Although the lockout is still threatening the existence of the 2012-2013 season, ESPN.com has still decided to release their preseason power rankings, placing the Blues at seventh. St. Louis is the fourth highest team in the Western Conference, and the top in the Central Division. To be sure, ESPN is counting on the talented core and stingy defense to drive the Blues towards a division title, and also mention the desire to see some young talent (like Vladimir Tarasenko) on NHL ice to add firepower to what was a very mundane offense at times last season.
The top three teams in rankings are the defending Stanley Cup Champion LA Kings, the New York Rangers, and the Pittsburgh Penguins, all of which are loaded on the offensive end. The Kings retained much of their roster, and have a great starting defensive pair and goaltender. The Rangers added perennial 30-goal scorer Rick Nash and have arguably the most talented blue line in the NHL. Pittsburgh is always a contender, and with a healthy Sidney Crosby they would have the best top two lines in hockey. The defending Eastern Conference Champion Devils sit at fifth, a little high by my calculations, especially with the loss of Zach Parise.
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