By Marvin A Azrak
Welcome to my final power rankings of the 2022 NHL season which means the parenthesis’s you see today date back to October. The regular season has come to an end which means playoff hockey is upon us beginning Monday evening. I will intentionally breeze through the top 16 teams on this list because I want to save face for my playoff predictions. However please note that the order of the super 16 doesn’t reflect my playoff bracket. As for the inferior 16, welcome to your last article for a while via yours truly.
1. Florida Panthers(58-18-6 122 pts) (6)
2. Colorado Avalanche(56-19-7, 119 pts) (3)
3. Carolina Hurricanes(54-20-8 116 pts) (4)
4. Minneapolis Wild(53-22-7, 113 pts) (10)
5. Toronto Maple Leafs (54-31-7, 115 pts) (8)
6. Tampa Bay Lightning(51-23-8, 110 pts) (1)
7. Calgary Flames(50-21-11, 111 pts) (22)
8. New York Rangers (52-24-6, 110 pts) (18)
9. Boston Bruins(51-26-5 107 pts) (7)
10. St Louis Blues(49-22-11 109 pts) (16)
11. Edmonton Oilers(49-27-6, 104 pts) (14)
12. Pittsburgh Penguins(46-25-11, 103 pts) (13)
13. Nashville Predators( 45-30-7, 97 pts) (24)
14. Dallas Stars(46-30-6, 98 pts) (15)
15. Los Angeles Kings (44-27-11 99 pts) (20)
16. Washington Capitals(44-26-12, 100 pts) (9)
17. Vegas Golden Knights( 43-31-8, 94 pts) (2)
Once a popular Stanley Cup pick especially after the acquisition of Jack Eichel from Buffalo, the Knights astoundingly crashed and burned out of playoff positioning due to injuries to guys like Mark Stone and Robin Lehner. But stupendous play out of rookie goaltender Logan Thomas as well as all-star Shea Thedore had Vegas knocking on the door of a postseason berth into the season’s final week, only to drop three straight shootouts to the Sharks, Stars and Blackhawks, with their shooters going 0 for 17 with the season on the line. This colossal disappointment is a stain on the resume of coach Peter Debor, as he will be known as the man that was behind the bench when the Golden Knights missed the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
18. Vancouver Canucks(40-30-12, 92 pts) (23)
They just ran out of time. 8-15-2, was the record of this team when they cleaned house, relieving Jim Benning and Travis Green of their duties. From there, they brought on Jim Rutherford as the Canucks’ president of hockey operations, Bruce Boudreau as the new head coach, and Patrik Allvin as the new general manager. Under Bryce , they went on to win their next seven straight and go 9-0-1 over the first 10 games with their new bench boss. They finished with a record of 32-16-10 since the switch, which was a points percentage of .637%. Twenty four more games abiding by that pace would have put them just above the Edmonton Oilers, who have a P% of .634%, and finished second in the Pacific Division and are gearing up for the playoffs.
Led by JT Miller, who’s coming off a career season where he had 32 goals, 67 assists i for 99 points, stars Bo Horvat and Elias Pettersson, eclipsed the 30-goal plateau for the first time in his career, and Quinn Hughes partook in a breakout season of his own collecting 68 points over 76 games while hitting 60 assists for the first time in his young career; there’s a lot to like about the future in Vancouver.
19. Winnipeg Jets (39-32-11 89pts) (11)
On paper, they’re a playoff team but the Jets were never able to put it together throughout the season and now face an auspicious offseason of uncertainty in which direction to go in. Will Paul Maurice be back manning the team next year? Those questions among others ring in The epitome of mediocrity.
20. New York Islanders(37-35-10, 84 pts) (5)
New York was dug in by circumstances from the very beginning. There was the 13 game road trip to begin the season, then a COVID outbreak which escalated into an 11 game losing streak. By the time New York picked up their game and were reminiscent of their final- four selves from the past two years, it was March and it was too little too late in an historically lopsided Eastern Conference. It resulted in the team being officially eliminated for the first time since 2018, on April 17 after a 4-2 loss to the Maple Leafs, kickstarting a 2-6-1 finish to the campaign. However, while Zdeno Chara and Andy Greene may be retiring, the Islanders still have the core pieces in place to bounce back next year including a backbone goaltender in Ilya Sorokin.
21. Columbus Blue Jackets(37-38-7, 81 pts). (25)
Picked by some to finish last in the division, Columbus provided future ambitions with a middling season. Patrick Laine amassed the player the organization thought he would be when they traded for him last year; 18 year—old Cody Sillinger poured in 16 goals, tied for seventh all-time at his age, Jake Voracek morphed into an astute playmaker, and Andrew Peeke truly “peaked” this season by appearing in all 82 games this season, a feat only accomplished by 45/640 players in the NHL this season. While this team still needs work, at least they’re on the right track.
22. Ottawa Senators(33-42-7, 73 pts) (28)
A young team on the rise seems to be the Sens, who saw pending free agent Josh Norris and Brady Tkachuk each amass the 35 goal mark in their 4-2 season-finale win over the Flyers. For a team that endured multiple Covid-19 outbreaks and 374 man games lost to injury, finishing April 10-5-1 is a good feeling headed into what should be an interesting offseason.
23. San Jose Sharks (32-37-13, 77 pts) (27)
For an organization that had playoff aspirations, this was a disappointing campaign.But in a more positive light, the scoring on this team is there in the form of Timo Meir, Kevin Labanc, Brent Burns, Erik Karlsson, Logan Couture, and Tomas Hertl. Looking into 2023, San Jose is hopeful that hotshot prospects William Eklund, Thomas Bordeleau, and Brandon Coe make an impact next year and help a struggling offense in need of a spark to convoke the Sharks. According to HockeyReference.com, the team has an average save percentage, with Adin Hill erasing any fantasies of him being the goalie or the future and a subpar defense. These young talents could add the needed spark should the team not add worthwhile help in free agency.
24. Buffalo Sabres(32-39-11, 75pts) (32)
The rebuilding Sabres, of course, were out of the hunt from the outset. The roster was composed of unproven young talent, underachieving veterans and cheap journeymen free agents. Yet Buffalo put forth an encouraging season, and inspired confidence in their youth.
“It was the first time that I felt confident about our group in six years,” said veteran Kyle Okposo.
25. Detroit Red Wings(32-40-10, 74 pts) (29)
Parting ways with coach Jeff Blahshill tells you all you need to know and that the direction of this Red Wings team is in jeopardy and minimal gains doesn’t make GM Steve Yzerman happy.
26. Anaheim Ducks(31-37-14, 76pts) (31)
This was a disappointing season for the Ducks, considering they were in a playoff spot at the all-star break. While I don’t think many are surprised, it would’ve been nice to see more of the “Next Gen” in the playoffs led by Trevor Zegras.
27. New Jersey Devils(27-46-9, 63 pts)
The Devils have a volatile offense led by Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier, Yigor Sharengovich, Jesper Bratt, and Damon Severson. The problem? Nico Daws, McKenzie Blackwood, Jonathan Bernier and Andrew Hammond are simply not the answers in net this franchise is looking for, not to mention the pitiful defense and abominable coaching job by Lindy Ruff. This organization is a far cry from the Marty Brouder days and are in dire need of a makeover up top ASAP.
28. Seattle Kraken(27-49-6, 60 pts)
Let’s calm down. Yes Seattle didn’t live up to what Vegas did in year one, or even their own expectations mostly due to injury, yet have the benefit of the doubt since they’re just getting started. They’ll now enter their first full summer as a franchise as we’ll see what we can do. Honestly, it’s nice to have a new team in the NHL, so the playoffs/missed playoffs ratio is balanced out.
29. Chicago Blackhawks (28-42-12, 68 pts)
When are Patrick Kane and Jonathan Towes being dealt? It’s the only way this team can rebuild the right way. This was one of the worst seasons of hockey at the United Center I’ve seen in a while.
30. Philadelphia Flyers(25-46-11, 61 pts)
How to ruin a franchise 101” is what I learned from this year. There’s simply no continuity from the front office to the coaching staff and even the players. Everyone knows Mike Yo, who was named interim coach after the firing of Alain Vigneault, and he did nothing to persuade the front office of that perception, going 17-36-7 in the aftermath.
31. Arizona Coyotes( 25-50-7, 57 pts)
The only thing exciting in Yotes land these days is that they’re moving out of Glendale and into a new arena, sharing the home of the Arizona state hockey college hockey team with a capacity of 5,000 fans. However, they’ve earned admiration from around the league for closing out their 19 year-old barn in style, rallying from a 4-0 deficit for a 5-4 overtime victory over the Nashville Predators, who dropped to the last wild-card spot, and now must face the top-seeded Avalanche in round of one of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
32: Montreal Canadiens( 22-49-11, 55 pts)
After a revolutionary run to the Stanley Cup finals last year, the Habs did a 359.7(Lost 4-1 in final) and finished last in the NHL with the highest odds for #1 draft pick Shane Wright came to lottery day. The team cleaned house mid-season, giving Marc Bergevin, Trevor Timmons and Paul Wilson their walking papers in exchange for Jeff Gorton, new GM Kent Hughes ,and appointed hockey hall of famer Martian ST Louis as their new head coach. It resulted in the catalyst for an astounding finish to the season for Cole Caufield, who salvaged the Habs worst season in franchise history, scoring 22 times in his last 36 games to go along with 13 assists for 35 points. It’s what fans hope will be a sign back to relevancy beginning next season after a roller-coaster last couple of seasons for the 24 time Stanley Cup champions.
Playoff teams I have fun watching ranked:
- Maple Leafs