When the defending champs go out and add the best free agent on the market, there is little reason to look any further when seeking this year's favourites.
In TSN.ca's 2008-2009 preseason Power Rankings, the Wings are flying high above the competition.
The Wings have a comfortable gap above their challengers, the best of which are the Montreal Canadiens followed by three Pacific Division powers -- Anaheim, San Jose and Dallas.
A couple of young teams on the rise, the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals follow, while Pennsylvania is represented in spots eight and nine.
The Canadian teams are represented throughout, with Montreal at No. 2, then a string in the middle of the league with Ottawa, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary taking spots 13 through 16.
The last Canadian team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, sits at 27, ahead of only the Kings, Thrashers and Islanders.
For more on the latest rankings, click here.
Scott Cullen can be reached at email@example.com