WESTERN CONFERENCE POWER RANKINGS
1. San Jose Sharks: Adding D Erik Karlsson has morphed the Sharks into a top contender. A power play featuring Karlsson and defenseman Brent Burns on the point is potent.
2. Winnipeg Jets: Experience from a run to the conference finals should help the Jets’ dynamic offense and rock-solid defense, led by goalie Connor Hellebuyck.
3. Nashville Predators: Familiar faces such as goalie Pekka Rinne, defenseman P.K. Subban and winger Filip Forsberg are back in the mix, so expect the Predators to be elite again.
4. Vegas Golden Knights: It’ll be tough to duplicate the success of a first-season run to the Cup Finals, but the acquisitions of scorers Paul Stastny and Max Pacioretty could ward off a slump in the team’s second season.
5. St. Louis Blues: The Blues are poised to be better after bringing in forwards Ryan O’Reilly, Tyler Bozak, David Perron and Patrick Maroon; and, winger Robby Fabbri is back after missing last season because of an injury.
6. Colorado Avalanche: Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen combined for 68 goals and 181 points in 2017-18 to help the Avalanche reach the playoffs after it finished last in the NHL the previous season.
7. Los Angeles Kings: A core that includes goalie Jonathan Quick, No. 1 defenseman Drew Doughty and center Anze Kopitar is always intriguing. The return of Ilya Kovalchuk to the NHL after a stint in the KHL will help.
8. Wild: Basically the same group that has struggled in the playoffs in recent years. This is a team that has a knack for being competitive.
9. Dallas Stars: Talent is there, with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn at forward and John Klingberg and Miro Heiskanen headlining the defense, but consistency is in question.
10. Anaheim Ducks: Corey Perry’s knee is healing as the season starts. Adam Henrique was a good in-season acquisition, but the Ducks didn’t do much in the summer after getting swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Sharks.
11. Edmonton Oilers: Connor McDavid is a strong candidate to lead the NHL in scoring again, but the supporting cast fell flat last season.
12. Chicago Blackhawks: Goalie Corey Crawford’s recovery from a concussion makes the Blackhawks’ potential murky, but it’s tough to imagine two consecutive down seasons for the recent champions, who still have star power.
13. Arizona Coyotes: Offseason arrivals such as Alex Galchenyuk and Michael Grabner appear likely to spark more growth in Arizona during Year 2 of coach Rick Tocchet’s tenure.
14. Calgary Flames: While the Flames made a slew of changes — at coach, up front and on defense — it’s unclear how all the pieces will fit together.
15. Vancouver Canucks: It could take some time for the Canucks to recalibrate after losing the Sedins to retirement. Rookie forward Elias Pettersson has turned heads in the preseason.