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NHL Power Rankings, Week 1: Small Sample Size Leads To Hilarious Results

Early season Power Rankings aren't a great measure of the success a team should expect in the upcoming year. On the other hand, though, it's always hilarious to see just how crazy some voters can be.

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With the small amount of games played so far this season, the emotions around the NHL are quite varied. In the cities where teams are headed toward rough seasons, those expectations are either coming to fruition already or are looking like silly, incorrect armchair GM'ing.

In some cities where teams are expected to find greatness this season, it's the same story. Some have disappointed while others have lived up to the hype. For two extreme examples, we look no further than New Jersey and Edmonton, where the Devils have had quite possibly the ugliest three-game start in recent memory, at least when it comes to a team with so much hype around it.

Then, in Edmonton, Jordan Eberle basically turned excitement around the Oilers on its side with his first NHL goal. It also helps, of course, that Edmonton is 2-0 on the year.

Other teams pulling in first place votes in our Power Rankings this week include quite the eclectic mix of teams: Detroit, the Oilers, Nashville, Philadelphia, Toronto, Washington. Yep, Toronto.

That's part of what makes early season power rankings so fun. No, they aren't a real measure of what a team will do this season, nor is anything a team shows on the ice in the first week.

Our 70-plus team bloggers from around our great hockey network vote each week on our rankings. Since the NHL doesn't put much emphasis on cross-conference play, and since the two conferences are vastly different and usually end up that way come mid-April, we take two polls each week -- one for the East, one for the West.

Bloggers in our network who cover a Western team vote in the Western poll, while bloggers who cover an Eastern team vote in the Eastern poll, so don't try to argue that the opposite coast bias kept your team out of a spot. Bloggers with general, non-team sites are free to select the conference in which they vote.

So, here they are, SB Nation's Week 1 NHL Power Rankings.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

15. Anaheim Ducks

Preseason ranking: 12th in West

Record: 0-3-0, 0 points

SB Nation blogs: Anaheim Calling, Battle of California

Sure, it's only been three games. That's also three losses, though, which is apparently enough for Ducks fans to begin questioning the job of coach Randy Carlyle.

14. Minnesota Wild

Preseason ranking: 11th in West

Record: 0-1-1, 1 point

SB Nation blog: Hockey Wilderness

The Wild surely weren't planning on getting swept in two games against Carolina when they boarded a flight for Helsinki last week, but that's the way things turned out. At least they salvaged a point, right?

13. Calgary Flames

Preseason ranking: 10th in West

Record: 1-1-0, 2 points

SB Nation blogs: Matchsticks & Gasoline

After a less than impressive opening night, the Flames bounced back with a win over Los Angeles. Normally, that might be impressive, but even a child can tell you that the Kings just were not up to par that night.

12. Chicago Blackhawks

Preseason ranking: 1st in West

Record: 1-1-1, 3 points

SB Nation blog: Second City Hockey

We're just going to chalk this up to a few Western Conference voters having some fun. Not that the Blackhawks have had an ideal start to the season or anything, but an 11 spot drop is pretty funny (and ridiculous, if we're being serious... which we're not).

11. Columbus Blue Jackets

Preseason ranking: 14th in West

Record: 1-1-0, 2 points

SB Nation blog: The Cannon

While Carolina was the only team able to jump across the pond and win both NHL Premiere games they played in, splitting isn't a bad result either -- especially playing those two games against a team like San Jose. The Jackets get a worthy bump for that reason.

10. Phoenix Coyotes

Preseason ranking: 6th in West

Record: 1-1-0, 2 points

SB Nation blog: Five For Howling

Phoenix also split while overseas in Prague against a Bruins team that's much like themselves -- poised for a run again in a deep division after a disappointing playoff outcome last season.

9. Dallas Stars

Preseason ranking: 13th in West

Record: 2-0-0, 4 points

SB Nation blog: Defending Big D

DBD sums the Stars up pretty well here, under the headline "Mike Ribeiro Arrested For Public Intoxication."

And things were going so well.

In addition to that incident, Jamie Benn is down with concussion symptoms. Still, the team is undefeated. We'll see how long that lasts.

8. Edmonton Oilers

Preseason ranking: 15th in West

Record: 2-0-0, 4 points

SB Nation blog: The Copper & Blue

As of this writing, the Edmonton Oilers sit atop the Western Conference standings. One more time for clarity: As of this writing, the Edmonton Oilers sit atop the Western Conference standings. That's not enough to push them to the top of our power rankings, but 8th isn't really all that bad.

7. St. Louis Blues

Preseason ranking: 7th in West

Record: 2-0-0, 4 points

SB Nation blog: St. Louis Game Time

Excitement in St. Louis! Undefeated through two! SLGT says, uh, not so fast.

Stop me if you've heard this one before. The Blues have started the season with two convincing wins. They look fast and skilled starting strong and killing the competition. The offense looks great. Enthusiasm is running really hot. The goaltending is strong. It's a great start to the year. And then they came back from Sweden and looked like dog crap. Oh wait, that was last year.

Call this a cautionary tale, a warning to you my fellow Blues fans. Look, we went down this road a season ago.

6. Los Angeles Kings

Preseason ranking: 5th in West

Record: 2-1-0, 4 points

SB Nation blogs: Jewels From The Crown, Battle of California

Slash performed the national anthem before their home opener. They won. I smell a good luck charm. 

5. Colorado Avalanche

Preseason ranking: 8th in West

Record: 2-1-0, 4 points

SB Nation blog: Mile High Hockey

A win against the Stanley Cup Champs and a loss against the runners-up isn't a bad start to the season for the Avs. The highlight so far? Ryan Wilson almost killed Nikolay Zherdev.

4. Vancouver Canucks

Preseason ranking:

Record: 1-0-1, 3 points

SB Nation blogs: Nucks Misconduct

Roberto Luongo has been ridiculous so far this season -- perhaps the only reason the Nucks were able to pick up three of four points.

3. Nashville Predators

Preseason ranking: 9th in West

Record: 1-0-0, 2 points

SB Nation blogs: On the Forecheck

The Preds were snubbed in our preseason poll, selected in 9th, outside the playoff picture. In Week 1, they're right back in the mix, jumping nine spots to No. 3. How long will that last, however, with injuries to Pekka Rinne and Martin Erat, among others?

2. San Jose Sharks

Preseason ranking: 2nd in West

Record: 1-0-1, 3 points

SB Nation blogs: Fear The Fin, Battle of California

If you win a game in Sweden, but nobody is there to see it, did it really happen?

Second, NHL needs to be reasonable when it comes to ticket prices. As David Pollak wrote on his blog, the cheapest tickets to the game were $110. This is almost how much the cheapest tickets were to the Western Conference Final in HP Pavilion last May. I can't blame the Swedish - even in a wealthy but a socialist country like Sweden, $120 a ticket is not a small price to pay to attend a sporting event. As a result, the arena was half empty and quiet for two nights in a row.

1. Detroit Red Wings

Preseason ranking: 4th in West

Record: 2-0-1, 5 points

SB Nation blogs: Winging It In Motown

In our preseason power rankings, we wrote "The Wings are always going to be around. Just deal with it." That fits even better now, as they sit atop the West rankings.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

15. Florida Panthers

Preseason ranking: 15th in East

Record: 0-2-0, 0 points

SB Nation blog: Litter Box Cats

Sure, Roberto Luongo might have stood on his head in Monday night's Canucks victory over the Panthers. A loss is a loss, though, and the Cats have two of them. They're the only Eastern team without a point yet.

14. Ottawa Senators

Preseason ranking: 9th in East

Record: 0-2-1, 1 point

SB Nation blog: Silver Seven

Goaltending was supposed to be the Senators biggest concern this season. So far, it's the only thing that's looked competent. That, um, doesn't bode well.

13. New York Islanders

Preseason ranking: 14th in East

Record: 1-0-1, 3 points

SB Nation blog: Lighthouse Hockey

John Tavares. Kyle Okposo. Mark Streit. These are the Isles' three best players. This is the Isles' injury report.

12. Atlanta Thrashers

Preseason ranking: 13th in East

Record: 1-2-0, 2 points

SB Nation blog: Bird Watchers Anonymous

Somehow, the Thrashers were able to overcome the terrifying collapse of their goaltender in the first game of the year on Friday night and still have the ability to stick with things and win a hockey game against the reigning President's Trophy winners.

11. Montreal Canadiens

Preseason ranking: 6th in East

Record: 1-1-0, 2 points

SB Nation blog: Eyes On The Prize

Carey Price has not had a nice start to his reign as the bonafide No. 1 goaltender in Montreal, especially after an opening night loss to rival Toronto. The Habs did leave off where they left off last year against Pittsburgh, though, beating the Pens in just the second game ever at CONSOL Energy Center.

10. New Jersey Devils

Preseason ranking: 3rd in East

Record: 0-2-1, 1 point

SB Nation blog: In Lou We Trust

When you can't even dress a full team for one game and you lose another game by five goals, you're going to drop seven spots in the power rankings.

9. Buffalo Sabres

Preseason ranking: 7th in East

Record: 1-2-0, 2 points

SB Nation blog: Die By The Blade

The story in Buffalo surrounds Jason Pominville and his health after he was crushed by Niklas Hjalmarsson on Monday night.

8. New York Rangers

Preseason ranking: 10th in East

Record: 1-1-0, 2 points

SB Nation blog: Blueshirt Banter

Wade Redden is gone. That alone is enough to force the Rangers up two spots in our rankings.

7. Tampa Bay Lightning

Preseason ranking: 8th in East

Record: 1-0-0, 2 points

SB Nation blog: Raw Charge

An encouraging sign for the Bolts on the Steve Downie front:

Good for Steve Downie that he wouldn't let himself be baited into taking a penalty. Two years ago, he would've gone there. It's great that he plays with an edge, but let's hope he continues to stay on the edge and doesn't go over it too often.

6. Boston Bruins

Preseason ranking: 5th in East

Record: 1-1-0, 2 points

SB Nation blog: Stanley Cup of Chowder

Something about the food in Europe clearly put Peter Chiarelli in the giving mood. While in Prague, the Bruins re-upped Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron to long-term contract extensions.

5. Pittsburgh Penguins

Preseason ranking: 2nd in East

Record: 1-2-0, 2 points

SB Nation blog: Pensburgh

In two games at the new CONSOL Energy Center, the Pens are 0-2. Mellon Arena still stands across the street... wanna move back, guys?

4. Toronto Maple Leafs

Preseason ranking: 11th in East

Record: 2-0-0, 4 points

SB Nation blog: Pension Plan Puppets

In the preseason poll, we were shocked that the Leafs were all the way up at No. 11. In the Week 1 poll, well... look what two wins brings you. Enjoy it while it lasts, Toronto.

3. Carolina Hurricanes

Preseason ranking: 12 in East

Record: 2-0-0, 4 points

SB Nation blog: Canes Country

The only team to sweep both games they played in Europe, the Hurricanes come back to North America with an unblemished record.

2. Philadelphia Flyers

Preseason ranking: 4th in East

Record: 2-0-1, 5 points

SB Nation blog: Broad Street Hockey

Rookie goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky earned the opening night start in Pittsburgh. In the process, he turned aside 29 Penguins shots and picked up the first win in the NHL's newest arena. There is hope at the goaltending position in Philly. Real, actual hope.

1. Washington Capitals

Preseason ranking: 1st in East

Record: 2-1-0, 4 points

SB Nation blog: Japers' Rink

Alex Ovechkin scored an OT goal on Monday night to lift the Caps over the Ottawa Senators. Of course he did.