NHL – Very early 2018-19 Power Rankings

11:45 PM ET

  • Emily Kaplan

  • Greg Wyshynski

The Washington Capitals finally won a Stanley Cup. Are you prepared to do another deep race in 2018-19? The ESPN power panel, a group of 25 writers, editors and television personalities, is already looking forward to the next season with an early edition of the NHL Power Rankings. This is how we believe the league will accumulate in 2018-19.

Note: These ratings reflect which teams believe that voters will win direct confrontations. The best ranked teams would be favored against the lower ranked teams. ESPN Stats & Information contributed the following information "what defined them".

2017-18 record: 54-23-5

What defined them: The Lightning advanced to the Eastern Conference finals for the third time in four seasons, but the final prize was escaped again. They set franchise records for victories (54) and points (113), but their enduring memory will be eliminated by the Washington Capitals in Games 6 and 7 of the conference finals.

What could change: Ryan Callahan said that Lightning played Game 6 against Washington as if they knew they had a Game 7. Tampa Bay also knew that this group has another year to make another Cup before that Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, Ryan McDonagh, Anton Stralman and others need new contracts.

2017-18 record: 53- 18-11

What defined them: The Predators won the Presidents' Trophy for the first time in the history of the franchise, earning 23 points more than the previous season. However, a second-round playoff outing by the Winnipeg Jets left a bitter note in Music City, especially after the Preds reached the Stanley Cup final in 2017.

What could change: They were excellent in 2017-18, but then vanished in the playoffs. Perhaps the general manager of the Predators, David Poile, seeks to make small adjustments, but there is no reason to doubt that this team is a serious contender next season.

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2017-18 Registration: 52-20-10

What defined them: After disappearing the 2017 playoffs by seven points, the Jets had the second best record of the league and advanced to the Western Conference finals this year. Not bad for a franchise that did not even have a playoff win before this season. Patrik Laine has already scored 80 goals in his first two NHL seasons, and he only turned 20 in April.

What could change: Everything points to the Jets being a team to beat in the next four or five seasons. . All the pieces are there (although many of them must be paid). Winnipeg should grow as a result of its 2017-18 success and postseason race.

2017-18 record: 49-26-7

What defined them: After so many years of low performance in the playoffs, the capitals exorcised many demons. In our nation's capital, certainties include death, taxes and Alex Ovechkin winning the Rocket Richard Trophy. The latter has happened seven times, five more than any other.

What could change: It will take some deception, but if the Capitals can re-sign John Carlson, this team could compete for another Stanley Cup next season. . In an alternative universe, the capitals will suffer another early overthrow in the playoffs in 2019 and players like Nicklas Backstrom will end up in the trade bloc.

2017-18 record: 51-24-7

What defined them: After a season that exceeded their wildest expectations, it could be an interesting summer for the Golden Knights. James Neal, David Perron and Ryan Reaves will be free agents without restrictions, and William Karlsson will receive a big increase. But the team has a lot of space at the top.

What could change: Owner Bill Foley indicated that the Golden Knights' meteoric rise to the Western Conference title will not be a unique situation, which means Las Vegas could potentially use its variety of draft picks in the next three seasons and a considerable space in the salary cap to run against everyone, from Erik Karlsson to John Carlson and John Tavares.

2017-18 record: 50-20-12

What defined them: The top line of Patrice Bergeron's Bruins, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak could be the best in the league. The three players scored at least 30 goals, but no one else on the team had more than 17. Despite a loss in the second round against the Lightning, this team felt good with its 50-win season.

What could change: Bergeron, Marchand and David Krejci are over 30 years old. Zdeno Chara is 41 years old. But the combination of the Bruins of veteran players and dynamic youngsters like Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy will make them title contenders in 2018-19.

Registration 2017-18: 47-29-6 [19659007] What defined them: Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are hired for the long term, so the penguins should be once again in the Search for the Lord Stanley Cup. Pittsburgh became the first team since Lightning 2003-04 to have three players finish in the top 10 in scoring (Malkin, Phil Kessel and Crosby).

What could change: They did not make three mobs, but after a summer of rest (something they are not used to in recent times) they expect Crosby and Malkin to return as strong as ever. Goalkeeper Matt Murray is about to recover after a bit unsteady 2017-18.

2017-18 record: 45-27-10

What defined them: The sharks have produced 98, 99 and 100 points, respectively, in their last three seasons under coach Peter DeBoer . For the second consecutive summer, they will have to make a decision on Joe Thornton, who did not play after January 23 due to an ACL and MCL tear.

What could change: The window is wide open for sharks next season to win their first Stanley Cup. Then things get really interesting, since they only have nine players (!) Currently under contract for 2019-20, waiting for some free agent deals this summer. Both Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski will be free agents without restrictions in 2019.

Registration 2017-18: 45-30-7

What defined them: The good news? The Blue Jackets made the postseason in consecutive years for the first time in franchise history. The bad news? They are still looking to pbad the first round. Columbus' biggest concern in the summer is top scorer Artemi Panarin (27 goals, 82 points) who is entering his free agent year.

What could change: The Blue Jackets need to do two things in the off-season: secure Panarin and acquire depth score. The development of Pierre-Luc Dubois is a good omen for this team, which is still on the cusp of the break.

Stanley Cup Central Playoffs »
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Final results of the conference:

Semifinal results of the conference:

Results of round 1:

registration 2017-18: 46-24-7

What defined them: The Maple Leafs continued their upward trajectory, recording franchise records in victories (49) and points ( 105) New general manager Kyle Dubas, 31, will have a busy summer, which could include contract extensions for Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner.

What could change: Is there a gap between coach Mike Babbad and Matthews? Will the Leafs make a pitch for an elite level defender? Can Dubas direct the show himself, now that former general manager Lou Lamoriello and former badistant general manager Mark Hunter took their records and went home after Dubas was promoted? So many questions remain in the Hockey Universe Center.

2017-18 Registration: 44-29-9

What defined them: After finishing last in the Eastern Conference in 2016-17, the Demons broke a five-year playoff drought this season. His 27-point improvement, helped by Hart Trophy finalist Taylor Hall's 39-goal career high, was the highest in franchise history.

What could change: There's no reason for these 2017-18 highlights to come back next season. While GM Ray Shero makes defensive depth a priority, and other unnamed scorers emerge, Taylor Hall, we're seeing another playoff team.

2017-18 Registration: 45-29-8

What defined them: The Kings collected just three goals to be swept by the Golden Knights in the first round of the playoffs. Anze Kopitar was a finalist for Hart, but was one of the three Kings who scored at least 20 goals. The finalist of the Norris Drew Doughty Trophy is entering his year of tour.

What could change: Some of us would love to be a king for a day. Doughty will probably be a king for life after the big contract extension he and the team are discussing.

2017-18 Registration: 45-26-11

What defined them: Wild's third straight game in the first round in the playoffs cost GM Chuck Fletcher his job after nine seasons. His replacement, Paul Fenton, will inherit a list that will likely be "restructured" but not "reconstructed."

What could change: This is a team that has been on the verge of an advance for some time. Maybe Fenton, who cut his teeth as an badistant general manager with the predators, will add the correct pieces (and subtract the incorrect ones) to get the joker on the hump.

2017-18 record: 43- 30-9

What defined them: The avalanche had a better improvement of 47 points in the NHL from 2016-17 and reached the playoffs this year in the last day of the regular season. Hart Nathan MacKinnon Trophy candidate led the increase with 97 points, the most by any Avs player since Joe Sakic (100) in 2006-07.

What could change: A surprisingly decent team last season, the Avalanche will continue to be young in 2018-19. The worst may have happened for Colorado, but the bar is much higher than it was last season, and we are not sure we can reach it.

Registration 2017-18: 44-32-6

What defined them: Even after they delivered Paul Stastny to Winnipeg in the trade deadline, the Blues still ran in the postseason, winning 8-1-0 in mid-March. They still had the chance to make the playoffs on the final night of the regular season, but lost 5-2 to the avalanche.

What could change: We hope the Blues are aggressive in free agency and pursue a frontline center, as well as a scoring end. The only problem? There are not many names available, especially if St. Louis smells like John Tavares. The Blues can be in neutral.

Registration 2017-18: 42-26-14

What defined them: Captain Claude Giroux made a strong recovery season, with 102 points – becoming the first Flyer to reach the century mark since Eric Lindros in 1995-96. Although they returned to the playoffs after a one-year absence, the Flyers have not won a postseason series since 2012.

What could change: How soon can Carter Hart play? The asparagus prospect could be the key to Philadelphia's long-standing problems. Hart is not far away, but he will probably start next season in the AHL, especially considering the perpetual patience of GM Ron Hextall.

2017-18 Registration: 33-39-10

What defined them: The Blackhawks had their lowest points in a season during the Patrick Kane-Jonathan Toews era (76) in 2017 -18. His average of 3.07 goals against was the team's worst since 2005-06 (3.35).

What could change: Suppose goalkeeper Corey Crawford is back. Things can not get worse than they were in 2017-18. (If they are, expect a big shake for Christmas.) We trust that Toews will recover and that enough youngsters can help connect and ignite this lineup.

2017-18 record: 36-40-6

What defined them: The Oilers finished with 25 points less than in 2016-17, which was the second worst differential of points in the Conference West this year. However, Connor McDavid played all the games and won the Art Ross Trophy with 108 points, the most by an Oilers player since Mark Messier in 1989-90.

What could change: The Oilers are still in search of an elite defender to complete their blue line, among other items on the agenda as Edmonton tries to reverse the course of a mediocre season and contend again .

2017-18 record: 44-25-13

What defines them: The ducks were injured for much of the season, but Anaheim overcame numerous injuries to reach the playoffs by sixth consecutive year. Only the penguins (12) have a longer active streak. Anaheim did not stay long, however, the Ducks were outscored 16-4 in a four-game sweep by San Jose.

What could change: The ducks need what the capitals had this season: an aggressive infusion of young and new perspectives behind the aging talents of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and what remains of Ryan Kesler. But at least they have a blue line and a doorman to build.

2017-18 Registration: 42-32-8

What defined them: On March 11, when the Stars began a six-game road trip, they were three points ahead in the race for the joker. Then, a 0-4-2 trip and two more home losses almost ended those playoff dreams.

What could change: It is difficult to determine who the Stars will be, considering that they are adapting to their third head coach. in so many seasons It may not be nice at first, since the new coach Jim Montgomery implements his style.

Greg Wyshynski and Emily Kaplan come to you from the cavernous bowels of the Capital One Center to recap Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, talk to Isabelle Khurshudyan of the Washington Post about the series and share other great stories from the Caps beat. In addition, Greg and Emily talk to NHL draft prospects Filip Zadina and Brady Tkachuk about their travels and more. In addition, the team enters all your favorite segments of the week! Listen »

Registration 2017-18: 35-37-10

What defined them: The bad news: the islanders were last in goals against, with 293, in 2017- 18 – the most they have surrendered in a season since 1995-96 (315). The good news: Mathew Barzal's 63 badists tied a record for Islanders rookies, and his 85 points were more for an NHL rookie since Evgeni Malkin in 2006-07.

What could change: Lamoriello is running the show now. This team is not far away if Tavares returns. The islanders need a goalkeeper and some defenders, but they could win next season. If Tavares leaves … well, then there will be some dark days ahead.

2017-18 Registration: 36-35-11

What defined them: The Hurricanes were in postseason position in mid-February, but finished 9-14-2 to fall out of the playoffs Scott Darling had the worst save percentage (.888) of any goalkeeper who appeared in 40 games this season.

What could change: After nine years of missing the playoffs, expect a rearrangement of the roster while Carolina is committed to a changing culture. That means it could get worse before it gets better. Oh, and they need to find out if Darling can be their No. 1 goalie.

2017-18 record: 44-30-8

What defined them: The Panthers' 52 points (25-90) 8-2) were tied with the Predators more after the All-Star Game, but it was not enough to make it to the playoffs. Aleksander Barkov and Vincent Trocheck were the first pair of Panthers with at least 75 points in a season.

What could change: The core of the team is locked until 2022, including 39-year-old goalkeeper Roberto Luongo, although we doubt that he won that base salary of $ 1 million in the last year of that contract. The point is: The Panthers know what they are building, so can GM Dale Tallon fill in those blanks?

2017-18 Registration: 37-35-10

What defined them: The Flames missed the playoffs for the seventh time in the past nine seasons, thanks in part to scoring the worst goal of the league in 1.9 goals per game since February 27. Depression costs coach Glen Gulutzan his job.

What could change: This is going to be one of the most fascinating case studies in the NHL. Bill Peters was hampered by the poor handling of goal and personnel movements in Carolina, only to prosper in Calgary as the new head coach of the Llamas? Or is it that the Calgary system does not work?

2017-18 Registration: 34-39-9

What defined them: When the Rangers were eliminated on March 27, Henrik Lundqvist played mindless games for the first time in his career. From February 1 onwards, the Rangers had the second-worst record in the NHL (a .344 percentage) behind the Blackhawks, which contributed to coach Alain Vigneault losing his job.

What could change: Let the reconstruction begin. With the new coach David Quinn in the lead, the Rangers will commit to a total infusion of young people, expect a great showcase for the best prospects like Filip Chytil and Lias Andersson, before they are ready to compete again.

2017 -18 record: 30-39-13

What defined them: The Red Wings missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since a period of five seasons between 1978 and 1983 They got three draft picks, including a 2018 first-round pick from Vegas for Tomas Tatar, who scored six points in 20 games with the Golden Knights. [19659000] What could change: General manager Ken Holland stays in Detroit, somewhat surprisingly, to get this reconstruction going. When Red Wings president Chris Ilitch uses words like "it's going to be a process", well, buckle up for some rough rides for years to come. And Mike Green returns, or what?

2017-18 Registration: 25-45-12

What defined them: The Sabers finished last in their division for the fifth time in the past six seasons and had the worst record in the NHL by third time in the last five seasons. The good news is that they will choose first in the NHL draft for the first time since 1987 (when they took Pierre Turgeon).

What could change: Swedish 18-year-old Rasmus Dahlin, Rasmus Dahlin, Rasmus Dahlin, Rasmus Dahlin, Rasmus Dahlin, Rasmus Dahlin, Rasmus Dahlin, Rasmus Dahlin, Rasmus Dahlin and, of course, Rasmus Dahlin. Oh, and the Sabers will probably change Ryan O'Reilly after he revealed he lost his smile.

Registration 2017-18: 29-40-13

What defined them: The Canadiens lost 40 games in regulation, their highest amount since 2000-01. The success of Montreal is usually driven by the Carey Price game, and this year was no different, as it ended with worse results in save percentage (.900) and average goals against (3.11)

What could change: While taking a look at the John Tavares derby, the entire focus of the Canadians' offseason seems to be what will happen, if anything happens, with captain Max Pacioretty, including a possible trade and signing at Enter the last year of your previous contract.

2017-18 Registration: 31-40-11

What defined them: The Canucks have had the worst record in the Western Conference in the last three years (.441 percentage points). Now they have to replace Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin, who played in 82 and 81 games each, respectively, this season at 37.

What could change: Reconstruction is active * and it's spectacular! (* Keep in mind that any celebrations about the reconstruction are on hold until we see if the Canucks do something visionary and proactive with their seventh overall pick in the draft.) I sigh … at least, Elias Pettersson will show it when receive the NHL.)

2017-18 Registration: 28-43-11

What defined them: The Senators went from being one goal away from the Stanley Cup Final in last June to finish with his few points (67) since 1995-96 (41). Erik Karlsson is the only defender with 45 badists in each of the last five seasons, but will he remain in Ottawa?

What could change: We could know the fate of Karlsson before July 1, when the senators deliver what is expected to be a frugal offer, and Karlsson will have to decide whether to stay in Ottawa or seek a better deal somewhere else. Unfortunately, the fanatics of the poor Senators, while the billboards worked in Brooklyn, did not do it yet for Eugene Melnyk.

2017-18 Registration: 29-41-12

What defined them: The Coyotes have missed the playoffs in each of the last six years since they lost to the Kings in the final of the Western Conference 2012. As of February 8, however, the Coyotes had a record of 17-9-3, which was better than the Golden Knights (16-10-3) and just behind the capitals ( 18-9-2).

What could change: Oliver Ekman-Larsson seems ready to sign a long extension, but work is just beginning for GM John Chayka: Everything from what to do with the restricted end free agent Max Domi for who will be the fifth General in Dallas later this month.


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