With the draft and free agency in the rearview mirror, the start of the 2023-24 NHL season draws closer. Training camps are still a few weeks out, but it’s late enough in the summer to get a good gauge of how the league is stacking up.
The defending Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights may still be the betting favorite, but there are no shortage of opponents hoping to knock them off.
Without further ado, let’s dive into our offseason NHL power rankings.
NHL Power Rankings
32. San Jose Sharks
It’s hard to imagine San Jose getting worse, but it did just trade reigning Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson to Pittsburgh.
As part of a three-team deal, the Sharks netted the Penguins’ 2024 first-round pick but little else to get excited about.
31. Anaheim Ducks
All eyes are on the future. Drafting Swedish center Leo Carlsson No. 2 overall was a good start, but the Ducks still need to re-up 22-year-old star Trevor Zegras.
30. Arizona Coyotes
Relocation rumors. A middling roster. Unfortunately, there’s not much upside here.
29. Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers are in teardown mode. Carter Hart and Travis Konecny remain among the big names that could be moved by new general manager Daniel Briere.
28. Montreal Canadiens
Re-signing Cole Caufield — to a team-friendly deal, no less — was a big win. The 22-year-old winger had 26 goals in 46 games before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery.
27. Columbus Blue Jackets
What did Columbus have to show for signing Johnny Gaudreau? A last-place finish in the Eastern Conference. Oof.
Veteran coach Mike Babcock was brought in to help clean up the mess.
26. Chicago Blackhawks
The Blackhawks netted arguably the biggest prize of the offseason in Connor Bedard. Now they just need to surround the ballyhooed No. 1 pick with more talent.
- Read more about why Bedard is the favorite in the 2024 Calder Trophy odds.
25. Vancouver Canucks
The Canucks have a few elite playmakers in Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller, but the rest of the roster remains very much in flux.
24. Washington Capitals
Even the great Alex Ovechkin, who scored 42 goals in 73 games, couldn’t save the Capitals from missing the playoffs for the first time since 2014.
Former Toronto assistant Spencer Carbery replaces Peter Laviolette on the bench.
23. St. Louis Blues
Kevin Hayes was a nice addition on the cheap, but St. Louis must stabilize its goaltending situation to improve its fortunes.
Is Jordan Binnington still the guy?
22. Calgary Flames
New head coach, new general manager. There has been a lot of change in Calgary after a disappointing finish.
Only time will tell if it’s for the better.
21. Ottawa Senators
After failing to sign Alex DeBrincat, the Senators found an older yet cheaper replacement in Vladimir Tarasenko. He should help bolster Ottawa’s top six.
But what about goaltending? Joonas Korpisalo is no guarantee despite his sizable contract.
20. Detroit Red Wings
After bottoming out with 39 points in 2020, Detroit is steadily moving back in the right direction.
- Get ready for hockey season: Learn how to bet NHL odds.
Steve Yzerman scored big in trading for DeBrincat, who is two years removed from a 41-goal season.
19. Nashville Predators
New general manager Barry Trotz made a quick splash in free agency, signing Ryan O’Reilly and Luke Schenn. Both come with some risk due to age, but it’s worth the gamble.
18. New York Islanders
The Islanders deserve credit for proactively locking up Ilya Sorokin. Signed to an eight-year, $66-million deal, Sorokin earned his first Vezina Trophy nomination after notching a 2.34 goals against average and six shutouts.
17. Buffalo Sabres
At 12 years, the Sabres’ playoff drought is the longest in the NHL. It also matches the NFL’s New York Jets for the longest active drought in the four North American major sports.
Some might say they’re due.
16. Winnipeg Jets
The Jets are at risk of falling down this list if they can’t mend their relationship with Connor Hellebuyck, their star goaltender. He’s too good to lose.
15. Minnesota Wild
Minnesota earned 103 points last season, only to bow out again in the first round. A quiet offseason has only increased the pressure on general manager Bill Guerin.
14. Seattle Kraken
Was Seattle’s 100-point season a mirage? Or, like Vegas, have the Kraken fast-tracked their way to success?
Regardless, they were smart to extend leading scorer Jared McCann (40 goals in 2023).
13. Tampa Bay Lightning
Last year’s first-round loss to Toronto ended a string of three straight Stanley Cup appearances for Tampa Bay. If the dynasty isn’t over, it’s certainly close.
- See where the Lightning sit in the latest Stanley Cup odds.
The Lightning lost one of their core pieces when Alex Killorn signed with Anaheim. They also traded several players, including playoff fixture Pat Maroon. A crucial season awaits.
12. Pittsburgh Penguins
Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang aren’t getting any younger. Thus, it made sense for Pittsburgh to add Karlsson with hopes of making another run to the Stanley Cup.
Their talent is obvious, but Father Time is undefeated.
11. Los Angeles Kings
Adding Pierre-Luc Dubois down the middle should do wonders for the Kings, who already had Anze Kopitar and Phillip Danault. Dubois had 63 points in 77 games for Winnipeg last season.
10. Florida Panthers
Expectations will be ratcheted up after a run to the Stanley Cup Final. Most of the core skaters return, including postseason hero Matthew Tkachuk.
9. Boston Bruins
On the heels of an incredible 135-point season, the Bruins have huge shoes to fill following the retirements of Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci.
8. New York Rangers
After flaming out in the postseason, the Rangers traded one veteran coach for another, replacing Gerard Gallant with Laviolette.
A new voice should benefit this mostly veteran group.
7. Dallas Stars
Dallas added Matt Duchene to an offense that already included Jason Robertson, Joe Pavelski, and Jamie Benn. That bodes well.
6. Colorado Avalanche
Sure, the 2022 Stanley Cup champions took a step back last season, but the Avalanche are still young and talented enough to pivot back up the board.
Look no further than Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar.
5. Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto relieved some pressure by winning its first playoff series since 2004. The next order of business is obvious: lift the Stanley Cup.
To bolster their chances, the Maple Leafs brought in rugged forward Tyler Bertuzzi.
4. New Jersey Devils
That dismal 2022 season (63 points) feels like eons ago for the Devils, who have re-established themselves as a Cup contender.
Trading for Tyler Toffoli only strengthened their case.
3. Edmonton Oilers
Edmonton has what no one else has: Connor McDavid. It can’t afford to waste another year of his prime.
- Check out our 10 must-watch games on the 2023-24 NHL schedule.
2. Carolina Hurricanes
The Hurricanes locked up goaltenders Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta in addition to fortifying their defense with the addition of Dmitry Orlov.
It may be enough for Carolina to supplant Boston as the team to beat in the Eastern Conference.
1. Vegas Golden Knights
The champs checked off the most pressing item on their offseason to-do list by re-signing No. 1 goaltender Adin Hill.