Nashville Predators: Opening Week Central Division Power Rankings

General view prior to announcements for the game between the Nashville Predators and the Columbus Blue Jackets at Bridgestone Arena on January 14, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
General view prior to announcements for the game between the Nashville Predators and the Columbus Blue Jackets at Bridgestone Arena on January 14, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /
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Nashville Predators
Jan 16, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators defenseman Matt Benning (5) Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

Colin Blouin’s Rankings (@colinblouin)

1. Tampa Bay Lightning 2-0-0 (Previous: 1)

2. Carolina Hurricanes 1-1-0 (Previous: 2)

3. Nashville Predators 2-0-0 (Previous: 4)

4. Florida Panthers 1-0-0 (Previous: 5)

5. Dallas Stars 0-0-0 (Previous: 3)

6. Columbus Blue Jackets 0-2-0 (Previous: 6)

7. Detroit Red Wings 1-1-0 (Previous: 8)

8. Chicago Blackhawks 0-3-0 (Previous: 7)

The reign continues for the Tampa Bay Lightning. The phrase goes that to be the king, you have to beat the king, but so far, nobody has done so.

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The Hurricanes had a slip up against an unexpected upstart Red Wings team, but their coaching and players will continue to make them formidable in the division. I expect the Hurricanes to get back on track, especially as a team that has shown they can figure it out as the season goes on, and the divisional make-up benefits their team mentality.

The Predators meanwhile have moved up my rankings to the third spot – I initially had them at No.4 in the division. They are showing a different kind of hockey than what the Smashville faithful have seen the last two years, playing a well-rounded game predicated on smart puck movement and opportunistic offense.

Nashville’s third defensive pairing, a pairing that has been a liability for the team in the past, is now playing meaningful minutes and not giving up big plays, while making big plays of their own – their play has allowed for weight to be lifted off the top two defensive pairings.

The Panthers have started strong enough, meanwhile, the Stars still have not gotten their season underway due to the COVID-19 pandemic – you have to think starting behind everyone else and with a limited camp may put them in an uphill battle within a tough division.

The Blue Jackets still have one of the best defensive top pairings, but have shown vulnerability after that top pairing.

The Red Wings stole a game from the Hurricanes, and have shown improvement, but it may not be sustainable success based on the roster makeup.

The Blackhawks…well…they have so many more questions than answers.