Super 16: Lightning edge Avalanche to open season No. 1 in power rankings

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The Lightning, who won the Stanley Cup last season, edged the Colorado Avalanche by one voting point in the exercise that featured 13 NHL.com staff members submitting their preseason power rankings. 

Each was ranked No. 1 by six staff members and No. 2 by five, but the Lightning picked up the extra voting point by being ranked No. 3 by two staff members. The Avalanche were ranked No. 3 once, but one staff member had them as low as No. 4.

One voting point also separated No. 4 (St. Louis Blues) from No. 5 (Philadelphia Flyers), No. 6 (Washington Capitals) from No. 7 (Dallas Stars), and No. 13 (Pittsburgh Penguins) from No. 14 (Edmonton Oilers).

To create the Super 16, each of the 13 participating staff members put together his or her version of what they think it should look like. Those were submitted and a point total assigned to each. 

The team that was selected first was given 16 points, second got 15, third 14 and so on down to No. 16, who got one point. 

Here is the Super 16:

 

1. Tampa Bay Lightning

Total points: 199

Hit: The Lightning, who won the Stanley Cup last season, should have captain Steven Stamkos healthy and ready to go when they open the season against the Chicago Blackhawks at Amalie Arena on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN). Stamkos played in one game in the Lightning’s Stanley Cup run last season because of a lower-body injury.

Miss: Nikita Kucherov will miss the regular season following hip surgery last month. The forward led the NHL in postseason scoring with 34 points (seven goals, 27 assists) in 25 games after scoring 85 points (33 goals, 52 assists) in 68 regular season games.

Video: Kucherov to miss 2020-21 season due to hip surgery

 

2. Colorado Avalanche

Total points: 198

Hit: The Avalanche’s lineup got deeper in the offseason with the acquisitions of forward Brandon Saad and defenseman Devon Toews. Saad, who was acquired from the Blackhawks, will play in a top-six role. Toews, acquired from the New York Islanders, could be paired with Cale Makar, who won the Calder Trophy last season.

Miss: Defenseman Erik Johnson has been “unfit to practice” since training camp began. He is unlikely to play when the Avalanche open the season against the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN).

 

3. Vegas Golden Knights

Total points: 179

Hit: Alex Pietrangelo was the big offseason addition. The veteran defenseman who won the Stanley Cup with the St. Louis Blues signed a seven-year, $61.6 million contract on Oct. 13. He’ll likely start the season paired with Brayden McNabb.

Miss: To create the cap space to sign Pietrangelo, the Golden Knights had to part with center Paul Stastny (traded to the Winnipeg Jets) and defenseman Nate Schmidt (traded to the Vancouver Canucks). Stastny scored 38 points (17 goals, 21 assists) in 71 games last season. Schmidt scored 31 points (seven goals, 24 assists) in 59 games.

 

4. St. Louis Blues

Total points: 135

Hit: The Blues lost Pietrangelo but added defenseman Torey Krug on a seven-year, $45.5 million contract. Krug will likely start the season on the top defense pair with Colton Parayko.

Miss: Left wing Vladimir Tarasenko will start the season on long-term injured reserve after undergoing his third surgery on his left shoulder during the offseason. Tarasenko was limited to 10 games last season because of shoulder surgery in late October. He led St. Louis in goals for six straight seasons (2014-19).

 

5. Philadelphia Flyers

Total points: 134

Hit: The Flyers should have center Nolan Patrick in the lineup when they open their season against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday (5:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN1, NHL.TV). Patrick, the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, missed all of last season because of issues with migraines.

Miss: They will have to replace defenseman Matt Niskanen, who retired after last season. Niskanen played on the top pair with Ivan Provorov last season and scored 33 points (eight goals, 25 assists) while averaging 21:54 of ice time per game in 68 games.

Video: Where does Carter Hart Rank among goaltenders?

 

6. Washington Capitals

Total points: 112

Hit: The Capitals believe their defense is deeper and better with the additions of Justin Schultz and Zdeno Chara. Schultz signed a two-year, $8 million contract and Chara left the Bruins after 14 seasons and signed a one-year, $750,000 contract with Washington.

Miss: Henrik Lundqvist won’t play this season after having heart surgery. The 38-year-old goalie signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Capitals and was supposed to push Ilya Samsonov for playing time. Craig Anderson has been in training camp on a PTO.

 

7. Dallas Stars

Total points: 111

Hit: The Stars are optimistic about the continued development of forwards Denis Gurianov, Roope Hintz and Joel Kiviranta as well as defenseman Miro Heiskanen. They’re all 24 years old or younger and played big roles in helping the Stars reach the Stanley Cup Final last season. Heiskanen led the Stars and all NHL defenseman by scoring 26 points (six goals, 20 assists) in the playoffs.

Miss: Their training camp had to be postponed last week because six players and two staff members had positive tests for the COVID-19 virus. Their training facility was closed and the NHL announced the Stars won’t start their season until Jan. 19 at the earliest. 

 

8. Boston Bruins

Total points: 106

Hit: Left wing Brad Marchand will start the season on time, which was in doubt a few months ago as he was recovering from sports hernia surgery he had Sept. 14. Marchand scored 87 points (28 goals, 59 assists) in 71 games last season.

Miss: Right wing David Pastrnak will not start the season on time, which was likely after he had a right hip arthroscopy and labral repair on Sept. 16. Pastrnak led the Bruins and was tied for third in the NHL with 95 points (48 goals, 47 assists) in 70 games last season.

 

9. Toronto Maple Leafs

Total points: 102

Hit: The Maple Leafs feel they’ll be harder to play against, especially on the cycle, in front of the net and in the corners, with the additions of veteran forwards Joe Thornton and Wayne Simmonds, and defenseman Zach Bogosian

Miss: Toronto is determining their defensive depth after Morgan Rielly. The top candidates to round out the top-four group include TJ Brodie, who will likely be paired with Rielly to start the season, Jake Muzzin and Travis Dermott. They’re also high on Bogosian, Rasmus Sandin, Justin Holl and Mikko Lehtonen.

 

10. Carolina Hurricanes

Total points: 94

Hit: The Hurricanes have a healthy Brett Pesce back for the start of the season. The defenseman sustained a shoulder injury in a game against Toronto on Feb. 22 last season and had surgery in March. He did not play in the postseason.

Miss: They’ll have to carry on again without forward Justin Williams, the Hurricanes’ former captain who retired in the offseason. Williams scored 11 points (eight goals, three assists) in 20 regular season games and one point, a goal, in seven postseason games last season. He sat out the first half of the season contemplating retirement.

 

11. Vancouver Canucks

Total points: 81

Hit: The Canucks have been impressed by the play of 20-year-old Nils Hoglander in training camp. Hoglander, a second-round pick (No. 40) by the Canucks in the 2019 NHL Draft, appears to have earned a spot on the second line with Bo Horvat and Tanner Pearson, replacing Tyler Toffoli, who signed with the Montreal Canadiens in the offseason.

Miss: Vancouver is hoping it won’t miss goalie Jacob Markstrom, who signed with the Calgary Flames after last season. The Canucks have Braden Holtby, who they signed to a two-year contract, and Thatcher Demko, but it was Markstrom who was arguably their most valuable player the past two seasons.

 

12. New York Islanders

Total points: 60

Hit: Mathew Barzal signed a three-year contract on Saturday, when the center also made his training camp debut. Barzal, who missed the first four days of on-ice training in camp because he was a restricted free agent, has led the Islanders in scoring each of the past three seasons.

Miss: New York won’t have defenseman Johnny Boychuk, who announced his retirement in the offseason because of a left eye injury he sustained in a game against the Canadiens on March 3 of last season.

Video: Top 10 Mathew Barzal plays from 2019-20

 

13. Pittsburgh Penguins

Total points: 53

Hit: Jake Guentzel said he feels 100 percent healthy and that he’s looking to build on his accomplishments from previous seasons. The forward played four games in 2020, all in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers, after sustaining a shoulder injury that required surgery on Dec. 30, 2019. He scored 43 points (20 goals, 23 assists) in 39 games before the injury after scoring 76 points (40 goals, 36 assists) in 82 games in 2018-19.

Miss: They won’t have forward Kasperi Kapanen available when they open the season against the Flyers on Wednesday. Kapanen had to sort out some immigration issues before finally arriving in Pittsburgh on Saturday. He is in the process of a mandatory seven-day quarantine.

 

14. Edmonton Oilers

Total points: 52

Hit: The Oilers are hopeful that with forwards Kyle Turris and Jesse Puljujarvi on their third line they will have better scoring depth this season, especially since Leon Draisaitl (110 points) and Connor McDavid (97 points), the top two scorers in the NHL last season, will be centering the top two lines.

Miss: Edmonton will not have defenseman Oscar Klefbom all season because of a chronic shoulder injury. Klefbom scored 34 points (five goals, 29 assists) and led them in ice time per game (25:25) in 62 games last season.

 

15. Montreal Canadiens

Total points: 41

Hit: The Canadiens are excited about their potential because of the additions they made in the offseason, including goalie Jake Allen to backup Carey Price, forwards Josh Anderson and Tyler Toffoli to play in the top-nine group, forwards Corey Perry and Michael Frolik for depth purposes, and defenseman Joel Edmundson to potentially land in a top-four role. They’re also excited about defenseman Alexander Romanov, who could be a Calder Trophy candidate as rookie of the year.

Miss: The hope is that some of the changes will improve their power play, which was 22nd in the NHL last season (17.7 percent) after being 30th in 2018-19 (13.3 percent). They were 15.2 percent (5-for-33) in the postseason last year.

 

16. Columbus Blue Jackets

Total points: 28

Hit: The Blue Jackets are hopeful their offense and power play will improve this season after finishing last season tied for 27th in goals per game (2.57) and 27th in power play (16.4 percent). But they’re confident that they will have one of the best goaltending tandems with Elvis Merzlikins and Joonas Korpisalo and top defense pairs with Seth Jones and Zach Werenski in the NHL.

Miss: Forward Gustav Nyquist will miss the bulk of the season, if not all of it, after having shoulder surgery on Nov. 3. He was given a recovery time of 5-6 months, which means returning to the lineup in April or May. Nyquist had 42 points (15 goals, 27 assists) in 70 games last season.

 

Others receiving points: Calgary Flames 18, New York Rangers 12, Winnipeg Jets 9, Arizona Coyotes 2, Nashville Predators 2, Florida Panthers 1

 

HERE’S HOW WE RANKED ‘EM 

AMALIE BENJAMIN 

1. Colorado Avalanche; 2. Vegas Golden Knights; 3. Tampa Bay Lightning; 4. St. Louis Blues; 5. Washington Capitals; 6. Philadelphia Flyers; 7. Boston Bruins; 8. Toronto Maple Leafs; 9. Dallas Stars; 10. Edmonton Oilers; 11. New York Islanders; 12. Vancouver Canucks; 13. Pittsburgh Penguins; 14. New York Rangers; 15. Carolina Hurricanes; 16. Montreal Canadiens

BRIAN COMPTON

1. Colorado Avalanche; 2. Tampa Bay Lightning; 3. Vegas Golden Knights; 4. Vancouver Canucks; 5. Boston Bruins; 6. Dallas Stars; 7. St. Louis Blues; 8. Philadelphia Flyers; 9. Toronto Maple Leafs; 10. Edmonton Oilers; 11. New York Islanders; 12. Montreal Canadiens; 13. Columbus Blue Jackets; 14. Carolina Hurricanes; 15. Washington Capitals; 16. New York Rangers

NICHOLAS J. COTSONIKA

1. Colorado Avalanche; 2. Vegas Golden Knights; 3. Tampa Bay Lightning; 4. Dallas Stars; 5. Toronto Maple Leafs; 6. Pittsburgh Penguins; 7. Philadelphia Flyers; 8. Washington Capitals; 9. St. Louis Blues; 10. Vancouver Canucks; 11. Edmonton Oilers; 12. Boston Bruins; 13. Carolina Hurricanes; 14. Montreal Canadiens; 15. Arizona Coyotes; 16. Florida Panthers

TOM GULITTI 

1. Colorado Avalanche; 2. Tampa Bay Lightning; 3. Vegas Golden Knights; 4. Boston Bruins; 5. St. Louis Blues; 6. Vancouver Canucks; 7. Carolina Hurricanes; 8. Dallas Stars; 9. Calgary Flames; 10. Washington Capitals; 11. Toronto Maple Leafs; 12. Philadelphia Flyers; 13. New York Islanders; 14. Columbus Blue Jackets; 15. Pittsburgh Penguins; 16. Montreal Canadiens

ADAM KIMELMAN

1. Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. Vegas Golden Knights; 3. Colorado Avalanche; 4. Philadelphia Flyers; 5. Washington Capitals; 6. St. Louis Blues; 7. Boston Bruins; 8. Toronto Maple Leafs; 9. Vancouver Canucks; 10. Carolina Hurricanes; 11. Winnipeg Jets; 12. Montreal Canadiens; 13. New York Rangers; 14. New York Islanders; 15. Dallas Stars; 16. Edmonton Oilers

ROBERT LAFLAMME 

1. Colorado Avalanche; 2. Tampa Bay Lightning; 3. Vegas Golden Knights; 4. Philadelphia Flyers; 5. Washington Capitals; 6. Toronto Maple Leafs; 7. Carolina Hurricanes; 8. Boston Bruins; 9. Pittsburgh Penguins; 10. New York Islanders; 11. Edmonton Oilers; 12. Vancouver Canucks; 13. Montreal Canadiens; 14. St. Louis Blues; 15. Columbus Blue Jackets; 16. Dallas Stars

MIKE G. MORREALE

1. Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. Colorado Avalanche; 3. Vegas Golden Knights; 4. Dallas Stars; 5. St. Louis Blues; 6. Philadelphia Flyers; 7. Boston Bruins; 8. Carolina Hurricanes; 9. Washington Capitals; 10. Calgary Flames; 11. Toronto Maple Leafs; 12. Vancouver Canucks; 13. Pittsburgh Penguins; 14. Edmonton Oilers; 15. Columbus Blue Jackets; 16. New York Islanders

TRACEY MYERS 

1. St. Louis Blues; 2. Tampa Bay Lightning; 3. Boston Bruins; 4. Colorado Avalanche; 5. Philadelphia Flyers; 6. Vegas Golden Knights; 7. Carolina Hurricanes; 8. Washington Capitals; 9. Toronto Maple Leafs; 10. Vancouver Canucks; 11. Edmonton Oilers; 12. Dallas Stars; 13. Columbus Blue Jackets; 14. Pittsburgh Penguins; 15. New York Islanders; 16. Winnipeg Jets

BILL PRICE

1. Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. Colorado Avalanche; 3. Vegas Golden Knights; 4. Boston Bruins; 5. Philadelphia Flyers; 6. New York Islanders; 7. St. Louis Blues; 8. Dallas Stars; 9. Vancouver Canucks; 10. Washington Capitals; 11. Carolina Hurricanes; 12. Toronto Maple Leafs; 13. Edmonton Oilers; 14. Columbus Blue Jackets; 15. Nashville Predators; 16. New York Rangers

SHAWN P. ROARKE 

1. Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. Colorado Avalanche; 3. Vegas Golden Knights; 4. St. Louis Blues; 5. Boston Bruins; 6. Dallas Stars; 7. Columbus Blue Jackets; 8. Philadelphia Flyers; 9. Carolina Hurricanes; 10. Toronto Maple Leafs; 11. Montreal Canadiens; 12. Pittsburgh Penguins; 13. Vancouver Canucks; 14. Washington Capitals; 15. Winnipeg Jets; 16. New York Islanders

DAN ROSEN 

1. Colorado Avalanche; 2. Tampa Bay Lightning; 3. Vegas Golden Knights; 4. Philadelphia Flyers; 5. Boston Bruins; 6. Washington Capitals; 7. St. Louis Blues; 8. Dallas Stars; 9. Carolina Hurricanes; 10. Montreal Canadiens; 11. New York Islanders; 12. Vancouver Canucks; 13. Pittsburgh Penguins; 14. Toronto Maple Leafs; 15. Calgary Flames; 16. New York Rangers

DAVID SATRIANO

1. Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. Colorado Avalanche; 3. Vegas Golden Knights; 4. Philadelphia Flyers; 5. Boston Bruins; 6. Toronto Maple Leafs; 7. Dallas Stars; 8. Carolina Hurricanes; 9. Edmonton Oilers; 10. New York Islanders; 11. Washington Capitals; 12. St. Louis Blues; 13. Montreal Canadiens; 14. Pittsburgh Penguins; 15. Vancouver Canucks; 16. Calgary Flames

MIKE ZEISBERGER 

1. Tampa Bay Lightning; 2. Colorado Avalanche; 3. Washington Capitals; 4. Boston Bruins; 5. St. Louis Blues; 6. Vegas Golden Knights; 7. Dallas Stars; 8. Pittsburgh Penguins; 9. Carolina Hurricanes; 10. Toronto Maple Leafs; 11. New York Islanders; 12. Montreal Canadiens; 13. Edmonton Oilers; 14. Philadelphia Flyers; 15. New York Rangers; 16. Vancouver Canucks

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