This week a fresh drop of NHL Power Rankings were released by hockey outlets across the league. While some decided to get cute with their lists, others stuck to the script and properly ranked the reigning Stanley Cup champions. Some had the Golden Knights as the second-best team in the NHL while other sneerers dropped the Cup champs outside of the Top 3.
Even more surprising was the aggregated computer model calculations.
Let’s start with one of the biggest advocates for the Golden Knights repeat run. League partner ESPN wasn’t afraid to hold their ground and continue to consider Vegas as the best club in the West.
ESPN: VGK #2 (BOS #1)
Vegas has been almost entirely healthy to start this season — and frankly, that’s a surprise. Has any team dealt with compounding injuries like the Golden Knights’ in seasons past? In the early going this season, Vegas is at basically full strength — and holds a top spot in the standings to prove it. –Kristen Shilton on ESPN.com
You can always rely on NHL.com to rank all 32 franchises with reason. As opposed to some of the skeptic outlets, the league site doesn’t overreact after one week on the schedule.
NHL.com: VGK #2 (BOS #1)
There might not be a team that has more to be thankful for than the Golden Knights. They are the reigning Stanley Cup champions after fulfilling owner Bill Foley’s bold goal to win their first championship by the end of their sixth season. Following a summer of celebrating, getting their Stanley Cup rings, raising their championship banner and visiting the White House on Monday, it’s clear the Golden Knights are not satisfied. Vegas is tied with the Vancouver Canucks atop the Western Conference with 25 points despite losing three of its past four games. The Golden Knights continue to have one of the deepest teams in the NHL with 19 players who have scored at least one goal, including 10 who have scored at least three, led by William Karlsson (eight), Jack Eichel (seven) and Jonathan Marchessault (seven). And they have one of the best goalie tandems in the League with Adin Hill (8-1-1, 2.07 goals-against average, .928 save percentage, two shutouts) and Logan Thompson (5-2-0, 2.27 GAA, .925 save percentage). –NHL.com
The Hockey News is another consistent network that is rarely alarmed by one skid of mediocre performances. THN commonly has the same state of mind as ESPN and NHL.com.
The Hockey News: VGK #2 (BOS #1)
When you’re at the top, the only way to go is down. The only way the Knights could maintain the No. 1 spot is if they were nearly flawless, but instead, they’ve lost three of their past four, including their first-ever shutout loss to the Caps. –Jason Chen on TheHockeyNews.com
Okay, this is where the rankings turn murky. Sure, the Golden Knights have lost three of their last five and have only beaten the Montreal Canadiens and San Jose Sharks since early November. However, it’s not even Thanksgiving yet. Relax people.
CBS Sports: VGK #4 (NYR #1, BOS #2, DAL #3)
The Golden Knights are an interesting team because their actual goal differential is plus-20. Their expected goal differential is minus-2.35. Look, the defending champs have the talent to outperform expected goal numbers, but by that much? I’m not so sure. Right now, Adin Hill leads the NHL with 9.42 goals saved above average, and Logan Thompson is also in the top 12 with 4.61. That duo has been excellent, but if they cool off at all, so will Vegas. –Austin Nivison on CBSSports.com
I have included the Seattle Times because their reporters have a good sense of the Pacific Division overall. Nonetheless, the Times heavily weighed the Golden Knights inconsistent play as of late.
Seattle Times: VGK#4 (BOS #1, DAL #2, NYR #3)
Former Seattle Thunderbird Shea Theodore tied a franchise record for points by a defenseman with four on Thursday as Golden Knights narrowly avoided fourth loss in six games. –Geoff Baker on SeattleTimes.com
Lastly, is Sportsnet’s Power Rankings. Normally, I find the premier Canadian sports outlet’s NHL coverage on point. That being said, I cannot get behind their latest rankings. SN is incredibly bullish on the Western Conference, as they’ve placed five teams from the West in their Top 7. Unfortunately, they overreacted and dropped the Stanley Cup champions too far in their latest edition.
Sportsnet: VGK #5 (BOS #1, NYR #2, VAN #3, DAL #4)
The Knights are a perfect example of how you can do things differently in the crease these days and still get your intended result. Vegas had three guys — undrafted Logan Thompson, sixth-rounder Laurent Brossoit and third-rounder Adin Hill — play at least 11 games for them last season and all three had a save percentage of .915 or better. In the playoffs, Hill’s .932 save percentage was the best mark in the league. Hill and Thompson have both been nails this season, too, forming one of the best true tandems in the NHL. –Ryan Dixon on Sportsnet.ca
Of course, none of these Power Rankings should be taken too seriously. The Golden Knights are the reigning champions and there is only one direction for them to go. Is it true that the Golden Knights haven’t kept up with their historic October pace? Sure, but they’re still in first place in the Pacific Division and in the Western Conference. I’d say the reigning champions deserve a little more respect than 5th place.