NHL Top 10 Power Rankings

By Eric Antoine, Posted: 12/07/16 10:28PM EST

With less than 30 games played, it's still early in the NHL's 2016-17 season, but we've already seen enough hockey to start assessing which teams are becoming contenders and which teams are trying to keep up.

The gap between the top and bottom teams is pretty tight, and certainly in the middle of the pack, where there isn't much separating teams for the moment. It's a long season, and teams will go on winning/losing streaks, and we've already seen a host of injuries to star players, which will certainly have an impact over the long haul.

So, with plenty of hockey yet to be played, lets have a look at where we are now, and who we envision will be the top contenders for the Stanley cup this season.

1. Pittsburgh Penguins
The defending champs are currently leading the Metropolitan division. They're only two points off league leaders Montreal, and so far Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby have remained healthy, despite the latter missing the start of the season due to another concussion. They have two solid goalies and tons of playoff experience. A repeat would not be a surprise to anyone.

2. New York Rangers
Rick Nash is healthy The team is getting tons of scoring production from all four lines, and they still have their world class goalie Henrik Lundqvist, not to mention a solid defense. They will be tough to beat in the playoffs, as always.

3. Chicago Blackhawks
Goalie Corey Crawford is out for 2-3 weeks with an appendectomy, but the team has plenty of depth and experience overall, so they should be in the hunt all season and in the playoffs.

4. Montreal Canadiens
The league leaders in points are currently 4th in the rankings, due to being in a similar position last year, before the great collapse which saw them miss out on the playoffs. However, Carey Price is healthy and Shea Weber is a huge addition to the team. They could actually win it this year.

5. Tampa Bay Lightning
Losing captain Steve Stamkos to a knee injury definitely hurts their prospects. Hopefully he will be back before the end of the season. They will need others to contribute with the scoring, but the defense and goaltending are still strong.

6. Washington Capitals
The Caps were on fire last season, before they eventually choked in the playoffs, as they seem to do ever year. There is tons of firepower and a top goalie in place. They need to add a defensive leader before the trade deadline. My advice would be to add a Chara-type defensman for the post-season.

7. San Jose Sharks
After making the Stanley cup finals last year, the team remained intact for this season with tons of veteran leadership. The core and experience are there for another run at the cup this season. Need more consistency.

8. Columbus Blue Jackets
The Jackets have had a strong start to the season and are 8-1-2 in their last 11 games. They have the fewest regulation losses so far this year. An incredible turn around from last year's dismal campaign.

9. St, Louis Blues
This is a team that should hang around the top half of the division. The only question is whether they can take the next step. The pieces are in place for another run  this season. Still skeptical.

10. Los Angeles Kings
The Kings had a slow start to the season and they lost their top goaltender, Jonathan Quick, to injury. Peter Budaj has filled in nicely, and the team still has plenty of veteran leadership and talent. They are 6-2-2 in their last 10 games.

Several teams(Edmonton,Philadelphia, Boston, Ottawa, Anaheim) barely missed out on the top 10, but could easily find themselves among the elite soon.  

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