Top 10 NHL Season Preview 2021-2022 Team Rankings
Ranking the best hockey teams for the upcoming 2021-2022 NHL Season
With the new season being just around the corner, the NHL teams are ready for the new season that hopefully will not be affected by the pandemic. Many roster changes were done in the offseason which will make things even more interesting.
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Top 10 NHL Teams
Last season the Chicago Blackhawks finished under .500 winning percentage mainly because of Jonathan Toews’ unavailability. With their captain back and smart offseason moves the Blackhawks are ready to bounce back. They added one of the best defensive players in the league Seth Jones and Vezina winner Marc-Andre Fleury which will probably be enough for them to be back in the Playoffs.
Alex Ovechkin re-signed with the Caps which keeps them in the top 10 teams for the upcoming season. The 2018 Stanley Cup winners lost Brenden Dillon in a trade but are still a powerhouse with Tom Wilson, John Carlson and Nick Jensen on the roster. Both goalies Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov signed contract extensions this summer which is promising a bright future for the Caps.
Winnipeg has one of the best goalies in the league in Connor Hellebuyck and with Mark Schiefele, Blake Wheeler, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Kyle Connor on the roster guarantee another Playoff berth. They also added Brendan Dillon and Nate Schmidt which gives them additional strength. Losing Mason Appleton is a hard pill to swallow but the Jets are more than ready for the season.
The Florida Panthers had a disappointing postseason but decided to keep the same roster and give it another shot. They re-signed Carter Verhaeghe, Sam Bennett and Anthony Duclair, and added Sam Reinhart to their offensive corps through a trade. With Dreidger gone, goaltending prospect Spencer Knight is expected to take on a heavier load.
Vegas Golden Knights
Entering their fifth year, the Vegas Golden Knights seem ready for another Cinderella story. They lost goaltender and Vezina Trophy winner, Marc-Andre Fleury in a trade but have Robin Lehner to step in. They kept the core of the last season roster by adding Jets goalie Laurent Broissoit and retained defenseman Alec Martinez in free agency which makes them a contender in the West.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Despite losing the veteran Zach Hyman, the Maple Leafs kept their core pieces, mainly Austin Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares and William Nylande. They added Michael Bunting from Arizona and upgraded their goaltender position with Petr Mrazek who is replacing Freddie Andersen. All this makes Toronto a top five team in the league for the upcoming season.
New York Islanders
The Islanders had a busy summer making roster changes that put them among the top five teams in the league. They signed the defenseman Adam Pelech and Kyle Palmieri to a four-year deal, and kept Anthony Beauvillier, who was stellar for the Isles in their deep playoff run last season. They lost Jordan Eberle in the expansion draft, but they added another key veteran piece in Zach Parise.
Re-signing Taylor Hall to a team-friendly contract was a smart move for the Bruins, who also added grit to their forward core by inking former Blue Jackets’ Nick Foligno to a contract. Losing veteran David Krejci is more tolerable since Foligno is replacing him, and replacing Jaroslav Halak with Linus Ullmark definitely seems like a solid exchange for the Bruins, who already have a solid core in Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak.
Tampa Bay Lightning
The back-to-back champions had a tough summer losing their entire third line when Blake Coleman signed with Calgary, Yanni Gourde went to Seattle in the expansion draft, and traded away Barclay Goodrow. Still, they have Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman, Andrei Vasilevskiy and so many other stellar players that make this team great. As long as Kucherov and Hedman return from injury in short order as expected, the Lightning will continue to be in top of the league.
Even though the Avalanche lost Joonas Donskoi in the Seattle Kraken expansion draft, Philipp Grubauer and Brandon Saad to free agency, and traded defenseman Ryan Graves to the New Jersey Devils, the Avs still look like they are on top of the league. They re-signed captain Gabriel Landeskog, goaltender Pavel Francouz will return from the surgery and they acquired Darcy Kuemper to replace Grubauer between the pipes.
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