Check back each week for updated On Top of the Line Sports NHL Power Rankings for the 2021-22 campaign. In this edition, we’re highlighting one eyebrow-raising statistic for each of the league’s 32 clubs.
1. Florida Panthers (44-15-6)
Previous rank: 1
The Panthers are producing plenty of eye-popping numbers this season, and many pertain to their explosive offense. But one figure that really jumps out illustrates Florida’s resilience. The Panthers lead the NHL in winning percentage when trailing after two periods (.364).
2. Colorado Avalanche (46-14-6)
Previous rank: 3
Cale Makar has his sights set on 30 goals after setting a franchise record for defensemen with his 24th of the campaign on Friday. Hitting the next benchmark would put the 23-year-old Avalanche star in rarified air among blue-liners in NHL history, and he’d be the first to do it since Mike Green in 2008-09.
3. Carolina Hurricanes (43-15-7)
Previous rank: 2
The Hurricanes are one of the most electrifying teams in the league, but they don’t get enough credit for how well they prevent goals. Carolina sits atop the NHL with an 89.2% penalty-kill rate.
4. Calgary Flames (40-17-8)
Previous rank: 4
Johnny Gaudreau is working his way into the Hart Trophy discussion. The Flames star leads the league with a whopping 70 even-strength points. That’s 10 more than the players tied for second, and it accounts for nearly 80% of his overall point total.
5. Boston Bruins (41-19-5)
Previous rank: 8
It’s no wonder the Bruins have won four straight games and eight of their last 10. Boston sits atop the NHL in expected goals for percentage at five-on-five (56.7).
6. New York Rangers (42-19-5)
Previous rank: 6
The Rangers are a very good team, but extraordinary efforts from Igor Shesterkin and Chris Kreider have masked New York’s deficiencies. The Blueshirts’ offense hasn’t clicked as a whole, as illustrated by the fact that they’re generating only 28.8 shots per game. That ranks third-worst in the league.
7. Tampa Bay Lightning (41-18-6)
Previous rank: 5
It’s mostly been business as usual for the two-time defending champions, but one concerning trend is on special teams. The Lightning sit in the middle of the pack in terms of power-play efficiency. Tampa Bay has converted at only 20.7% this season, which puts them 16th in that department.
8. Minnesota Wild (40-20-4)
Previous rank: 13
The Wild have done a lot of things well in 2021-22, but one trend that stands out as a potential problem come playoff time is their penalty kill. Minnesota sits 23rd in that category at 76.2%.
9. Pittsburgh Penguins (40-17-10)
Previous rank: 7
Tristan Jarry has been fairly consistent in the Penguins’ crease this season, and he’s raised his game recently. The netminder who struggled mightily in last year’s playoffs authored a superb eight-game run from Feb. 26 to March 22, going 7-1-0 with a dazzling .945 save percentage.
10. Toronto Maple Leafs (41-19-5)
Previous rank: 9
There’s a reason the Maple Leafs’ goaltending has been such a consistent talking point. Toronto has the NHL’s worst save percentage at five-on-five (.888) since the calendar flipped to 2022. That figure was compounded by Erik Kallgren’s .823 showing against the lottery-bound Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.
11. Washington Capitals (37-20-10)
Previous rank: 10
Since Alex Ovechkin entered the NHL in 2005-06, the Capitals’ power play ranks No. 1 in the league. This season, though, they sit 20th. That stands to be their worst power-play rank since they finished 24th in 2006-07 – Ovechkin’s sophomore campaign.
12. Los Angeles Kings (36-22-9)
Previous rank: 14
The Kings are due to have some puck luck go their way. They rank 27th in the NHL in PDO (shooting percentage plus save percentage) at all strengths, which is the worst among any current playoff team.
13. Nashville Predators (38-24-4)
Previous rank: 12
While the same can be said for all teams, Nashville would be a significantly better squad if its players were more disciplined. No team takes more penalties than the Preds, and they only have a league-average penalty kill.
14. Winnipeg Jets (32-25-10)
Previous rank: 18
Kyle Connor has emerged as the face of the Jets amid a roller-coaster campaign for the club. If you disagree, consider that the 25-year-old sniper is 20 points clear of Mark Scheifele for the team lead.
15. St. Louis Blues (35-20-9)
Previous rank: 11
Are the Blues the sharpest shooting team in the league? Or are they riding some puck luck? Either way, they own the best shooting percentage in the league at 11.4%.
16. Edmonton Oilers (36-25-5)
Previous rank: 15
Starting on time has been an issue for the Oilers. They’ve scored the first goal of the game just 23 times in 66 opportunities – the second-worst mark in the league behind Seattle. When they do score first, though, their .913 winning percentage is the NHL’s best.
17. Dallas Stars (36-25-3)
Previous rank: 16
As a veteran, battle-tested team, this may come as no surprise, but the Stars are tied for second in terms of winning percentage (.690) in one-goal games. Dallas may be on the bubble of the playoffs, but it’ll be a tough out if it manages to squeak in.
18. Vancouver Canucks (32-26-9)
Previous rank: 17
The Canucks’ slow start really set them back. Since Bruce Boudreau took over as head coach on Dec. 5, Vancouver’s been a top-10 team in terms of points percentage.
19. Vegas Golden Knights (36-28-4)
Previous rank: 19
The Golden Knights were considered a Cup favorite at the start of the year, but they’ve been decimated by injuries and are now scrapping for a wild-card spot. Their 408 man-games lost as of March 26 was the second-highest total in the league and easily topped all playoff clubs.
20. New York Islanders (28-27-9)
Previous rank: 23
The future isn’t looking too bright on Long Island. Not only are the Islanders set to miss the playoffs this season, but they’re also the oldest team in the league with an average age of 30. Yes, Zdeno Chara drives that total up, but the Isles are clearly in need of a youth movement.
21. Columbus Blue Jackets (32-29-5)
Previous rank: 20
The days of Columbus being a juggernaut defensive team are long gone. The Blue Jackets’ expected goals against per 60 minutes at five-on-five (2.84) is the worst in the NHL.
22. San Jose Sharks (29-28-8)
Previous rank: 22
The Sharks’ offense lacks bite, to say the least. San Jose generates only 45.09% of shot attempts (Corsi For percentage) at five-on-five, the second-worst clip across the league.
23. Buffalo Sabres (23-33-10)
Previous rank: 28
Tage Thompson entered the year with 35 points in 145 career games. In 2021-22, he’s got 49 points in 62 appearances. The Sabres must be hoping his emergence is a sign of things to come for a perpetually rebuilding franchise looking to turn a corner.
24. Chicago Blackhawks (24-32-10)
Previous rank: 25
The Blackhawks still have some high-profile offensive weapons but often need more than 60 minutes for them to make a difference. Chicago’s 15 regulation wins on the year put them in a tie with two other clubs for 31st.
25. Philadelphia Flyers (21-34-11)
Previous rank: 30
The lowly Flyers have had two losing streaks of at least 10 games this season. Enough said.
26. Montreal Canadiens (18-37-11)
Previous rank: 29
The Canadiens were 8-30-7 under Dominique Ducharme and are 10-7-4 under Martin St. Louis. Montreal’s new coaching hire looks like a slam dunk.
27. Detroit Red Wings (26-32-8)
Hard to encapsulate the Red Wings’ season better than that.
28. Anaheim Ducks (27-29-11)
Previous rank: 21
Anaheim’s hot start was never meant to be. Since the calendar turned to 2022, the Ducks have been a bottom-five team in the league. To nobody’s surprise, that also coincides with John Gibson’s save percentage, from .915 in his first 25 games to .891 in his last 22 appearances.
29. Ottawa Senators (23-36-6)
Previous rank: 27
Life is tough as a rebuilding team in the Atlantic Division. The Senators have faced the toughest schedule in the league this season, according to Hockey Reference.
30. New Jersey Devils (24-37-5)
Previous rank: 26
All of New Jersey’s top five scorers this season are 23 or younger. Team results haven’t shown up yet, but the Devils appear to be building something promising.
31. Seattle Kraken (20-39-6)
Previous rank: 32
The Kraken’s team save percentage of .877 is by far the NHL’s worst. Average goaltending would have given Seattle a chance in its inaugural season. To make matters worse, the duo of Philipp Grubauer and Chris Driedger is under contract for at least the next two years with a hefty combined cap hit.
32. Arizona Coyotes (20-40-5)
Previous rank: 31
Arizona hasn’t produced many memorable moments on the ice in 2021-22, but the Coyotes have accrued a whopping seven picks in the first two rounds of this year’s draft. Gotta start somewhere.