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Due to COVID-19 postponements, the NHL’s 2021-22 season has seen some scheduling alterations, although some clubs have weathered the storm better than others. What has been the most important lesson from each team’s performance since mid-December? We’ll break it all down below, along with the most recent 1-32 rankings.

How we rank: A panel of ESPN hockey pundits, analysts, reporters, and editors rank teams against one another based on game results, injuries, and the upcoming schedule, and the results are collated to generate the list seen above.

Note: For each team, the previous rating corresponds to the most recent edition, which was released on January 12. The percentages of points scored are through Tuesday’s games.


Previously ranked: 2 points, 0.731 percentile The following events are scheduled over the next seven days: @ EDM (Jan. 20), @ VAN (Jan. 21), @ SEA (Jan. 23), and @ WPG (Jan. 24). (Jan. 25)

Takeaway: The best in the industry. The Panthers have been on autopilot for the last month, and it’s showing. Florida hasn’t lost since Dec. 16, is averaging six (!) goals per game, has been flawless while playing short-handed, and has fired over 40 shots on goal in that time. The Panthers aren’t showing any signs of slowing down.


Previous position: 3 points, 0.736 percentile Next seven days: vs. MTL (Jan. 22), vs. CHI (Jan. 19), vs. ANA (Jan. 20), vs. LA (Jan. 20), vs. CHI (Jan. 22). (Jan. 24)

Takeaway: This is Cale Makar’s universe, and we’re fortunate to be a part of it! No, really. The Avalanche’s dynamic attack has continued to stun opponents (hi, Mikko Rantanen! ), but Makar’s performance has been a shocker for Colorado. Locking down the blue line and producing highlight-reel goals, the 23-year-old has major confidence. Everything in one place.


Previous position: 1; percentage: 0.750; previous ranking: 1; previous ranking: 1; previous ranking: 1; previous ranking The following games are scheduled for the next seven days: vs. NYR (Jan. 21), At NJ (Jan. 22), and against. VGK (Jan. 23). (Jan. 25)

Takeaway: You can do it everything (and do it well) if you put your mind to it. The fact that the Hurricanes were shut out for the first time this season in a 6-0 defeat to Columbus last week tells a lot about them. Carolina has just been that good on a continuous basis. Even the dips can’t take away its radiance. The Hurricanes have had the top power play in the NHL since mid-December, averaging nearly four goals per game while restricting opportunities against. Upward and forward.

2 Related


Previously ranked: 5 points, 0.720 percentile The following events are scheduled over the next seven days: @ ANA (Jan. 21), @ SJ (Jan. 28). (Jan. 22)

Andrei Vasilevskiy, MVP, is the takeaway. Since mid-December, the Lightning have played more games than anybody else and have four players in the top 12 in scoring. But it was Vasilevskiy’s return from COVID-19 procedures that helped to re-establish Tampa’s game. Since his return, Vasilevskiy has been in the top three in wins and save percentage, and he has helped the Lightning appear dangerous.


Previously ranked: 4 points, 0.708 percentile Next seven days: against. NYR (Jan. 19), vs. NYI (Jan. 22). (Jan. 22)

Takeaway: Letdowns in the last minutes of a game. The Leafs have only played six games in 30 days because to COVID-19 issues and provincial capacity constraints. However, it’s evident that Toronto hasn’t been able to close off games recently. Multi-goal leads against Colorado, Vegas, and St. Louis all vanished, and the Leafs were unable to win in Arizona after being knotted in the third period. Toronto needs to improve its last act.


Previously ranked at 13 points with a percentage of 0.639. The following games are scheduled over the next seven days: against. WSH (Jan. 20), vs. WPG (Jan. 22), and vs. ANA (Jan. 24)

The bottom line is that Boston is back, baby. What happened to these Bruins? Boston is finally looking like its old selves as Tuukka Rask returns to the net. The scoring has been constant (around four goals per game), the defense has improved, and the Bruins’ stars have aligned. Finally.


Previously ranked at 12 points, with a percentage of 0.600. The following games are scheduled for the next seven days: against. MTL (Jan. 20), At WSH (Jan. 24), and @ CAR (Jan. 25)

Takeaway: Frustrations are growing in the fortress. The Golden Knights haven’t had a home-ice edge in a while. Vegas has gone 2-4-2 at T-Mobile Arena in the last month, while going undefeated on the road. It’s an odd change of affairs considering the Golden Knights’ home arena was previously one of the hardest to play in. Is it possible that it will happen again?


This season will include 103 exclusive regular-season games across ESPN, ESPN+, Hulu and ABC, and more than 1,000 out-of-market games will be available on ESPN+. • How to watch • Subscribe to ESPN+ • Stream the NHL on ESPN


against. TOR (Jan. 19), @ CAR (Jan. 21), vs. ARI (Jan. 22), vs. LA (Jan. 23) Previous ranking: 6 Points percentage: 0.692 Next seven days: vs. TOR (Jan. 19), @ CAR (Jan. 21), vs. ARI (Jan. 22), vs. LA (Jan. 24)

The bottom line is that resiliency exists. The Rangers have an uncanny ability to remain calm in the face of adversity. Not in the last month, at least. 5-1 defeat? Return the next game and win 4-1. What happens if key players are omitted from the starting lineup? The deficit is filled with scoring depth and improved defense. In a difficult season for everyone, New York stands out for how it is dealing with the situation (s).


Previous position: 11; percentage: 0.671; previous ranking: 11; previous ranking: 11; previous ranking: 11; previous ranking: Next seven days: @ CHI (Jan. 21), vs. CHI (Jan. 22), vs. MTL (Jan. 23), vs. CHI (Jan. 24), vs. CHI (Jan. 25), vs. MTL (J (Jan. 24)

Takeaway: Don’t give up. Minnesota had a hard finish to the calendar year 2021, but owing to balanced contributions (and a reduced schedule), the Wild have been able to reclaim some of the magic that had carried them through the early part of the season. Kirill Kaprizov, meanwhile, seems to be maturing at the perfect moment for Minnesota.


Previously ranked at 9 points, with a percentage of 0.663. The following games are scheduled over the next seven days: @ BOS (Jan. 20), vs. OTT (Jan. 22), and against. VGK (Jan. 24)

Takeaway: Are you on the skids? Let’s be honest: Washington has been unstoppable this season. Adversity was overdue for the squad. Now is the time for comebacks. The Capitals lost five of their first six games in 2022, their worst six-game span of the season, averaging less than three goals per game. However, once Washington is healthy again, the team’s midseason slump is anticipated to dissipate quickly.


Previously ranked: 10 points, 0.671 percentile The following games are scheduled for the next seven days: vs. OTT (Jan. 20), @ CBJ (Jan. 21), vs. WPG (Jan. 23), and vs. ARI (Jan. 25)

Takeaway: Don’t be afraid to bend, but don’t be afraid to shatter. The Penguins were on their way to winning the Stanley Cup in 2022 when they faced trouble. How they handle the bumps will reveal a lot to both us and them. Sidney Crosby has one goal since December 10 and Kasperi Kapanen has gone ice cold, but Louis Domingue has stepped up in net and Kris Letang is shooting from the blue line. Now is the time to take it up.


Previously ranked at number eight, with a percentage of 0.654. The following events are scheduled over the next seven days: At SEA (Jan. 21), @ VAN (Jan. 23), and @ CGY (Jan. 24). (Jan. 24)

Takeaway: Kyrou is crazy about him. Jordan Kyrou is having a good time right now. Last week, the forward was chosen to his first All-Star Game. In this season’s Winter Classic, he was the standout performance. Over the last month, he’s been in the top ten in league scoring. Every shift, he seems to be a danger. He’s also a lot of fun to watch.


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Previous position: 7 points, 0.622 percentile The following games are scheduled for the next seven days: against. WPG (Jan. 20), vs. DET (Jan. 22), and At SEA (Jan. 25)

Takeaway: They are, in fact, genuine. Do we still have doubts about the Predators’ ability to compete? Because there have been encouraging indicators in that regard over the last month. Juuse Saros is (still) underappreciated, Filip Forsberg is playing into a big salary (when not in COVID-19 procedures), and Roman Josi leads a blue line like no one else. The current drop in performance should be seen as a blip on the radar.


Previously ranked: 20 points, 0.563 percentile The following games are scheduled for the next seven days: vs. COL (Jan. 20), At NJ (Jan. 23), and @ NYR (Jan. 24)

The bottom line: Exceeding expectations. The Kings didn’t pop off the page right away. In the last month, that has altered. L.A. was on a 7-3-0 run, which was one of the greatest in the league (until Timo Meier’s five-goal game on Monday). It quietly propelled the Kings into second place in the Pacific Division, and owing to superb goaltending and good two-way play, the team’s overall performance seems to be sustainable.


Prior ranking: 15 points; percentage: 0.600; previous ranking: 15 points; previous ranking: 15 points; previous ranking: 15 Next seven days: vs. STL (Jan. 22), @ EDM (Jan. 22). (Jan. 24)

Is the honeymoon officially over? The Flames were drained by the extended COVID-19 halt. Darryl Sutter’s team, which was previously known for its defense, has allowed more than four goals per game in the last month and has only won two of their last six games. With Sutter’s defense-first strategy, have they lost that loving feeling? Is this just the natural fallout following a blazing start? We’ll have to wait and see.


Previously ranked at 21 points with a percentage of 0.550. Next seven days: vs. TB (Jan. 20), @ SEA (Jan. 20). (Jan. 22)

The bottom line is that it’s Timo time. Overall, the Sharks have had a fantastic month. Timo Meier has had a fantastic year. Meier has been on a roll for a while, culminating in a five-goal effort against L.A. this week, but he had been there for a while. Since mid-December, he’s been at the top of the league with eight goals and 16 points in ten games, and he’s guided the Sharks to a remarkable start to 2022.


Previously ranked at 14 points, with a percentage of 0.549. The following games are scheduled for the next seven days: vs. COL (Jan. 19), vs. TB (Jan. 21), and At BOS (Jan. 24)

What’s the difference between retooling and rebuilding? Anaheim has had a dreadful month. COVID-19 absences probably had a part, but two victories in ten games isn’t good enough, no matter what the excuse. Has the Ducks’ incredible run come to an end? Is this just a blip on the radar? Giving up almost four goals per game isn’t going to help them get back on track. With All-Star goalkeeper John Gibson back in net, they may be able to turn things around.


Previous position: 19th percentile: 0.571 Next seven days: vs. FLA (Jan. 20), At NSH (Jan. 22), @ BOS (Jan. 22), @ PIT (Jan. 23). (Jan. 25)

Takeaway: Riding the crest of the crest of the crest of the crest of the Another Canadian team whose schedule has been hampered by provincial capacity limits is the Winnipeg Jets. Furthermore, Winnipeg has seen the worst COVID-19 epidemic in its history. It’s possible that you wouldn’t notice it based on the findings. Since mid-December, Winnipeg has won four of its first five games, outscoring opponents 15-7 in the process. And it seems that reinforcements are on the way in the shape of Blake Wheeler, who is back on the ice after an injury.


Previously ranked at 16 points, with a percentage of 0.528. The following games are scheduled for the next seven days: At BUF (Jan. 20), @ DET (Jan. 21), @ PHI (Jan. 24), and @ NJ (Jan. 25)

Takeaway: There’s a lot of drama in Big D. Rick Bowness isn’t a man who minces his words. Dallas has won five games in a row, and its coach is praising the team’s tenacity while admitting there are certain guys he’d want to healthy scratch if he had the option. Bowness has even demoted top defender John Klingberg in an attempt to jump-start his team. Will the tactics be effective in the long run? We’ll have to wait and see.

2 Related


Previously ranked at 18 points, with a percentage of 0.500. The following games are scheduled over the next seven days: vs. FLA (Jan. 21), vs. STL (Jan. 23), and vs. EDM (Jan. 25)

Takeaway: Follow the laws of the road. The Canucks have been on the road for the better part of a month. While the club is still benefitting from Bruce Boudreau’s addition, its results haven’t been as constant as they have been in the past, especially against elite teams like Carolina, Florida, and Tampa Bay. Is Vancouver, which has a lot of distance to make up in the Pacific, ready to fight for a playoff spot?


Previously ranked at 17 points, with a percentage of 0.543. The following games are scheduled for the next seven days: vs. FLA (Jan. 20), vs. CGY (Jan. 22), and At VAN (Jan. 25)

The bottom line is that everything is terrible. Putting aside the COVID-19 difficulties that Edmonton has had to deal with this season — after all, what club hasn’t? — It’s excruciating to watch the Oilers attempt to dig themselves out of this hole. Edmonton hasn’t won in almost a month, goalkeeper Mike Smith is out again, Connor McDavid has been relegated to the second line, and there’s increasing dissatisfaction with what the front office can — or will — do to plug the gaps.


Previously ranked at 22 points, with a percentage of 0.513. The next seven days include games against DAL (Jan. 21) and NSH (Jan. 28). (Jan. 22)

The bottom line is that things are slowing down in the Motor City. The Red Wings started December on a high note, but they’ve since struck some bumps. Detroit hasn’t been scoring as much or as often as it used to, having been shut out twice in the last week alone. All season, the Red Wings have depended heavily on youngster Lucas Raymond, but he’s only scored two goals since December 1. The next weeks will be crucial.


Previous position: 25 points, 0.500 percentile vs. ARI (Jan. 21), against. TOR (Jan. 22), vs. PHI (Jan. 23). (Jan. 25)

Takeaway: I’m ready to go. Don’t look now, but the Islanders are about to make a big move. They just completed their first three-game winning run of the season, winning five of their last seven games in the new UBS Arena, and the squad is finally gaining traction. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but New York seems to be up to the task.


Previously ranked: 24 points, 0.446 percentile vs. ARI (Jan. 19), vs. CAR (Jan. 22), vs. LA (Jan. 23), vs. DAL (Jan. 24). (Jan. 25)

The bottom line is that the team with the first goal wins. The Devils really must score first (at least in this last month). New Jersey isn’t winning when it hasn’t (0-4). When it does, the results are far better (4-1-0). Knowing that the first goal in a game might apparently have such an impact on the outcome is a difficult mental situation for a team to be in.


This season will include 103 exclusive regular-season games across ESPN, ESPN+, Hulu and ABC, and more than 1,000 out-of-market games will be available on ESPN+. • How to watch • Subscribe to ESPN+ • Stream the NHL on ESPN


Previously ranked at 27 points with a percentage of 0.436. The following games are scheduled for the next seven days: against. CBJ (Jan. 20), At BUF (Jan. 22), vs. DAL (Jan. 24), and @ NYI (Jan. 25)

Takeaway: Will you have better success next year? If the previous month has taught us anything, it’s that the Flyers’ season will need a miracle to save it. It was bad enough that the team had lost eight consecutive games heading into Tuesday night. It was much worse if you scored more than two goals in just one of those games. The fact that Philadelphia’s eight-game losing streak wasn’t even the season’s longest? So, there you have it.


Previously ranked at 23 points, with a percentage of 0.486. The following games are scheduled over the next seven days: @ PHI (Jan. 20), vs. PIT (Jan. 21), and vs. OTT (Jan. 23)

Takeaway: Put an end to the bleeding. In the last month, the Blue Jackets have played eight games and have given up the second-most goals in the league (36). Coach Brad Larsen told his players not to lose up on themselves or the season after a 9-2 defeat to Florida. With the season about half-way through, Columbus must address its defensive difficulties if it is to make the playoffs.


Previously ranked at 29 points, with a percentage of 0.375. Next seven days: vs. BUF (Jan. 20), vs. PIT (Jan. 22), vs. WSH (Jan. 22), vs. CBJ (Jan. 23). (Jan. 25)

Batherson has a big break ahead of him. Ottawa has only played four games in 2022, so it still has a lot of distance to make up in the second half of the season. Is he the individual who can assist them? Drake Batherson is a character in the film Drake Batherson. He’s been the Senators’ all-around player all season and in their recent games, demonstrating why he’s a deserving first-time All-Star selection. Batherson will undoubtedly be at the helm if Ottawa attempts to make any type of push from here.


Previously ranked: 26 points, 0.462 percentile The following games are scheduled for the next seven days: vs. MIN (Jan. 21), At MIN (Jan. 22), and @ COL (Jan. 23). (Jan. 24)

Flower Power prowess is the takeaway. The Blackhawks have been stuck in a rut for the better part of a month, going 1-4-3 in early January. Marc-Andre Fleury, though, returned from the COVID-19 procedures to save the day. The Blackhawks’ goaltender settled in and put together a 4-0-1 run to get the team back on track and feeling good about the new year.


Previous position: 28 points, with a percentage of 0.342. against. SJ (Jan. 20), vs. STL (Jan. 21), vs. FLA (Jan. 23), vs. NSH (Jan. 24). (Jan. 25)

The moral of the story is to keep pointing fingers. The Kraken have had a shaky start and have had a challenging month (at 1-7-1). Who is to blame for Seattle’s poor performance? So, it’s up to you to decide. Head coach Dave Hakstol, GM Ron Francis’s bad job in the expansion draft, a lack of offense, routinely awful goaltending, and more have all come under fire recently. Placing blame, on the other hand, will not help Seattle get back on track.


Previous position: 31 points, with a percentage of 0.397. The following games are scheduled for the next seven days: vs. DAL (Jan. 20), vs. PHI (Jan. 22), and At OTT (Jan. 25)

Takeaway: The goalkeeper cemetery is growing. Without excellent goalie, it’s tough to win games. It’s much more difficult when no one is fit enough to play the role. During the last month, the Sabres have seen one goalkeeper after another go down with injury, and only scoring approximately two goals per game hasn’t helped relieve the strain on whomever is in net. Buffalo desperately needs help on both sides of the field. Is Michael Houser the solution in goal after a 43-save performance?


Previously ranked at 32 points, with a percentage of 0.297. The following games are scheduled for the next seven days: At NJ (Jan. 19), @ NYI (Jan. 21), @ NYR (Jan. 22), @ PIT (Jan. 23). (Jan. 25)

Takeaway: Vejmelka is on the edge of a breakthrough. The Coyotes don’t win many games, but they do have a good goaltender. Karel Vejmelka snatched a win for the Coyotes against the Maple Leafs last week, and he’s been a constant presence for the Coyotes over the previous month as they try to find consistency.


30 pts. 0.276 pts. 0.276 pts. 0.276 pts The following games are scheduled over the next seven days: At VGK (Jan. 20), @ COL (Jan. 22), and @ MIN (Jan. 24)

Takeaway: One good decision. Montreal’s finest move this month was the appointment of Chantal Machabée as vice president of communication. Between COVID-19 difficulties and capacity limits, it didn’t win any of the first six games it played in 2022.

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