked

Hit: Although it's been only two games, it looks good for the Hurricanes that forwards Victor Rask, Elias Lindholm and Sebastian Aho each has two points. Carolina needs those three players, plus Teuvo Teravainen, to build on their production from last season.

Miss: The Hurricanes play three games in the first 13 days of the NHL season, making it difficult for them to find an early-season rhythm. They play seven games in a span of 13 days from Oct. 17-29.

 

Dropped out from preseason Super 16: Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, Minnesota Wild, San Jose Sharks, Ottawa Senators

 

Others receiving points: Ottawa Senators, 20; Colorado Avalanche, 17; Philadelphia Flyers, 15; Detroit Red Wings, 13; New York Islanders, 13; Minnesota Wild, 9; New York Rangers, 8; Winnipeg Jets, 5; Boston Bruins, 4; Montreal Canadiens, 3; Florida Panthers, 2

 

HERE'S HOW WE RANKED 'EM

AMALIE BENJAMIN

1. Chicago Blackhawks; 2. Washington Capitals; 3. Pittsburgh Penguins; 4. Tampa Bay Lightning; 5. Toronto Maple Leafs; 6. Nashville Predators; 7. Edmonton Oilers; 8. St. Louis Blues; 9. Columbus Blue Jackets; 10. Minnesota Wild; 11. Dallas Stars; 12. Calgary Flames; 13. New York Rangers; 14. Montreal Canadiens; 15. Ottawa Senators; 16. Vegas Golden Knights

TIM CAMPBELL

1. Chicago Blackhawks; 2. St. Louis Blues; 3. Tampa Bay Lightning; 4. Toronto Maple Leafs; 5. Calgary Flames; 6. Los Angeles Kings; 7. Washington Capitals; 8. Columbus Blue Jackets; 9. Pittsburgh Penguins; 10. Ottawa Senators; 11. Colorado Avalanche; 12. New Jersey Devils; 13. Philadelphia Flyers; 14. Detroit Red Wings; 15. Boston Bruins; 16. Carolina Hurricanes

BRIAN COMPTON

1. Toronto Maple Leafs; 2. Chicago Blackhawks; 3. St. Louis Blues; 4. Washington Capitals; 5. Columbus Blue Jackets; 6. Vegas Golden Knights; 7. Los Angeles Kings; 8. Tampa Bay Lightning; 9. Calgary Flames; 10. New Jersey Devils; 11. Colorado Avalanche; 12. Detroit Red Wings; 13. Pittsburgh Penguins; 14. Carolina Hurricanes; 15. Florida Panthers; 16. New York Islanders

LISA DILLMAN

1. Toronto Maple Leafs; 2. St. Louis Blues; 3. Tampa Bay Lightning; 4. Washington Capitals; 5. Columbus Blue Jackets; 6. Chicago Blackhawks; 7. Pittsburgh Penguins; 8. Calgary Flames; 9. Carolina Hurricanes; 10. Anaheim Ducks; 11. Los Angeles Kings; 12. Edmonton Oilers; 13. New York Rangers; 14. Nashville Predators; 15. Vegas Golden Knights; 16. New Jersey Devils

TOM GULITTI

1. Pittsburgh Penguins; 2. Toronto Maple Leafs; 3. Chicago Blackhawks; 4. Tampa Bay Lightning; 5. Columbus Blue Jackets; 6. Washington Capitals; 7. St. Louis Blues; 8. Nashville Predators; 9. Anaheim Ducks; 10. Edmonton Oilers; 11. Calgary Flames; 12. Dallas Stars; 13. New York Islanders; 14. New Jersey Devils; 15. Minnesota Wild; 16. Carolina Hurricanes.

ADAM KIMELMAN

1. St. Louis Blues; 2. Toronto Maple Leafs; 3. Washington Capitals; 4. Chicago Blackhawks; 5. Los Angeles Kings; 6. Tampa Bay Lightning; 7. New Jersey Devils; 8. Columbus Blue Jackets; 9. Philadelphia Flyers; 10. Vegas Golden Knights; 11. Pittsburgh Penguins; 12. Ottawa Senators; 13. Calgary Flames; 14. Edmonton Oilers; 15. Colorado Avalanche; 16. Detroit Red Wings

ROBERT LAFLAMME

1. St. Louis Blues; 2. Chicago Blackhawks; 3. Washington Capitals; 4. Columbus Blue Jackets; 5. Toronto Maple Leafs; 6. Tampa Bay Lightning; 7. Los Angeles Kings; 8. Pittsburgh Penguins; 9. New Jersey Devils; 10. Vegas Golden Knights; 11. Anaheim Ducks; 12. Calgary Flames; 13. Detroit Red Wings; 14. Colorado Avalanche; 15. Ottawa Senators; 16. Carolina Hurricanes

MIKE G. MORREALE

1. St. Louis Blues; 2. Toronto Maple Leafs; 3. Chicago Blackhawks; 4. Pittsburgh Penguins; 5. Columbus Blue Jackets; 6. Tampa Bay Lightning; 7. Washington Capitals; 8. Nashville Predators; 9. New York Islanders; 10. Calgary Flames; 11. Dallas Stars; 12. Winnipeg Jets; 13. Edmonton Oilers; 14. Los Angeles Kings; 15. Carolina Hurricanes; 16. New Jersey Devils

BILL PRICE

1. Chicago Blackhawks; 2. Toronto Maple Leafs; 3. Washington Capitals; 4. Pittsburgh Penguins; 5. Edmonton Oilers; 6. Tampa Bay Lightning.; 7. St. Louis Blues; 8. Columbus Blue Jackets; 9. Vegas Golden Knights; 10. Calgary Flames; 11. Los Angeles Kings; 12. Nashville Predators; 13. New Jersey Devils; 14. Philadelphia Flyers; 15. Dallas Stars; 16. Boston Bruins

SHAWN ROARKE

1. Chicago Blackhawks; 2. Pittsburgh Penguins; 3. Tampa Bay Lightning; 4. Edmonton Oilers; 5. St. Louis Blues; 6. Toronto Maple Leafs; 7. Columbus Blue Jackets; 8. Washington Capitals; 9. Calgary Flames; 10. Dallas Stars; 11. Nashville Predators; 12. Anaheim Ducks; 13. Vegas Golden Knights; 14. New Jersey Devils; 15. Carolina Hurricanes; 16. Boston Bruins

DAN ROSEN

1. Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. Chicago Blackhawks; 3. Toronto Maple Leafs; 4. St. Louis Blues; 5. Columbus Blue Jackets; 6. Pittsburgh Penguins; 7. Washington Capitals; 8. Los Angeles Kings; 9. Edmonton Oilers; 10. Vegas Golden Knights; 11. Dallas Stars; 12. Calgary Flames; 13. Nashville Predators; 14. Anaheim Ducks; 15. New Jersey Devils; 16. Carolina Hurricanes

MIKE ZEISBERGER

1. Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. St. Louis Blues; 3. Washington Capitals; 4. Columbus Blue Jackets; 5. Toronto Maple Leafs; 6. Chicago Blackhawks; 7. Pittsburgh Penguins; 8. Anaheim Ducks; 9. Edmonton Oilers; 10. Dallas Stars; 11. Vegas Golden Knights; 12. Calgary Flames; 13. Ottawa Senators; 14. Carolina Hurricanes; 15. Los Angeles Kings; 16. New Jersey Devils

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