NHL Power Ranking: No. 32 Sabers to No. 1 Lightning

Before the puck drops on Tuesday to start the season, this is where we see the 32 clubs from worst to first. (Spoiler alert: the Canucks are near the middle.)

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The 2021-22 NHL season features a team looking to accomplish a feat not accomplished in a couple of generations, a new franchise, and clubs wanting to bounce back from a disappointing campaign or step up.


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As the league returns a bit to normal after two condensed seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we can look forward to the twists and turns that make being a hockey fan so exciting.

Before the puck drops on Tuesday to start the season, this is where we see the 32 clubs from worst to first.

32. Buffalo Sabers

No resolution regarding Jack Eichel’s surgery and business lawsuit is another bloody chapter in the franchise’s history.

31. Arizona Coyotes

The Coyotes did a teardown to rebuild once again, with another year of “where will they move” as well.

30. Anaheim Ducks

Speaking of rebuilds, the Ducks are still on their way to the baseline phase as they recruit more youngsters.

29. Detroit Red Wings

The Hockeytown, USA club is not ready to take a big step forward, if there is one.


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28. Sharks of San José

Not having Evander Kane, last year’s top points producer, is probably a blessing for a club that is getting to the bottom.

27. Columbus Blue Jackets

Since they beat Tampa Bay in the first round in 2019, it has been a massive brain drain.

26. Nashville Predators

The late-season hot streak that put the Predators in the playoffs last season is about to become a distant memory.

25. Los Angeles Kings

Adding free agent Phillip Danault was positive, but the holes in this team are huge. Losing rookie Quinton Byfield to a broken ankle is a brutal start.

24. Montreal Canadiens

Her Cinderella run towards the Stanley Cup final will be a great memory for a team that will be without goalkeeper Carey Price for the first month.


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23. Seattle Kraken

The Kraken are not a discarded team, but they temper expectations of doubling the success of the Vegas Golden Knights in their inaugural season.

22. Devils of New Jersey

The Devils are a young team ready to move on to the next phase of their rebuilding, but they are not ready for prime time yet.

21. Ottawa Senators

The Senators are better than the start of last season, but not as good as their last push. Brady Tkachuk’s difficult renewal created an unnecessary distraction.

20. Dallas Stars

Almost everything that could have gone wrong last season went wrong for the 2020 Cup finalists, who have an aging core.

19. Chicago Blackhawks

The acquisition of defender Seth Jones, forward Tyler Johnson and goalkeeper Marc-Andre Fleury were bold steps.


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18. Vancouver Canucks

The Canucks aren’t as bad as their disastrous finale last season, but they aren’t a definitive playoff team despite their young talent.

17. Pittsburgh Penguins

A new chapter is coming soon with Evgeni Malkin who will miss the start of the season, Sidney Crosby is recovering from injury and from holes in the roster.

16. Philadelphia Flyers

Massive changes were needed after a disappointing season, but the most important key will be whether goalkeeper Carter Hart regains his form.

15. Calgary Flames

Contract extensions or trades involving Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk will be front and center for a middleweight team.

14. New York Rangers

The talent nearly pushed the Rangers to the playoffs last season, and the toughness they added will make all the difference.


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13. St. Louis Blues

Having a disgruntled star in Vladimir Tarasenko could further derail things for the 2019 champions.

12. Minnesota Wild

The Wild finished surprisingly ninth overall last season thanks to their young talent, but be prepared for a step back before a leap forward.

11. Boston Bruins

The changing of the guard is about to be in full swing for a team that reached the 2019 Cup final before living through two disappointing years.

10. Edmonton Oilers

Zach Hyman adds depth of attack for a club that relies so much on Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, but question marks abound.

9. Washington Capitals

Alex Ovechkin’s chase for Wayne Gretzky’s goal record will become a spotlight as Father Time hits the 2018 champions.


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8. Winnipeg Jets

Being swept by the Canadiens in the second round of the playoffs ultimately resulted in a much-needed revamped defense corps.

7. Toronto Maple Leafs

The time has come for a real playoff run, not a first-round surprise, although attention to goal will be a big focus throughout the season.

6. Carolina Hurricanes

Despite knocking on the door, the Hurricanes made big changes, including a questionable new goalkeeping tandem of Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta.

5. Florida Panthers

Without top defender Aaron Ekblad, the Panthers gave the Tampa Bay Lightning a lot to handle on the road to the title. Truly a team to follow.

4. Vegas Golden Knights

Potential Presidents’ Trophy winners did not address the goal-scoring issues that sank them into the playoffs.

3. New York Islanders

Losing to the Lightning in the playoff semifinals in each of the past two seasons shows exactly what task is at hand.

2. Colorado Avalanche

Like the Islands, Avalanche must knock down the door this season and make a long playoff run to dispel the underperforming tag.

1. Tampa Bay Lightning

The last team to win three consecutive titles were the Islanders during their four-year career in the early 1980s. Tampa Bay lost its entire third line in the offseason, but added a pair of veterans in Corey Perry and Pierre-Edouard. Bellemare to make history.



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