Welcome to the first quarter mark of the NHL where I will not only go over the NHL’s top 10 teams, but the current lottery teams as well as a brief look at where the New York Islanders current are. If you’re a first time reader, welcome! If not, then you already know that I’m a writer who looks at the percentages or point pace of each teams instead of looking at just the points. The reason I do this is for two reasons: First, not every team plays on the same day and when it’s this early in the season. I do take into consideration the amount of games played by each team. Second, I’m not a big fan of drama (yet here I am on an Islanders blog, go figure). With that said, let’s take a look at the Top 10 NHL teams after the Islanders completed their 20th game last night.
1. Tampa 15-3-2; 32 points; 131 point pace
2. St. Louis 15-5-1; 31 points 121 point pace
3. Winnipeg 12-4-3; 27 points; 117
4. Toronto 14-7-0; 28 points; 109
5. Golden Knights 12-6-1; 25 points; 108
6. New Jersey 11-5-3; 25 points; 108
7. Nashville 11-6-2; 24 points; 104
8. Columbus 12-7-1; 25 points; 103
9. Kings 12-7-2; 26 points; 102
10. Isles 11-7-2; 24 points; 98
I’m not going to lie, but this looks really weird. Notice that the Blackhawks, Penguins, Rangers, Canadiens and the Washington Capitals are not in the top 10? Did anyone expect the Jets, Vegas, New Jersey, the Isles or even the Kings to be this high? It appears that there has been a changing of the guard after all, I just wasn’t expecting this so soon. However, this begs a question: Can these teams keep this up all season long? Will the dominant teams of old eventually catch up to these up-and-coming teams who have taken the early spotlight? These top 10 teams haven’t dropped below tenth, save for the Isles for about a day or so, then they’ll be right back in it when the other teams lose. But for the most part, these teams have been constantly changing positions, yet remain above ground. So let’s take a look at the teams that could be buried already, the current lottery teams.
1. Arizona 4-15-3; 11 points; 41 point pace
2. Buffalo 5-11-4; 14 points; 57
3. Oilers 7-11-2; 16 points; 66
4. Florida 7-10-2; 16 points 69
5. Montreal 8-11-2; 18 points; 70
The Oilers……a team that should be in contention for a Stanley Cup, is in the running for the first overall pick in 2018. The Coyotes, Sabres, and Panthers are teams I didn’t expect to make into the playoffs but here they are, not yet eliminated, but you should begin to hear more rumors coming from these teams in the near future (Hello Evander Kane, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins etc). Florida’s chances are tougher with Ottawa making a move and getting Matt Duchene but I’ve been wrong before. I’m shocked Montreal has not rioted yet, and I commend the fans for their patience, but it’s looking like it’s going to be a long season if Carey Price does not return soon.
As for the Isles, it’s a better start to the season than last year and no one thought they’d be in the top ten at any point of this season. And despite my prediction of 100-105 year-end finish for them, this 98 point pace should please me. It doesn’t, not completely. They should be higher. I’ll get into the Islanders more directly tomorrow, but I will say this: The Islanders can definitely stay in the top ten all season long and as the season continues, the Islanders younger players will only get better.
In case you missed it, last night I was asked to be a guest for Gary Harding and John Panarese on WGBB and we talked about the Islanders after their first 20 games. Give it a listen and come back tomorrow for a more in-depth read on the Isles.
— AM1240-WGBB (@AM1240WGBB) November 20, 2017