With a little more than a week of action in the books, the San Jose Sharks have vaulted to the top of the TSN.ca NHL Power Rankings.
Veterans Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton have been unstoppable for San Jose, combining to produce 12 goals and 26 points in five San Jose wins. The Sharks already have a plus-15 goal differential, a significant reason for their move to the top after being ranked 11th in the preseason.
The rankings only incorporate production for this season, so there are some dramatic shifts from the preseason rankings.
For example, Tampa Bay climbed from 24th to second spot, Montreal from 18th to seventh and Winnipeg from 28th to ninth, all three rising to the Top 10 with a move of at least 10 spots.
Ottawa (13th to fifth), New Jersey (15th to eighth), Colorado (26th to 14th) and the New York Islanders (29th to 18th) are among the others to have fared better in the early going than might have been anticipated in the preseason.
Heading in the other direction, the Pittsburgh Penguins are still obviously a strong team, but back-to-back losses knocked the preseason No. 1 team down to 10th, while inconsistent results also sent the New York Rangers from second to 13th spot.
Vancouver (fifth to 16th), Detroit (seventh to 17th), Los Angeles (10th to 21st), Nashville (eighth to 24th), Philadelphia (ninth to 27th) and Washington (17th to 29th) were all victims of big drops in the first rankings update.
The Ottawa Senators are the top-ranked Canadian team, at fifth and the Edmonton Oilers climbed to 11th while the Toronto Maple Leafs (23rd) and Calgary Flaems (26th) are ranked in the bottom third.
It bears noting that this NHL season is a small sample size unto itself, but rankings are especially volatile in the first weeks, when teams have only played a handful of games and one lopsided result can shift differentials.
Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.