Hockey

2022 Offseason NHL Power Rankings

|
Image for 2022 Offseason NHL Power Rankings

Now that most NHL teams’ rosters are starting to take shape and the off-season quiets down, we can start to pit them against one another in our off-season 2022-23 Off-season NHL Power Rankings. It’s been a crazy offseason with some big-name players switching teams, which will signal some major power shifts around the league. Special thanks to fellow Overtime Heroics writer Tony Paradise for helping put these together!

1) Tampa Bay Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning are slowly losing depth as the cap crunch moves on, this offseason notably in the mid-line forwards, but still have one of the strongest and most star-studded lineups in the league featuring award winners at every position, which lands them narrowly at the top of the NHL Power Rankings. However, depending on injuries, and other moves, the Lightning could move down the list quickly.

2) Colorado Avalanche

Despite some offseason losses, the Colorado Avalanche still have one of the strongest lineups in the league, by far. Nazem Kadri and Darcy Kuemper have moved on. They are now attempting to repeat as Cup champs with an unproven starter in Alexandar Georgiev. But they find themselves in the same situation they were in three or four years ago. Trying to compete with a lack of forward depth to go behind their star players. However, the Avalanche’s defense is one of, if not the, best in the league, which saves some face for them and places them as a close second in the NHL Power Rankings.

3) Edmonton Oilers

With two of the best players in the world and a management team that is slowly filling the roster’s biggest holes, the Edmonton Oilers might be getting close to contender status. Especially after addressing the biggest hole on the roster (goaltending) by bringing in Jack Campbell. Left defense is now the biggest question mark, as it remains to be seen if Brett Kulak will be able to take on the second pairing role full-time. The sheer star power on this roster keeps them pretty high up in these NHL Power Rankings.

4) Carolina Hurricanes

The Carolina Hurricanes typically overperform from what they appear to be on paper. That’s not to say they don’t have a great roster, because they do and it is among the best in the league. But the forwards might be a bit lacking compared to other top teams in the league this season. Their defense is strong and provides great support for the offense, and we will get to see how Brent Burns fits into this system. Frederik Andersen in net boded well for the Hurricanes last season, and likely will into 2022-23 as he looks to rebound from a knee injury that kept him out of the 2022 playoffs, and his performances could see the team move up in the NHL Power Rankings during the season.

5) Florida Panthers

Despite a disastrous past few months of roster turnover, the current roster for the Florida Panthers is still quite strong, and hopeful to be a contender again this season. With two high-level scoring lines up front and one of the best goalie tandems in the league, the Panthers have a competitive roster. But noticeably worse than it was at this time a year ago as they’ve lost leading scorer Jonathan Huberdeau (replaced by Matthew Tkachuk) and number two defender Mackenzie Weegar. Their depth has taken a hit from the moves made over the past 6 months, and the Panthers’ NHL Power Ranking status could suffer for it.

6) Calgary Flames

When the Calgary Flames lost Johnny Gaudreau to free agency and Tkachuk was in all the trade rumours, we kind of assumed they were done. But then they got Huberdeau and Weegar, as well as signing Kadri, and suddenly the team is looking strong again. They’ve got one of the better defensive groups in the league, and are backstopped by a game-changing goalie in Jacob Markstrom.

7) New York Rangers

Was last season an overperformance for the New York Rangers on the back of the Vezina-winning Igor Shesterkin? Probably, but the team is also on the upswing and added Vincent Trocheck, who should replace Ryan Strome as the team’s second-line centre. Because the Rangers were knocked out in the Eastern Conference Finals last year, it’s reasonable to believe that head coach Gerard Gallant has his eyes set on next year’s Stanley Cup Final. To do this, their top offensive players need to repeat last year’s performances and the younger players such as Alexis Lafreniere need to become solid contributors to this team. If all of this comes together, the sky is the limit for the Rangers in 2022-23.

8) Toronto Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs possess one of the strongest forward groups in the league, though the depth is questionable. They do have a decent defensive group, but goaltending is a massive question mark as they appear to be going with a tandem of Ilya Samsonov and Matt Murray. Not sure how that’s going to work for a team that is looking to end an 18-year drought of failing to advance past the first round of the playoffs. But it might be a high-risk/high-reward type situation.

9) Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins are aging, sure, but their roster is still competitive. Offseason addition Jeff Petry is a big add for their defensive depth. And the forward group is still very impressive and surprisingly deep, considering the aging roster and lack of prospects making the jump to the NHL. The big question mark is which version of Tristan Jarry will show up next season. The answer to that is likely to set the tone for the season in Pittsburgh.

10) St. Louis Blues

Everything clicked for the St. Louis Blues’ forwards last season as Jordan Kyrou and Robert Thomas had breakout seasons, Vladimir Tarasenko showed he can still bring it after his injury issues, and newcomer Pavel Buchnevich fit right in with this group. The depth that this forward group possesses helps cover a bit of the uncertainty in net, as who knows which version of Jordan Binnington we will get.

11) Boston Bruins

The amount of roster turnover for the Boston Bruins is concerning over the last couple of seasons. What was once one of the deepest rosters in the league is now far from it. Even more so since Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy will be missing significant time recovering from offseason surgeries, which negatively impacted their placement in these NHL Power Rankings. It will be nice for them to get David Krejci back to help address some centre-depth issues, but that does very little to mitigate the other losses.

12) Washington Capitals

A couple of disappointing seasons and early playoff exits for the Washington Capitals have them showing their decline a bit, but this past offseason is keeping them in a semi-competitive state with Kuemper being brought in as an upgrade in net. The forward depth and defense are quite suspect, however, especially with Tom Wilson being out of the lineup for a significant portion of the season and Nicklas Backstrom‘s playing status remaining uncertain.

13) Nashville Predators

The Nashville Predators have a strong roster heading into the 2022-23 season. They may run into some issues with scoring depth at forward, especially if the bounce-back years from Matt Duchene and Ryan Johansen were one-offs. As usual, the Predators’ defense is top-notch, even more so with the addition of Ryan McDonagh. Having Vezina trophy finalist Juuse Saros in the net can change the course of the season, as he has carried this team on multiple occasions in recent years.

14) Winnipeg Jets

I might place the Winnipeg Jets higher than most on these NHL Power Rankings after their disappointing playoff miss last season. All things considered, they still have a strong, star-studded lineup led by Mark Scheifele and Kyle Connor and some of the right depth pieces backed by one of the league’s best goalies in Connor Hellebuyck. On paper, this is a roster that should compete. Defense is a bit weak, but even though they don’t have much for a legit top pairing, they do have three solid pairings nonetheless.

15) Minnesota Wild

Given the dire cap situation for the Minnesota Wild, they’ve done a great job at managing their roster this offseason to retain as much talent as they possibly could. Although I have them fairly high up on this list, we will see if that holds up or if last season was a bit of a fluke/one-off for a lot of their bottom-nine forwards. Regardless, they do have a fairly strong defense, and having Marc-Andre Fleury in net definitely helps.

16) Vegas Golden Knights

The Vegas Golden Knights have done nothing but make their roster worse over the past couple of offseasons and now they’re left with very little on-paper star power and an extremely top-heavy roster. Sure, the first line might be good but the rest of the lineup is questionable when healthy, and that’s if they can even ice a full roster given their cap situation. They have managed to get Phil Kessel on a team-friendly deal, but he is not going to be changing this team’s fortunes. Losing Robin Lehner for the full season will not help matters, as Adin Hill, Laurent Brossoit, and Logan Thompson don’t instill a lot of confidence as a goalie trio for a competitive team.

17) Ottawa Senators

Personally, I am a huge fan of what the Ottawa Senators did this off-season. The additions of Claude Giroux and Alex DeBrincat give the Senators one of the most dangerous top two forward lines in the league. Adding Cam Talbot as their starting goalie may be risky, but he typically is fairly solid and is at least a goalie capable of getting a team to the playoffs. The Senators are a team that is turning the corner in their rebuild, and now they look to be able to compete in a tough division, as well as hunting for a high spot in the NHL Power Rankings this season.

18) Los Angeles Kings

The Los Angeles Kings are a team that has been slowly building up an incredible core of prospects for a few years and now is trying to break them into the lineup. A surprise playoff berth last season put the Kings in a new light. When healthy, the Kings have a solid group of skaters, definitely putting them in a competitive category. Their big question mark is in the net. Jonathan Quick is getting older, though he did have a good year last season. And Calvin Petersen underperformed. We still don’t know who will be the starter next year, or if either of these two will be good or consistent enough, which could see them drop in the NHL Power Rankings in a hurry at the start of the season.

19) New York Islanders

An unsurprisingly quiet offseason for the New York Islanders Islanders (so far, we know Lou Lamoriello likes to hide his signings) leaves the team falling behind some of their close division rivals. There is a chance that Alexander Romanov is the only new addition to the lineup, though there are a few depth players in the mix for roster spots. This is especially disappointing after a difficult 2021-22 season. They have a solid roster, we know it can do well. The Islanders have the depth that a lot of other teams wish they had, especially at forward and goaltending, but they don’t quite have the star power or offensive talent to match up against their closest rivals in these NHL Power Rankings.

20) Anaheim Ducks

We saw what these Anaheim Ducks could do when things were going well last season as they stayed in a competitive spot in the Pacific Division for a good chunk of the season. They’ve done a bit to make themselves even better by adding Ryan Strome and John Klingberg this offseason. If John Gibson can stay healthy, this could be a team that exceeds expectations with exciting players like Trevor Zegras, Troy Terry, and Mason McTavish leading the charge.

21) Detroit Red Wings

The Yzer-plan is in full effect now as the Detroit Red Wings had a busy offseason preparing to re-enter the competitive world in the 2022-23 season. Adding Andrew Copp, David Perron, and Dominik Kubalik up front gives Detroit a legit top-nine. Ben Chiarot and Olli Maatta on defense will help solidify a previously porous group of defenders, and let’s not forget Moritz Seider after his Calder-winning season looking to move into the Norris hunt. Between Alex Nedeljkovic and Ville Husso, the Red Wings should be okay for goalies, but this could be a weakness if they both struggle, placing them as an unknown for how they may move through the NHL Power Rankings during the season.

22) Columbus Blue Jackets

The Columbus Blue Jackets landed the big free agent this offseason by signing Johnny Gaudreau and probably altered or accelerated plans the team had for their rebuild. But for now, they have an average roster that is still waiting on some prospects to develop and fill out the lineup.

23) Vancouver Canucks

The Vancouver Canucks have a solid group of top six forwards, but they have very little forward depth beyond that and the defense aside from Quinn Hughes is questionable. Thatcher Demko is one of the best goalies in the league right now saving this roster from being farther down the list of NHL Power Rankings.

24) Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars are sort of stuck in this place of mediocrity. Their highest-paid players are frequently being called out by ownership for underperforming, the team doesn’t have a whole lot of depth, an issue they did not do a whole lot to address over the offseason, and as of the writing of this ranking. And the goalie they need to retain to have any chance of competing is unsigned, that being Jake Oettinger. There are some glimmers of hope with Roope Hintz and Jason Robertson (who also needs a contract) being pieces to build around. But the overall roster is quite weak, hurting their overall spot in the NHL Power Rankings.

25) New Jersey Devils

The New Jersey Devils are getting better. Slowly. Jack Hughes is becoming a legit star. Nico Hischier will hopefully have a healthy season to show us what he can do. And the same goes for Dougie Hamilton. The forwards the Devils have now are shaping up to be a competitive-looking group, but the defense is still a bit iffy and the same goes for goaltending. Vitek Vanecek has done extremely well in Washington given the circumstances, but if he struggles is Mackenzie Blackwood able to return to his rookie year form? These questions put the Devils in a questionable position among the NHL Power Rankings.

26) San Jose Sharks

The San Jose Sharks still have a few good players but they all get thrown onto one line and the rest of the lineup is extremely weak. They only have three players who had over 40 points last season, and their defense is led by the aging and oft-injured Erik Karlsson and Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Kaapo Kahkonen could be a bit of a bright spot, but he could very easily struggle behind this Sharks lineup, and that uncertainty sees the Sharks low in the NHL Power Rankings.

27) Montreal Canadiens

One of the biggest falls from grace I’ve ever seen has led to a full rebuild for the Montreal Canadiens. And in the meantime, the roster is more than a bit lacking. Especially with the news that Carey Price is likely to miss the entire season. Though their forwards are solid and could be exciting, the defense and goaltending knock the Habs way down these NHL Power Rankings.

28) Seattle Kraken

The Seattle Kraken had a solid offseason, but Oliver Bjorkstrand and Justin Schultz aren’t going to fix what was one of the worst teams in the league last season. The problem that left them in the league’s basement still exists as the Kraken’s goalies are the same and the team’s defense didn’t improve. While it’s possible a year to settle down will help, it’s hard to rank the team much higher than they finished last season with virtually the same roster.

29) Buffalo Sabres

The Buffalo Sabres are still trying to put together an NHL-calibre roster for once and now there is some hope as the players are starting to enter the NHL and produce. But, they’re largely still unproven at the NHL level and that makes it hard for the team to compete in an on-paper competition. The depth isn’t there in the forwards, the defense is weak, and they still have one of the worst goaltending tandems in the league, thus they land on the bottom end of the NHL Power Rankings.

30) Philadelphia Flyers

In terms of hockey ops, the Philadelphia Flyers might be one of, if not the worst-managed team in the league. They’ve created one of the weakest and shallowest rosters around through a series of terrible decisions. Weak forward depth, a questionable and oft-injured defense, and inconsistent goaltending have the Flyers near the bottom of the league, and even coach John Tortorella may not be able to turn this team around.

31) Arizona Coyotes

The Arizona Coyotes have minimal depth, a collection of fourth-line forwards occupying almost every spot in their lineup, and mediocre defense, especially if Jakob Chychrun gets moved. As impressive as he was given the circumstances, Karel Vejmelka is barely a serviceable starter at the moment. The 18 thousand draft picks the Coyotes have had in recent years might start to help out soon, hopefully, but for now, they stick near the bottom of the NHL Power Rankings.

32) Chicago Blackhawks

Honestly, this year’s version of the Chicago Blackhawks is just one of the worst rosters I have ever seen. The offseason moves (and more if the Patrick Kane rumours are true) are just making it worse. No depth at forward, mediocre and oft-injured defenders, and even though Petr Mrazek is a solid goalie, he is hurt a lot and his best seasons came in Carolina, a team that seems to have a trend of making goalies look good. The tank is on, and they deserve their spot at the bottom of the NHL Power Rankings.

How do you feel about these off-season NHL Power Rankings? Drop a comment down below with your changes!

main image credits:

Embed from Getty Images

Share this article

Sean is a lifelong, stubborn Oilers fan who somehow still has hope that next season will be the year. Hockey is his biggest interest and hobby, so he follows the whole league as closely as he can.