The 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs came to an end on Sunday night with the Colorado Avalanche defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning, 2-1, in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. It ended a dominant streak for the Avalanche to give them their first Cup in two decades, and ended the Lightning’s bid for a third straight championship.
It also ended what had been a sensational playoff run the past two months.
The postseason was filled with drama, storylines, series comebacks and great individual performances from several of the NHL’s best players.
In this week’s NHL Power Rankings, we take a look at the top 10 individual performances from the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Which players made the cut?
To this week’s NHL Power Rankings!
1. Cala MakarColorado avalanche. What a dominant season from start to finish. Makar won the Norris Trophy as the best overall defenseman during the regular season, and then followed it up with one of the best playoff runs we’ve seen from a defenseman in league history to win his first Conn Smythe Trophy. It’s just the fourth time a defenseman has won the Norris and Conn Smythe in the same season, putting him on a list that includes just bobby orr (who did it twice) and Nicklas Lidstrom (who did it once). Nice elite company.
He also finished the playoffs with 29 points in 20 games, giving him an average of 1.45 points per game. As defense.
Among defenders who played at least 15 games in a single postseason, that 1.45 average is fourth-best in league history, behind only Paul Coffey (2.06 in 1984-85), Orr (1.60 in 1971-72) and Brian Leetch (1.48). in 1993-94).
Along with offense, he also posted absolutely commanding possession and scoring opportunity numbers and was one of the best game drivers in the league. when he and Devon Toews they were together on the ice, the avalanche was unstoppable.
[Related: Makar wins Conn Smythe Trophy]
two. Connor McDavidEdmonton Tankers. McDavid did everything he could to drag the Oilers as far as possible, and it resulted in a run to the Western Conference finals, where they just met an Avalanche team. McDavid finished the playoffs with 33 total points, leading the league, even though he only played in 16 games. That’s an average of 2.06 per game, one of the best in NHL history. Only twice in the last 25 years has a player had more than 33 points in an entire postseason: Nikita Kucherov had 34 in 2019-20 with the benefit of the play-in/round-robin round to add a few games to his postseason, and Yevgeny Malkin he had 36 in 2009 while playing in 24 games.
McDavid, again, played in just 16 games.
Every time he was on the ice, he was a one-man wrecking crew for opposing teams.
[Related: Avalanche win Stanley Cup, end Lightning repeat bid]
3. Igor ShesterkinNew York Rangers. The Rangers are a very good team with a lot of top players and a strong young core. But considering how they actually played as a team in the playoffs? They didn’t have to be two wins away from the Cup final.
Igor Shesterkin was the reason.
Even though the Rangers were outshot, outshot, and mostly played in every round and in every game, they still managed to reach the Eastern Conference finals and even held a 2-0 series lead. before Lightning returned for four. consecutive wins. Shesterkin was a force throughout the postseason. He finished with a .929 save percentage despite facing more expected goals against (74.9) than any other goaltender in the playoffs and playing behind a team that had some of the worst possession numbers and scoring opportunities we’ve ever seen. seen from a conference finalist.
[Related: Rangers took big step forward but more work needed]
Four. Nathan MackinnonColorado avalanche. He may not have had the most goals or points, but if your team was playing Avalanche, the fear of God would creep in every time he stepped on the ice. Every game, every turn, it looked like it was shot out of a cannon and was all over the ice. He still ended up scoring 13 goals with 24 points in total in 20 games (impressive numbers) and also had 117 shots on goal. That’s just an absurd number. It’s also the most shots on goal a player has taken in a single postseason since shots were officially recorded, surpassing Henrik Zetterberg’s 116 during the 2007-08 playoffs. Zetterberg reached his mark in 22 games. MacKinnon played only 20 games.
5. jake oettingerDallas Stars. We only saw Oettinger play seven games in a series, but it was a dominant seven games. He finished with a .954 save percentage and nearly knocked the Stars out of their first-round series with Calgary. The Flames absolutely bombarded him throughout the series, dramatically outclassing the Stars, only for Oettinger to build a wall around the net of him. Don’t let the First Round loss take away from the way he played. He deserved better.
6. Leon DraisaitlEdmonton Tankers. He came close to matching McDavid point-for-point, and he did so while playing most of the playoffs at less than 100 percent. They put it a little lower because his best production came while he was in a line with McDavid. His game, and the Oilers’ game, dipped when he was running his own line. He is most likely due to a combination of health and lanemates. It’s still an incredible run, as he and McDavid led the Oilers to their best playoff run in more than 15 years.
7. Andrey Vasilyevskytampa bay lightning He’s one of the best (and especially big game) goalkeepers in league history, and it was another dominant run for him. The Lightnings weren’t as good overall as they were the last two years, and they needed to trust Vasilevskiy a little more. Especially early in the playoffs. He was more than up to the challenge, going 4-1 when the Lightning faced elimination and finishing the playoffs with a .922 save percentage in 23 games.
[Related: Even with free agency questions Avalanche are built to last]
8. Mika ZibanejadNew York Rangers. He got off to a slow start in the first round, but then fired up in Game 5 to help the Rangers overcome a 3-1 series deficit to start his career. He was money on the power play and had a 12 game streak through the playoffs where he scored 10 goals and 20 points. That included seven goals in an eight-game stretch during the second and third rounds.
9. Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightnings were extremely heavy at the top of this postseason and relied almost exclusively on their top Kucherov line, Steven StammosY Palate of Ondrej take offense. Kucherov was, again, his main offensive force and he not only led the team in scoring (being one of the top scorers in the league), he scored and assisted some of their best goalkeepers.
10 Jake GuentzelPittsburgh Penguins. Like Oettinger in Dallas, we only saw him in one round, but what a round it was. Guentzel not only scored eight goals in the seven games, but finished the postseason ranked 14th in goals, 25th in expected goals, and 35th in shots on goal despite playing only one round. He is the only player ranked in the top 40 in each category who did not play at least two full rounds. He was dominant.
eleven Kirill CaprizovMinnesota Wild. The Wild didn’t get the result he wanted in the playoffs, but you can’t blame Kaprizov for that. He scored seven goals in the six Wild games and was the most dominant player on the ice in that series. A true superstar. Minnesota’s first since Marian Gaborik.
12 Carter VerhaegheFlorida Panthers. The Panthers’ postseason might have been a big disappointment, but he wasn’t. He scored 12 points in 10 games and was their best offensive player. He almost single-handedly got the Panthers out of the first-round series against Washington.
13 Valeri NichushkinColorado avalanche. Not only did he have a great regular season and postseason, but he made a lot of money this offseason in free agency.
14 adam foxNew York Rangers. He will lead the Rangers blue line for years to come and had a great postseason run offensively, while also playing the best minutes defensively.
fifteen. Evander KaneEdmonton Tankers. He finished as one of the top scorers in the playoffs. Someone, whether it’s Edmonton or another team, is going to look past all the red flags and concerns and sign him for it.