NHL Power Rankings: Non-playoff teams most likely to make 2022 postseason


In this week’s edition of the NHL Power Rankings we take a look at the 15 teams that missed the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs and which ones are most likely to return to the postseason in 2022.

Every year there are always one or two teams that rebound to make the playoffs after a down year and there are no shortage of options to look at here. Obviously a lot will depend on the offseason and what teams do in trades and free agency, but we are just looking at teams in the best position right now to improve.

The Stars seem like the most obvious choice given their success the previous two seasons and the injury situation they dealt with. Right behind them are the Rangers and Flyers, and a couple of teams that could be sleepers going into the 2021-22 season.

Where does your team (assuming it missed the playoffs this season) land on this week’s NHL Power Rankings?

To the NHL Power Rankings!

The Most Likely candidates

1. Dallas Stars. This is an easy pick. During the 2019 and 2020 postseasons no team won more playoff games than the Stars, and they are just one-year removed from a Stanley Cup Final appearance. Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov are their two best offensive players and were limited to just 14 games total(and they never played in a game together), while Ben Bishop never played. When healthy they have a great top line, some strong complementary pieces, good goaltending depth, and a pair of No. 1 defenders (Miro Heiskanen and John Klingberg). They also had an unfathomable run of bad luck in overtime and shootouts. This season is the outlier.

2. New York Rangers. They totally cleaned house by firing John Davidson, Jeff Gorton, and head coach David Quinn because there was a belief they underachieved. But did they? They were stuck in a division with four Cup contenders, lost Artemi Panarin and Igor Shesterkin for extended periods of time, and had a slow start from Mika Zibanejad as he returned from COVID. Having Panarin, Shesterkin, and a fully healthy Zibanejad all year would have made a significant difference, and they probably would have been a playoff team this season had they played in any of the other three divisions. The young talent on this team is as impressive as any other team in the league, while they have two established stars in Panarin and Zibanejad.

3. Philadelphia Flyers. Their season was sabotaged by an old problem — goaltending. Specifically, Carter Hart not only failing to take a step forward, but significantly regressing. They need him to return to the form he showed in his first two seasons, and they could also use a big addition on defense to help strengthen their blue line.

The division makes it possible

4. Calgary Flames. A big step backwards for the Flames as they put together one of their worst seasons in nearly a decade. The offense dried up, Jacob Markstrom did not perform the way the Flames expected him to in goal, and it was just an overall disappointing season. Next year they return to the Pacific Division where they will be surrounded by two teams at the top (Vegas and Edmonton), a bunch of rebuilding teams, and an expansion team (Seattle). They should be better than this.


[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2021 First Round schedule, TV info]

Long shots, but possible

5. Arizona Coyotes. They hung around in the playoff race for a while this season before running out of steam down the stretch. They have a ton of unrestricted free agents to deal, especially on defense, but they have some strong pieces at the top (Jakob Chychrun, Phil Kessel, Conor Garland, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Clayton Keller) and moving to the Central Division next season with some flawed teams and what should be a wide open race for the third automatic spot. 

6. New Jersey Devils. You know what makes the Devils interesting? Jack Hughes being another year older and on the verge of a breakout season, hopefully a fully healthy Nico Hischier and Mackenzie Blackwood, and an enormous amount of salary cap space to play with in an offseason where other teams around the league are going to have to shed salary or make tough expansion draft decisions. The Devils could be there to pounce on all of that and really start to build something around Hughes, Hischier, and Blackwood.

7. Vancouver Canucks. What the Canucks have going for them: They have the high-end talent a team needs to compete, and like Calgary and Arizona are playing in a division that is wide open. What the Canucks have working against them: An awful salary cap situation, no depth beyond the top players, and a front office that has not been great at managing its assets.

8. Columbus Blue Jackets. Pretty much everything went wrong for the Blue Jackets this season, and they should be better than this. Will they respond to a different coach? A lot of this team’s success will depend on what the goalies do, and whether or not they can figure out a way to get more out of Max Domi and Patrik Laine.

[Related: Blue Jackets, John Tortorella mutually agree to part ways]

9. Chicago Blackhawks. They definitely have some players. Patrick Kane is still an elite scorer, Alex DeBrincat and Dominik Kubalik are strong top-six forwards, and they found out this year that Pius Suter and Philipp Kurashav look like NHL players. A full season of Kirby Dach and (hopefully) a Jonathan Toews return could really boost the center depth. Scoring depth, defense, and goaltending will still be the big question marks that have to be addressed in a meaningful way. That might be too much to address in one offseason.

10. Los Angeles Kings. Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty are still really good players and they have one of the absolute best farm systems in the league. You also have to anticipate they will be in the market for a major splash in the offseason (*cough* Jack Eichel?) given their trade assets to work with and salary cap space.

Start thinking about 2022

11. Ottawa Senators. They are getting there. They really are. They finished this season with a winning record over their final 41 games, they have a great collection of young talent, and they have salary cap space. But ownership has to be willing to spend to the cap, and they are going back to a division where Boston, Tampa Bay, and Toronto have the three automatic spots locked down. That means a Wild Card spot is probably the ceiling right now, and I just do not see that big of a jump in one offseason. The 2022-23 season is the season to look at.

12. Detroit Red Wings. Everything we just said about Ottawa: Repeat it here. Same thing applies. Their young talent just seems to be a little bit behind where Ottawa’s is.

[Related: What went wrong for the 2020-21 Detroit Red Wings]

13. San Jose Sharks. An aging, declining core, a lot of bad contracts, no goalie, and not much young talent on the horizon makes for a bleak situation in San Jose for the foreseeable future. They have a .444 points percentage, 27th in the NHL, over the past two years.

14. Buffalo Sabres. They look like they are on the verge of starting a rebuild to try and fix their most recent rebuild. This is not a good team to begin with, and you have to consider the possibility that Jack Eichel and/or Sam Reinhart will be playing for somebody else next season.

15. Anaheim Ducks. They just cannot commit to a full rebuild and there is not really anything here that offers a lot of short-term or long-term hope that they will be competing for the playoffs or a championship anytime soon.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Coyotes minority owner suspended by NHL following arrest

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NEW YORK — Arizona Coyotes minority owner Andrew Barroway was suspended indefinitely by the NHL on Friday following his arrest for domestic violence in Colorado.

Online court records show Barroway was arrested on Thursday on suspicion of second-degree assault strangulation, a felony, and third-degree assault, a misdemeanor. He appeared in court Friday to be advised of the possible charges he is facing and is scheduled to back in court on April 3.

Barroway spent Thursday night in Pitkin County Jail after police arrested him at an Aspen hotel, according to a police report obtained by the Aspen Daily News.

“The National Hockey League is aware of the arrest of Arizona Coyotes’ minority owner Andrew Barroway,” the NHL said in a statement. “Pending further information, he has been suspended indefinitely.”

The 57-year-old Barroway was arrested after a verbal altercation with his wife turned physical, according to the police report. He is prohibited from having contact with his wife, except when it involves their children, and can’t consume alcohol under a court order.

A prominent hedge fund manager, Barroway owns 5% of the Coyotes.

“We are aware of the allegation regarding Mr. Barroway and we are working with the League to gather more information,” the Coyotes said in a statement. “When we have enough information, we will have an appropriate response. Until the investigation is complete, we will have no further comment.”

Blue Jackets’ Patrik Laine out 2-4 weeks with triceps injury

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — Columbus Blue Jackets forward Patrik Laine is out 2-4 weeks after straining a triceps muscle in practice, yet another blow to the last-place team in the NHL that has been hampered by injuries all season.

The Blue Jackets announced Laine’s absence before their home game against the New York Islanders.

They already have 454 man-games lost to injury, one of the highest numbers in the league, and have a record of 22-41-7.

Laine missed two separate stints with elbow and ankle injuries in the fall. The 24-year-old Finn is the team’s second-leading scorer with 52 points in 55 games.

Columbus has been top defenseman Zach Werenski since November because of a torn labrum and separated shoulder. Forward Sean Kuraly recently went on injured reserve with a strained left oblique muscle but is set to return Friday.

Tortorella earns 700th career win, Flyers top Wild 5-4

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PHILADELPHIA — John Tortorella needed one word to sum up if 700 career wins meant anything to the Flyers coach.


OK, then. Good thing the brusque Stanley Cup winner isn’t paid by the word.

James van Riemsdyk scored the only goal in a shootout, and Philadelphia beat the Minnesota Wild 5-4 on Thursday night for Tortorella’s 700th victory.

Tortorella is 700-573-181 in 1,454 games as an NHL head coach. His 700 wins rank 12th in NHL history and his career games rank ninth in NHL history. He led Tampa Bay to the Stanley Cup in 2004. In his first season coaching the Flyers, Tortorella joined Peter Laviolette as the second American-born coach to win 700 games.

“I think the culture’s kind of changed around here,” Flyers forward Joel Farabee said. “I think he’s done a really good job of keeping the group together.”

Farabee, Scott Laughton, Rasmus Ristolainen and Tyson Foerster scored for Philadelphia. The Flyers have two straight games for the first time since Jan. 9-14 when they won three straight. Yeah, it’s been that kind of season.

“Farabee’s starting to pop, he’s looking real good. Tyson is looking real good,” Flyers defenseman Tony DeAngelo said. “This is all about laying the foundation for next year but we get a lot of money to do this job. It’s something we love, so we’re gonna go out and give it our best every night.”

Matt Boldy had two goals for the Wild, and Oskar Sundqvist and Marcus Foligno also scored.

“We weren’t very good. They were good,” Wild coach Dean Evason said. “We knew they were playing well, they played well tonight. We were loose. We were not firm, turnovers, it didn’t look like our hockey club.”

The Flyers and Wild were tied 1-all at the end of the first period, 3-3 at the end of the second and 4-4 headed into OT.

The rebuilding Flyers have been plucky of late. They had won two of three coming into the game, with the lone loss in overtime. They showed some of that grit in the final two periods, scoring late tying goals.

“It’s a credit to their group, to their coaching staff, that they’ve got them playing the right way,” Evason said.

Boldy poked a backhander past Carter Hart with 6:28 left for a 4-3 lead. The Flyers, playing more for the No. 1 pick and for pride, tied the game on Foerster’s second goal of the season.

Farabee tipped in Cam York’s shot early in the second for a 2-1 lead.

The Wild got going when Boldy ripped one top shelf past Hart for his 24th goal of the season that tied the game 2-all. Foligno scored his seventh goal for the 3-2 lead.

Ristolainen buried a hard slapper from the blue line on the power play for the tying goal with 23 seconds left in the second.

“I think it’s good to try to lay this foundation, kind of get ready for next year. You see guys getting confidence,” DeAngelo said.

The Flyers only played ahead in the first period.

Laughton scored off the rush for his 17th goal of the season and a 1-0 lead. Sundqvist celebrated his birthday with a deflection for the tying goal with 3:24 left in the period.

The Flyers had been one of the lowest-scoring teams in the NHL until the start of this seven-game homestand (3-2 so far). They have scored at least three goals in every game and at least four in the last four.

“We have definitely gotten to the net better,” Tortorella said. “We have spent a lot of time on the ice and with tape as far as getting to that area.”


Wild: Host Chicago on Saturday.

Flyers: Host Detroit on Saturday.

Crosby reaches 30-goal mark, Penguins knock off Avalanche 5-2

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DENVER – Sidney Crosby wasn’t even aware of reaching yet another milestone. He’s simply locked in on helping the Pittsburgh Penguins make a 17th straight postseason appearance.

Jeff Carter had a pair of goals, Crosby scored on a nifty backhand shot in the second period to reach the 30-goal mark for an 11th season and the Penguins beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-2.

Crosby moved into a tie with Hall-of-Fame center Mario Lemieux for the most 30-goal seasons in Penguins history. Another milestone reached – it came as news to him.

“I think the most important thing for me is just try to be consistent and if that reflects that great,” said Crosby, who turns 36 in August.

Even more, Crosby’s the first player in league history to post a 30-goal campaign at 18 years old and again when he was 35-plus, according to NHL Stats.

“It means I’ve been in the league for a while,” Crosby cracked. “That’s been the thing that’s driven me since since I got into the league – in your first year, you want to prove that you belong. Even at 35, I still think you want to prove you belong, because it is a younger league.”

Jake Guentzel also scored and Bryan Rust added an empty-net goal for the Penguins, who snapped a four-game slide and moved back into a wild-card spot in the East.

“It’s definitely a big one for us, for sure,” Guentzel said. “Defending champs, coming to their building, you know how good they are. Top to bottom, we defended hard and that’s what we have to do at this time of the year.”

Pittsburgh goaltender Tristan Jarry stopped 28 shots in improving to 11-4 this season against teams from the Western Conference.

J.T. Compher and Devon Toews had goals for the Avalanche, whose six-game winning streak was halted. Nathan MacKinnon had an assist to extend his home points streak to 18 games.

It was a missed opportunity for Colorado, which could’ve pulled into a three-way tie with Dallas and Minnesota in the Central Division with a victory.

“We knew they were going to play with urgency,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “But I didn’t feel like there was any reason why we couldn’t, either. … We didn’t get it done. Hopefully we get another one.”

Alexandar Georgiev made 40 saves, including several critical ones in a second period controlled by the Penguins, who outshot the Avalanche by a 21-9 margin. It could’ve been more than a 3-1 deficit heading into the third period.

Toews’ power-play goal made it 3-2 with 9:32 remaining. But Carter wrapped up the win with his first multigoal game in the regular season since Jan. 11, 2022.

“I’m thrilled for him. We’re all thrilled,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said of Carter. “He cares about the Penguins. He wants to win, and he wants to contribute in helping us win so we couldn’t be happier for him.”


Bednar was appreciative of the three-year extension he signed Tuesday that goes through the 2026-27 season. In his seventh season, he’s the third-longest tenured coach in the NHL behind Tampa Bay’s Jon Cooper (March 2013) and Sullivan (December 2015).

“It’s not a forgiving league or sport, for the most part, but obviously that’s part of the reason why I’m so grateful and thankful,” Bednar said. “Because there were times over my tenure that got a little hairy and management could have made another decision. But obviously they didn’t.”


Avalanche D Cale Makar missed a second straight game with a lower body injury. “I still have him as day-to-day,” Bednar said. … F Darren Helm returned after missing 64 of 69 games this season with a lower-body injury. … Penguins D Jeff Petry (upper body) skated in the morning but sat out his third straight game. … The Penguins are 11-1 against the Central Division this season. … Penguins standout Evgeni Malkin assisted on Guentzel’s goal to reach the 50-assist mark for a seventh time in his career.


Penguins: At Dallas on Thursday night.

Avalanche: Host Arizona on Friday night.