Joel Embiid Should be Considered an MVP Candidate
It is only January and a lot of people are talking about either James Harden or Giannis Antetokounmpo to win the MVP, but what about Joel Embiid?
The NHL season is almost one month old. The last time I did these top 10 rankings was before the season began. With that in mind, who are the top 10 teams in the NHL right now?
10. Calgary Flames: The Flames look a lot better under Bill Peters so far. Johhny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk have good chemistry together. They have a solid blue line. Calgary needs quality goaltending to keep this up. Their record is 7-5-1 with 15 points so far this season.
9. San Jose Sharks: The Sharks lead the Pacific Division with a 6-3-3 record with 15 points. Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns on defense has been a work in progress. Martin Jones hasn't been off to a hot start. San Jose will be fine because they play in a weak division.
8. Minnesota Wild: Devan Dubnyk has been a hot goalie for the Wild so far this season. His record is 5-2-2 with a .937 save percentage and a 2.19 GAA. Without him, Minnesota would be in a lot of trouble. They have a good roster, but Dubnyk is the backbone of this team. The Wild's record so far this season is 7-3-2 with 16 points.
7. Winnipeg Jets: The Jets will play a Global Series against the Florida Panthers on Thursday and Friday in Finland. Winnipeg will be a team to be reckoned with as the season progresses. The Winnipeg Jets have a very good offense. Goalie Connor Hellebuyck is still the backbone of this team. Winnipeg's record so far this season is 7-4-1 with 15 points.
6. Boston Bruins: The Bruins have a goalie dilemma on their hands. Jarsolav Halak has outplayed Tuukka Rask this season. Halak's record is 4-0-2 with a .947 save percentage and a 1.52 GAA, along with two shutouts. Rask's record is 3-3 with a .902 save percentage and a 3.15 GAA. They don't have the depth like last season. To no surprise, Patrice Bergeron (19 points), David Pastrnak (16 points), and Brad Marchand (15 points) are the top three players in points on the team and they all play on the same line. The defense has not been the same this season. The Boston Bruins record so far this season is 7-3-2 with 16 points.
5. Toronto Maple Leafs: Toronto has a lethal offense, but Auston Matthews being sidelined for the next four weeks with a shoulder injury could haunt them. He has scored 10 goals and recorded six assists so far this season. His plus/minus is -1. William Nylander is still not signed and that isn't a good thing. Mitchell Marner, Zach Hyman, Kasperi Kapanen, and John Tavares need to step up big time. The defense and goaltending is a concern. They have a big match up on the road this weekend against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Toronto Maple Leafs got blanked 3-0 at home the last time these two teams played each other. Toronto's record so far this season is 8-4 with 16 points.
4. Pittsburgh Penguins: Pittsburgh looked fresh in the first month of the season. Because of it, they are off to a 6-2-2 start with 14 points. They currently lead the Metropolitan Division. Sidney Crosby is heating up. He has scored six goals in the last four games. Evgeni Malkin has recorded 19 points (six goals and 13 assists) so far this season. His plus/minus is 4. Kris Letang has found his game back. He has scored four goals and recorded seven assists so far this season. His plus/minus is 8. The Pittsburgh Penguins are tired for the third best goal differential in the NHL with the Tampa Bay Lightning at 11. Matt Murray has been inconsistent so far this season.
3. Colorado Avalanche: After being irrelevant two years ago, the Avalanche are growing and becoming one of the most dangerous teams in the league. They play in a tough Central Division. The goaltending tandem of Semyon Varlamov and Philipp Grubauer is working. Mikko Rantanen leads Colorado in scoring with 21 points. Nathan MacKinnon is second in scoring on the team with 18 points. They continue to get better every day. The Colorado Avalanche have the best goal differential in the NHL at 14. They are currently in second place in the division. Their record so far this season is 7-3-2 with 16 points.
2. Nashville Predators: The Predators haven't been much of a disappointment so far this season. They currently lead a tough Central Division with a 9-3 record. Nashville has the second best goal differential in the NHL at 13. They are a balanced team. Juuse Saros has played more games than Pekka Rinne this season. Saros's record is 6-2 with a .917 save percentage and a 2.49 GAA, along with one shutout.
1. Tampa Bay Lightning: The Lightning just love to win games during the regular season. They got off to a hot start last season as well. Tampa Bay is tied for the third best goal differential in the NHL with the Pittsburgh Penguins at 11. Brayden Point leads Tampa Bay with 14 points. Andrei Vasilevskiy could be the best goalie in the league. His record is 6-1-1 with a .935 save percentage and a 1.98 GAA, along with one shutout. His athleticism allows him to take over a game. The Tampa Bay Lightning's record so far this season is 8-2-1 with 17 points.