Monday, October 16, 2023

Weekend NHL rankings: Early season picks for the best, the worst and the best bandwagon teams

We’re back, it’s way too early, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Welcome back to the weekend NHL rankings, in which I’ll start off every week of the season by serving up a Top Five, a Bottom Five, and a Bonus Five, with a few of the week’s more interesting teams tossed into the mix.

First, let’s be clear about what this ranking is all about. Those of you who’ve been around for past seasons should know the drill by now, and if so skip on down to the bandwagon rankings. But if you’re new, it’s worth a quick aside on what we’re actually trying to do here.

These rankings are meant to be a long-term view, where we try to figure out which team will win the Cup and which will finish dead last. That means that while we’ll still react to what we see on the ice and who beats who, short-term swings may not have as much impact as you’d expect. A team can be the Cup favorite even after a three-loss week, and one team beating another doesn’t necessarily mean they move up and take their spot. If you’d prefer a more short-term view, the Friday rankings have you covered. Around these parts, it’s more of a slow-and-steady approach.

That means we won’t overreact to a game or two here and there. It also means that if we’re wrong about a team from the start, we run the risk of staying wrong for longer than we need to, so the way-too-early opening rankings can matter. The gap between being conservative and just being stubborn can be a tricky one. Or at least, that’s what the comments section likes to tell me.

We’ll get to the power rankings in a bit. But first, this week’s Bonus Five, in which I’m going to help you find a second-favorite team.

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