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Super 16

Super 16: Penguins remain No. 1

Defending champions top preseason rankings despite Sidney Crosby's injury

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

The news of Sidney Crosby's concussion did not stop the Pittsburgh Penguins from becoming NHL.com's No. 1 team in our preseason Super 16 rankings.

The Penguins, who won the Stanley Cup last season with Crosby winning the Conn Smythe Trophy, were ranked first on seven of the 12 polls submitted by the dozen staff members who will participate in selecting the Super 16 on a weekly basis throughout the regular season.

In addition, Pittsburgh was ranked No. 2 by one staff member and No. 3 by another. The only staff members who didn't have the Penguins in their top four were Tim Campbell (No. 5), Adam Kimelman (No. 6) and Robert Laflamme (No. 6).

The final rankings are calculated by a points-based system based on the submissions by the 12 staff members. Point values are assigned to each ranking. The point values are assigned as follows: 16 points for a No. 1 ranking, down to one point for a No. 16 ranking.

The Washington Capitals, who were No. 1 for the last eight weeks of last season, came in at No. 2 in the preseason Super 16. The Capitals were ranked No. 1 by Laflamme and Campbell and No. 2 by Brian Compton and Amalie Benjamin. They were in the top four of nine of the 12 submissions. They were ranked as low as No. 7 by Arpon Basu.

Eleven of the 16 teams in the preseason Super 16 were listed on all 12 of the rankings submitted by the staff members. The Anaheim Ducks, Montreal Canadiens and New York Islanders were ranked by 11 staff members.

Kimelman did not rank the Ducks. Editor-in-chief Bill Price didn't rank the Canadiens. Columnist Nick Cotsonika didn't rank the Islanders.

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Here are the preseason rankings, with pertinent information and a Hit and Miss for each team. The first regular season Super 16 will run Oct. 27 and every Thursday following for the duration of the regular season.

1. Pittsburgh Penguins (48-26-8)

Total points: 176

Hit: The defending champions return nearly intact from last season minus defenseman Ben Lovejoy and forward Beau Bennett, who played one game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Miss: They received a potentially crippling blow with the news that Crosby sustained a concussion in practice Friday.

2. Washington Capitals (56-18-8)

Total points: 164

Hit: Their third line has the potential to provide some offense with the additions of center Lars Eller and rookie Zach Sanford joining Marcus Johansson.

Miss: It's fair to question their depth on defense behind John Carlson, Karl Alzner, Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik. The Capitals are hoping Dmitry Orlov, 25, takes the next step.

3. Tampa Bay Lightning (46-31-5)

Total points: 155

Hit: Right wing Nikita Kucherov signed a three-year contract worth $4.76 million per season Tuesday. Kucherov, 23, scored 30 goals last season and 29 in the prior season for the Lightning.

Miss: Kucherov missed all of training camp while in contract negotiations with the Lightning. The good news is he did play for Team Russia in the World Cup.

4. San Jose Sharks (46-30-6)

Total points: 147

Hit: Like the Penguins, who defeated them in the Stanley Cup Final, the Sharks roster returns almost intact, except with upgrades in forward Mikkel Boedker and defenseman David Schlemko.

Miss: They are thin at goalie behind No. 1 Martin Jones. Aaron Dell will begin the season as Jones' backup. He has never played in an NHL game.

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5. Chicago Blackhawks (47-26-9)

Total points: 140

Hit: Defenseman Duncan Keith is healthy to start the season. He missed playing for Team Canada in the World Cup because of soreness in his right knee.

Miss: They're likely going to need some rookies to step up and provide depth scoring, which means coach Joel Quenneville is going to have to put some trust into players like forwards Nick Schmaltz, Tyler Motte and Vincent Hinostroza, who could be in the lineup for Chicago's season opener against the St. Louis Blues at United Center on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN).

6. Dallas Stars (50-23-9)

Total points: 137

Hit: It appears center Tyler Seguin will be in the lineup to start the season. He hasn't played since sustaining a hairline fracture in his heel during a World Cup pretournament game with Team Canada on Sept. 9.

Miss: The injury news isn't as promising for forwards Ales Hemsky (groin), Cody Eakin (knee) and Mattias Janmark (knee). Hemsky is closest to returning, but he hasn't participated in a full practice. Eakin could be out six weeks and Janmark could miss the entire regular season.

7. Nashville Predators (41-27-14)

Total points: 125

Hit: Mattias Ekholm and P.K. Subban appeared to establish some chemistry during the preseason. They should be a top pair for the Predators when they open the season against the Blackhawks at Bridgestone Arena on Friday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports).

Miss: This isn't as much a miss as it is a concern. There are legitimate questions about goalie Pekka Rinne, 33, who had a .908 save percentage last season, his lowest save percentage in a full season in his career.

8. Los Angeles Kings (48-28-6)

Total Points: 99

Hit: Veteran forward Devin Setoguchi played well enough in training camp and the preseason games to sign a one-year contract on Tuesday. He could start the season on a line with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown in the Kings' season opener against the Sharks at SAP Center on Wednesday (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN).

Miss: Setoguchi would be filling a hole vacated by forward Marian Gaborik, who will start the season on injured reserve because of a broken foot, an injury he sustained while playing for Team Europe in the World Cup.

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9. St. Louis Blues (49-24-9)

Total points: 98

Hit: Goalie Jake Allen returned to practice Tuesday and is expected to start the opener against Chicago on Wednesday. He appeared to injure his ankle in the first period of the Blues' preseason game against Chicago on Saturday.

Miss: Forward Jaden Schwartz will miss the start of the season with a left elbow injury he sustained Sept. 29. He is expected to be re-evaluated near the end of October. Schwartz missed 49 games last season with a fractured left ankle.

10. Anaheim Ducks (46-25-11)

Total points: 94

Hit: Forward Jakob Silfverberg scored two goals in the Ducks' preseason finale Saturday. Silfverberg starting the season on a hot streak would be huge for the Ducks considering they still don't have center Rickard Rakell. He went the first 19 games without a goal last season but still finished with 20 for the season.

Miss: Rakell and fellow restricted free agent Hampus Lindholm remain unsigned with the regular season set to begin at the Dallas Stars on Thursday.

11. Florida Panthers (47-26-9)

Total points: 84

Hit: Defenseman Aaron Ekblad, who sustained a concussion playing for Team North America in the World Cup, is healthy and ready to start the season when the Panthers play the New Jersey Devils at BB&T Center on Thursday.

Miss: Center Nick Bjugstad and left wing Jonathan Huberdeau aren't as fortunate. Huberdeau will miss 3-4 months because of a lower-body injury and Bjugstad is out for at least another three weeks with a broken hand.

12. Montreal Canadiens (38-38-6)

Total points: 61

Hit: Goalie Carey Price is back. Nothing more really needs to be said. He went 5-0-0 with a 1.40 GAA and .957 save percentage in helping Team Canada win the World Cup championship last month.

Miss: Defenseman Jeff Petry will miss at least the first game of the season, at the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday, with an injury.

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13. New York Islanders (45-27-10)

Total points: 49

Hit: Goalie Jaroslav Halak should be confident coming off a strong showing in the World Cup for Team Europe. He had a .941 save percentage and 2.15 GAA in six games. Halak missed the playoffs last season because of a groin injury.

Miss: The decision to waive forward PA Parenteau on Monday opened a hole at right wing on the top line and it's unclear how it gets filled. Jason Chimera was in that spot alongside John Tavares and Andrew Ladd in practice Tuesday.

14. New York Rangers (46-27-9)

Total points: 43

Hit: Rookie right wing Pavel Buchnevich looked good in the preseason games when he played on a line with center Mika Zibanejad and left wing Chris Kreider.

Miss: Defenseman Kevin Klein has been dealing with back spasms and his status for the season opener against the Islanders on Thursday is questionable.

15. Minnesota Wild (38-33-11)

Total points: 24

Hit: Center Eric Staal is being given a chance to re-energize his career with a spot on the top line, likely with Zach Parise and Charlie Coyle on his wings.

Miss: Veteran forward Ryan Carter was relieved from his professional tryout contract on Sunday and he told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that he has to have surgery on a torn labrum in his right shoulder. The newspaper suggested the surgery could be career-threatening.

16. Philadelphia Flyers (41-27-14)

Total points: 14

Hit: Rookies defenseman Ivan Provorov and forward Travis Konecny performed well enough in training camp and the preseason games to make the opening-night roster.

Miss: Defenseman Radko Gudas will miss the first six games of the season serving a suspension for interference on Boston Bruins forward Austin Czarnik during a preseason game Saturday.

Other receiving points: Boston Bruins (8), Winnipeg Jets (4), Edmonton Oilers (3), Ottawa Senators (2), Buffalo Sabres (1), Calgary Flames (1), Colorado Avalanche (1), Detroit Red Wings (1)

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HERE'S HOW WE VOTED

ARPON BASU

1. Pittsburgh Penguins; 2. Dallas Stars; 3. Los Angeles Kings; 4. Tampa Bay Lightning; 5. San Jose Sharks; 6. Chicago Blackhawks; 7. Washington Capitals; 8. Anaheim Ducks; 9. Nashville Predators; 10. St. Louis Blues; 11. Montreal Canadiens; 12. Florida Panthers; 13. Minnesota Wild; 14. New York Rangers; 15. New York Islanders; 16. Edmonton Oilers

AMALIE BENJAMIN

1. Pittsburgh Penguins; 2. Washington Capitals; 3. Chicago Blackhawks; 4. Tampa Bay Lightning; 5. San Jose Sharks; 6. Dallas Stars; 7. Anaheim Ducks; 8. Los Angeles Kings; 9. St. Louis Blues; 10. Florida Panthers; 11. Nashville Predators; 12. Montreal Canadiens; 13. New York Islanders; 14. New York Rangers; 15. Boston Bruins; 16. Philadelphia Flyers

TIM CAMPBELL

1. Washington Capitals; 2. St. Louis Blues; 3. Anaheim Ducks; 4. San Jose Sharks; 5. Pittsburgh Penguins; 6. Tampa Bay Lightning; 7. Nashville Predators; 8. Dallas Stars; 9. New York Islanders; 10. Chicago Blackhawks; 11. Montreal Canadiens; 12. Florida Panthers; 13. New York Rangers; 14. Los Angeles Kings; 15. Ottawa Senators; 16. Calgary Flames

BRIAN COMPTON

1. Pittsburgh Penguins; 2. Washington Capitals; 3. Dallas Stars; 4. San Jose Sharks; 5. Tampa Bay Lightning; 6. Chicago Blackhawks; 7. Los Angeles Kings; 8. Anaheim Ducks; 9. Nashville Predators; 10. New York Islanders; 11. Minnesota Wild; 12. Florida Panthers; 13. St. Louis Blues; 14. Philadelphia Flyers; 15. New York Rangers; 16. Montreal Canadiens
 

NICK COTSONIKA

1. Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. Nashville Predators; 3. Pittsburgh Penguins; 4. San Jose Sharks; 5. Washington Capitals; 6. Los Angeles Kings; 7. Anaheim Ducks; 8. Chicago Blackhawks; 9. Dallas Stars; 10. Florida Panthers; 11. New York Rangers; 12. Montreal Canadiens; 13. St. Louis Blues; 14. Minnesota Wild; 15. Philadelphia Flyers; 16. Detroit Red Wings

TOM GULITTI

1. Pittsburgh Penguins; 2. Tampa Bay Lightning; 3. Washington Capitals; 4. Nashville Predators; 5. Chicago Blackhawks; 6. San Jose Sharks; 7. Dallas Stars; 8. Florida Panthers; 9. Los Angeles Kings; 10. Montreal Canadiens; 11. St. Louis Blues; 12. Anaheim Ducks; 13. New York Islanders; 14. Philadelphia Flyers; 15. New York Rangers; 16. Minnesota Wild

ADAM KIMELMAN

1. Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. Dallas Stars; 3. San Jose Sharks; 4. Washington Capitals; 5. Chicago Blackhawks; 6. Pittsburgh Penguins; 7. Nashville Predators; 8. Los Angeles Kings; 9. Florida Panthers; 10. New York Islanders; 11. St. Louis Blues; 12. Montreal Canadiens; 13. Winnipeg Jets; 14. New York Rangers; 15. Edmonton Oilers; 16. Philadelphia Flyers

ROBERT LAFLAMME

1. Washington Capitals; 2. Dallas Stars; 3. Tampa Bay Lightning; 4. Chicago Blackhawks; 5. Pittsburgh Penguins; 6. Florida Panthers; 7. St. Louis Blues; 8. Anaheim Ducks; 9. San Jose Sharks; 10. Montreal Canadiens; 11. Nashville Predators; 12. Los Angeles Kings; 13. Boston Bruins; 14. Minnesota Wild; 15. New York Islanders; 16. New York Rangers

MIKE G. MORREALE

1. Pittsburgh Penguins; 2. San Jose Sharks; 3. Washington Capitals; 4. Nashville Predators; 5. Tampa Bay Lightning; 6. Dallas Stars; 7. Chicago Blackhawks; 8. Anaheim Ducks; 9. Los Angeles Kings; 10. St. Louis Blues; 11. Florida Panthers; 12. Montreal Canadiens; 13. New York Rangers; 14. New York Islanders; 15. Philadelphia Flyers; 16. Colorado Avalanche

BILL PRICE

1. Pittsburgh Penguins; 2. Chicago Blackhawks; 3. Dallas Stars; 4. San Jose Sharks; 5. Tampa Bay Lightning; 6. Washington Capitals; 7. Nashville Predators; 8. St. Louis Blues; 9. Anaheim Ducks; 10. Los Angeles Kings; 11. Florida Panthers; 12. New York Islanders; 13. New York Rangers; 14. Minnesota Wild; 15. Philadelphia Flyers; 16. Boston Bruins

SHAWN ROARKE

1. Pittsburgh Penguins; 2. St. Louis Blues; 3. Washington Capitals; 4. Nashville Predators; 5. San Jose Sharks; 6. Tampa Bay Lightning; 7. Chicago Blackhawks; 8. Dallas Stars; 9. Anaheim Ducks; 10. New York Rangers; 11. Los Angeles Kings; 12. Montreal Canadiens; 13. New York Islanders; 14. Florida Panthers; 15. Minnesota Wild; 16. Boston Bruins

DAN ROSEN

1. Chicago Blackhawks; 2. Pittsburgh Penguins; 3. Washington Capitals; 4. Nashville Predators; 5. Tampa Bay Lightning; 6. San Jose Sharks; 7. Florida Panthers; 8. Montreal Canadiens; 9. Los Angeles Kings; 10. St. Louis Blues; 11. Dallas Stars; 12. New York Rangers; 13. Anaheim Ducks; 14. New York Islanders; 15. Minnesota Wild; 16. Buffalo Sabres

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