Honda West Power Rankings: Vegas Golden Knights Top Interesting Division
|Photo Credit: John Autey/Pioneer Press|
The Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights were two of the biggest favorites to win the Stanley Cup heading into the season. So it was exciting to see that they were going to play in the same division and matchup against each other eight times.
They haven't been the only impressive teams thus far this season out West, and we rank them below.
1. Vegas Golden Knights: 12-4-1 (25 points) 73.5 Points%
They don't have a huge lead for the division, but they are still the best team out West. Marc-Andre Fleury has stepped up, Alex Pietrangelo has been great and Mark Stone is still a dominant two-way presence.
From top to bottom the Golden Knights remain one of the deepest teams in the league.
2. Minnestoa Wild: 12-6-0 (24 points) 66.7 Points%
Winners of seven of their last ten games, the Wild have been a fun team to watch. Former first round pick Joel Eriksson Ek leads the team in goals and rookie Kirill Kaprizov has been as close to as they hoped as he could be.
The Russian rookie leads the team in scoring, and has proven to be one of the finest skaters in the league already.
3. Colorado Avalanche: 11-6-1 (23 points) 63.9 Points%
They have the best player not named Connor McDavid, but judging him by the playoffs last season Nathan MacKinnon may be second to none at this point in his career.
The biggest thing with Colorado will be goaltending, but Philipp Gurbauer has been great in his contract season, can he stay healthy? Cale Makar is a special player on the blue line and Colorado added depth there (Devon Toews) and up front (Brandon Saad).
Colorado remains a Cup contender, they've just been bested recently by a hotter Wild team.
4. St. Louis Blues: 11-8-2 (24 points) 57.1 Points%
They are so deep on defense they may be looking to move Vince Dunn a year after moving Joel Edmundson to the Canadiens.
They've had some young players like Jordan Kyrou and Robert Thomas (pre-injury) take the next step with Vladimir Tarasenko out still but they will need some consistent goaltending if they want to remain towards the top of the standings.
5. Los Angeles Kings: 9-7-4 (22 points) 55.0 Points%
While it was disappointing not getting to see Quinton Byfield this season in Los Angeles, it was the best move. This season has also been about getting some of the younger players into games to see where they are at.
Gabriel Vilardi has responded, and Cal Petersen is emerging as the go-to guy in net. Since returning from an injury Jonathan Quick has lifted his play due to the added competition.
Oh yea, Dustin Brown is looking like a top-six power forward again, and isn't that fun to watch?
6. Arizona Coyotes: 9-9-3 (21 points) 50.0 Points%
The Coyotes are still very much in the thick of things out West, but still could find themselves on the outside looking in come playoff time. Conor Garland, a former fifth round pick by the Coyotes, leads the team in scoring that has Phil Kessel and Clayton Keller.
7. San Jose Sharks: 7-9-2 (16 points) 44.4 Points%
Watch the Sharks on a given night and they'll remind you they still have some talent on that roster. But in the end the complete cliff that Erik Karlsson's play dove off of, as well as the consequences of that trade, have doomed the Sharks to be a cellar dweller for now.
Devan Dubnyk and Martin Jones were two of the worst goalies in the league last season, and now as a pairing they've been just as bad as everyone thought they'd be. San Jose is 30th in the league in 5v5 save percentage.
8. Anaheim Ducks: 6-10-5 (17 points) 40.5 Points%
When you're so bad that you get a nightly reminder of just how good John Gibson is, it's not a great time to be a fan in Anaheim. Honestly it doesn't feel worth it to have a franchise goalie, only to have him pelted with scoring opportunity after scoring opportunity on a nightly basis.
Maxime Comtois has been one of the few bright spots of the season so far. The Trevor Zegras era has also gotten off to an extremely quiet start.
What did you think of the rankings? What would you change? Let us know in the comment section below, subscribe to the site with the link at the top and follow me on Twitter @AJ_Murfy.