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With the hockey season kicking off on October 7, it is time to take a look at how all the teams stack up with the NHL preseason power rankings 2022.
NHL preseason power rankings 2022
The NHL season will begin with a European doubleheader at the O2 Arena featuring the Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators on October 7 and 8. As for the first game in North America, that will take place on October 11 between the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning.
This season, like most, is a difficult one to predict. Sure, there are the expected top teams like the Avalanche, Lightning, and Hurricanes, but there are many teams in the middle that are capable of making a deep playoff run or missing out on the postseason entirely.
With many star players switching teams in the offseason, it will be interesting to see how these players fit with their new teams as the season unfolds. One thing is certain though, this season will be full of excitement and surprises.
The Arizona Coyotes head into the year as the projected worst team in my NHL preseason power rankings 2022-23.
The roster is not good enough to compete for a playoff spot. Arizona is in the middle of a rebuild and is expected to be near the bottom of the standings for the next couple of years.
It is going to be a weird season in Arizona, especially with the fact that they are playing in a 5,000-seat arena at Arizona State University. The good news is that the arena will provide a distraction from the poor performance on the ice that is expected this season.
The Chicago Blackhawks are in the midst of a long and brutal rebuild.
Although years away from competing for championships again, the team continues to delay the process as they trade tons of talent out the door. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane remain on the roster for now, but will likely be sent off by the trade deadline to acquire future assets.
The plan for the Blackhawks could not be simpler this year, which is to get rid of anything with trade value for the future and hope the first overall pick falls in their hands.
Although expectations were mixed last season for the Kraken, this year seems to be consistent in the idea that Seattle will not be a playoff team.
The Kraken do look like a better team on paper this year than last. They made some key offseason moves when they signed free agent Andre Burakovsky and traded for Oliver Bjorkstrand, while also drafting a lot of talent for the future.
Seattle will be a team to watch in the late 2020s as they continue to build a solid foundation through the draft, but for now, the team will have to settle for some short-term struggles.
The Flyers were not good last year, finishing with a record of 25-46-11. They have the third worst Stanley Cup odds heading into the season according to DraftKings, behind only the Chicago Blackhawks and Arizona Coyotes.
Philadelphia is another team in the beginning stages of a long and messy rebuild. The roster lacks any star power as Travis Konecny led the team with just 52 points last season. Losing out on Johnny Gaudreau hurts worse when realizing that Gaudreau had more points than Philadelphia’s two leading scorers combined last year.
This Flyers team is far from competing for a playoff spot, so hopefully, John Tortorella has a lot of patience as he enters his first season with the team.
The Montreal Canadiens are coming off of drafting Juraj Slafkovsky with the first overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft. The team’s eyes are set forward, which look beyond the results of this season or even the next.
With the Atlantic Division containing multiple Stanley Cup contenders, there should be no attempt to rush the process of this rebuild. Although Montreal brought back Martin St. Louis behind the bench and have gotten better, the team does not have enough top talent to make a playoff push this season.
The goal for the Canadiens this season should be to develop Slafkovsky and their young core and hope it leads to playoff success down the road.
The Buffalo Sabres have not made the playoffs since 2011, and it looks as though that drought will continue this season.
Buffalo did not make much noise in the offseason, as they will be relying on the development of their young players to make a jump in the standings this season. The Sabres did show flashes of a playoff contender at times last season but ultimately fell way short.
Buffalo has the potential of battling for a playoff spot late in the season, but I see them tailing off towards the end and finishing between 23 and 28 in the standings.
After selecting a new general manager and head coach, the San Jose Sharks are turning over a new leaf.
The team has not done much in terms of player movement during the offseason, with the exception of trading away Brent Burns to Carolina. San Jose appears to be accepting a rebuild, although it is unsure as to how they will conduct it as of yet.
The Sharks finished with a record of 32-37-13 last season. This year the bar is low, as they will most likely finish with a similar or slightly worse record in 2022-23.
The New Jersey Devils finished last year with the 5th worst record in the NHL. This season, it is difficult to predict where the New Jersey Devils will finish at the end of the year.
All eyes will be on Jack Hughes throughout the season, as he finished with 55 points in 49 games last season. The team will need Hughes and their other young talent to step up if they want to stay competitive all season long.
It is easy to look at this team on paper and believe that they are good enough to make the playoffs. The difficult part is for them to prove to us that they can, which has been a challenge for the squad in recent years.
There is not much to be excited about as a Ducks fan for this upcoming season.
Anaheim had a great start to the season in 2021 but ultimately fizzled out in the second half to finish with the 4th worst record in the Western Conference. The team has great skill up front with Troy Terry and Trevor Zegras but needs to surround themselves with more talent to compete for a playoff spot.
As good as the Ducks can be, I believe they are at least one season away from making it to the postseason.
23. Blue Jackets
There is definitely a good case for picking Columbus as the winner of free agency.
The team signed Patrik Laine to a four-year deal, while also surprisingly winning the Johnny Gaudreau sweepstakes.
The problems with the Blue Jackets aren’t with who they did sign, but instead with who they didn’t. Columbus struggled on the defensive end last year and did not add anything impactful on the blue line and in net. They will be competitive, but the defense will hold them back from a playoff spot.
22. Red Wings
I give the Detroit Red Wings the best opportunity to outperform my NHL preseason power rankings 2022-23.
Although I have them at number 22, Detroit made some key moves in the offseason to push the needle closer to playoff contention.
The Red Wings finished last season with 74 points. I wouldn’t be surprised if they made a substantial jump this year, but with last year’s final wild card in the Eastern Conference reaching 100 points, I don’t believe it will be large enough to make Detroit a playoff team.
The Winnipeg Jets are one of the biggest unknowns entering the 2022-23 season.
A team that looks deep and talented on paper was flat-out disappointing last season as they fell eight points shy of a playoff spot. Now with some reported locker room tension and a brand-new head coach, it is anybody’s guess as to where Winnipeg will finish the season.
At the end of the day, Connor Hellebuyck’s play will be a big factor in determining whether the Jets outperform or underperform this year.
Things are finally looking brighter in Ottawa as the Senators are getting closer to being a competitive team again.
Pierre Dorion, Ottawa’s general manager, did an excellent job this off-season. In addition to signing Claude Giroux as a free agent, the Senators traded for Alex DeBrincat, who scored 41 goals last season with Chicago.
Ottawa also addressed their goaltending issues, although it is still undecided whether Cam Talbot will be good enough to bring the Senators to the playoffs.
After missing the playoffs last year and not changing much in the offseason, a similar result should be expected this season from the Islanders.
Yes, it was difficult for New York to be on the road for 13 games to start last season, but there are still many unanswered questions coming into this season. The team will no longer have Barry Trotz as their head coach, which could prove to be a huge loss.
They do have the talent on paper to make the playoffs, but will the Islanders be able to regroup after a disappointing season last year is the biggest question.
Vancouver Canucks fans should be cautiously optimistic about this year’s group.
With another year under their belt for the young core, it is expected that they continue to improve as the Canucks battle for a wild card spot in the Western Conference. Having head coach Bruce Boudreau at the start of the season is also a plus for the team.
Although it will be tough, the Canucks and their fans will be disappointed if they don’t find a way to squeak into the postseason this year.
17. Golden Knights
It is easy to expect too much from the Vegas Golden Knights heading into the season.
The team is filled with talent, especially if Jack Eichel is able to stay healthy for the majority of the season. However, losing Evgenii Dadonov and Max Pacioretty certainly doesn’t help the Golden Knights.
Ultimately, with goalie Robin Lehner’s long-term injury, it will be the goaltending that will make or break it for Vegas this season.
The Bruins, who haven’t missed the playoffs since 2016, have the potential to be a Stanley Cup contender or miss out on the playoffs entirely.
Boston will be missing some key players to start, as Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy will be out until closer to December, while Matt Grzelcyk will miss the first few weeks of the season.
If the Bruins come out strong to start the season despite injuries, they will be in a good position to make the playoffs for the 7th consecutive year.
Not one of the bottom-tier teams but not one of the best NHL teams right now, the Dallas Stars find themselves in the middle of the pack.
Dallas has a bunch of talent on their roster, which includes star defenseman Miro Heiskanen and a solid goaltender in Jake Oettinger.
One of the main priorities for the Stars is getting a deal done with Jason Robertson, who scored 41 goals last season and is a huge part of the team.
With Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby still on the team, the Pittsburgh Penguins will have a shot at playoff success this year.
Penguins general manager Ron Hextall made some key moves in the offseason, resigning both Malkin and Kris Letang, while also adding Ty Smith and Jeff Petry.
Pittsburgh was on the verge of a rebuild this summer but instead gave themselves a slim chance at another championship before the window closes for good.
The Nashville Predators haven’t had much playoff success as of late but continue to find a way to get into the postseason year after year.
With players like Filip Forsberg, who signed a new eight-year deal with the organization, the Predators will find themselves fighting for one of those three playoff spots in the Central Division.
Although the Predators are a playoff team, I wouldn’t expect much from them once the playoffs begin.
The Capitals have had an up-and-down offseason, to say the least.
Washington did acquire a Stanley Cup-winning goaltender as Darcy Kuemper joins the squad but are going to be without Tom Wilson for the foreseeable future due to ACL surgery. The Capitals will also be without Nicklas Backstrom, who is dealing with a hip injury.
The team is not getting any younger, but if Washington can stay healthy, they will be a contender come playoff time.
Los Angeles is a team to look out for as they sit at number 11 on my NHL preseason power rankings 2022.
The Kings surprised most with a great season last year that ended with them falling just short of a first-round upset against the Edmonton Oilers. In the offseason, Los Angeles added Kevin Fiala, who will add an extra spark to the top line.
With a strong group of young players and a healthy Drew Doughty, the Kings could find themselves as a serious contender.
The Minnesota Wild did take a big hit in the offseason when they lost Kevin Fiala, who they just could not afford to keep.
Minnesota should be fine without him though, as Kirill Kaprizov will carry the load for the team. They also have Matt Boldy, who at just 21 years old could make a big jump this year.
With veteran goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury between the pipes, the Wild should have no problem making the playoffs this season, even if they do regress slightly from last season.
The St. Louis Blues finished the 2021-22 season with a record of 49-22-11.
The Blues didn’t do much in the offseason, which is why I believe they will have a similar season to last year. St. Louis has a deep roster, with a great balance of young and veteran players.
There is no denying that the Blues are a playoff team, but the play of Jordan Binnington in goal will determine how far they can go.
Looking at Canadian teams, the Calgary Flames are one of the best NHL teams ahead of 2022-23.
It is tough to overlook the big losses of Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk, but the Flames came out better than most thought they would. After losing two stars, Calgary gained one of the league’s best scorers in Jonathan Huberdeau and Stanley Cup champion Nazem Kadri.
If Jacob Markstrom performs like he did last season, the Calgary Flames will be a serious threat in the Western Conference.
The best Canadian team on this list, the Edmonton Oilers are due for another deep playoff run this year.
Edmonton is tied with the second-best odds to come out of the Western Conference according to FanDuel (sign-up to FanDuel Sportsbook for up to $1000 in free bets), behind only the defending champions. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are the league’s best duo and continue to get even better with each season.
With the addition of Jack Campbell, the Oilers have now solved their goaltending issues, which makes them a much bigger threat to the Colorado Avalanche this year.
The Florida Panthers had a sour ending to an otherwise amazing season last year.
Florida finished with the best record in the NHL but were blown out by the Lightning in the second round of the playoffs. It is difficult to tell whether the Panthers got better or worse, especially with the subtraction of Jonathan Huberdeau and the addition of Matthew Tkachuk.
Due to their poor showing in the postseason, I cannot justify putting Florida any higher on this list to start the year.
There is a lot to like about the New York Rangers heading into the season.
The Rangers were relatively quiet in the offseason, but the addition of Vincent Trocheck will look great when he gets going with the team.
New York relies heavily on Igor Shesterkin, but Shesterkin has proven that he can carry the load both in the regular season and playoffs. I see them taking another step in the regular season, which is why I have them at number five on my rankings.
4. Maple Leafs
Putting playoff success aside, the Toronto Maple Leafs are one of the best NHL teams right now that are supposed to compete for a championship.
Yes, the team has repeatedly struggled to get out of the first round, but they continue to prove that they are a top-tier team in the regular season.
The biggest thing to look out for is goaltending, which shifts from Jack Campbell last season to a tandem of Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov. If it pays off, they could finally get out of the first round, and if it doesn’t, they will score a ton and still be one of the best teams in the regular season.
The Carolina Hurricanes have the best chance to dethrone the Lightning in the Eastern Conference.
Carolina has the experience of being one game away from the Conference Finals a season ago and can improve on that run with a healthy Frederik Andersen in goal.
The Hurricanes have a great coach in Rod Brind’Amour, and with the acquisitions of Brent Burns and Max Pacioretty, are even better positioned to win the Stanley Cup in 2023.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are one of the best NHL teams ahead of 2022-23.
With a core that includes Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, Andrei Vasilevskiy, and Nikita Kucherov, the Lightning are still very well in win-now mode.
Although they do not deserve a higher ranking than the defending champions, the Lightning are currently the best Eastern Conference team until someone else proves otherwise.
The defending champion Colorado Avalanche are the number one team heading into this season.
Although they aren’t discussed as one of the greatest NHL teams of all time, this is a really good team capable of going back-to-back. Losing some key players like Nazem Kadri and Darcy Kuemper does sting, but the major core and depth of the team are still intact.
The Colorado Avalanche should be the favorites to win the Stanley Cup entering the season and are the number one team in my NHL preseason power rankings 2022.