NHL power rankings: Prepare for Game 7s, our first real ties — plus birds

In the opening round of the playoffs, a lot can change in a week. The balance of power stays pretty consistent over the course of a full season — we know who the good and bad teams are — but that shifts quickly in a single series, especially as some teams get eliminated or are put on the brink of elimination.

Here at Power Rankings HQ, it’s our job to sort all that out — and we of course do it perfectly every week. No notes. That’s what all 200 comments say every week: “This is exactly right, I have no complaints at all.” As always, we thank you for your unwavering support of our ranking ability.

This week, we’ve got 14 teams still in it, two that are freshly banished and new, feathered friends for the rest of the field.


1. Colorado Avalanche

Series: Won 4-0 against Nashville
Last week: 1
Dom rank: 1
Sean rank: 1

Dom: Dominate Round 1 against an inferior opponent? Check. One of their superstars is being thrown into the “best player in the world” conversation? Check. Sudden question marks in net? Check. Avalanche Playoff Bingo is off to a strong start.

Personally, I’m hoping “lose in Round 2 once again” does not get checked off this year. This team is far too much fun to watch and a lengthy run would be what’s best for the game.

Sean: The Avs have a question mark in net, in the sense that eye injuries are scary and weird — but Darcy Kuemper really does seem to have gotten lucky here. He’ll be ready for Game 1 of Colorado’s second-round series after narrowly avoiding having his eyeball scooped out by Ryan Johansen.

That’s great for a bunch of reasons. It’s also, obviously, huge for the Avs. That’s not breaking any ground — they’re good, and Kuemper is their goalie. He’s not some hidden gem. At the same time, I’m not sure that folks realize just how solid he was this past season, especially after the first couple months. In 41 appearances after Dec. 8, Kuemper’s goals saved above expected was 18.33, third in the NHL, and his .927 save percentage was second among starters. The Cale Makar Show has been special. All those goals are a blast. Kuemper is what makes it matter.

2. Florida Panthers

Series: Up 3-2 on Washington
Last week: 3
Dom rank: 2
Sean rank: 2

Dom: There have been several worrisome stretches for the Panthers in this series where they just didn’t look like themselves. Slow, tentative and not very engaged. It was weird to watch from the league’s most dynamic and explosive team, but that’s playoff hockey for you. It can stifle even the most creative offensive teams and it took a bit for the Panthers to find an answer for Washington.

Games 4 and 5 were a lot closer to that, a callback to a regular season full of comebacks. Is it a bad sign that the Panthers are down and need to come back as often as they do? Probably. But damn if they aren’t really, really good at it. Two minutes left in the game on Monday? No problem. Down three goals on Wednesday? No worries. That’s the beauty of being a deep, star-studded, offensive juggernaut — they can pull it off.

That depth is key because if the stars are a bit quiet, there are other options who can step up. Like, say, Carter Verhaeghe dropping five points in Game 5.

Sean: So you’re saying Carter Verhaeghe isn’t a star? The disrespect. Yeah, I was ready to sound the alarm midway through Game 5 against the Caps. If you listened, you could almost hear the calls for Barry Trotz to replace Andrew Brunette. Faint whispers of “defensive structure,” floating north from the Ft. Lauderdale area.

Instead, they’re back in control. I’m not quite ready to put them through, but it does feel like we’ve seen some sort of course correction over the last two games. And really, isn’t this the sort of series that inexperienced teams typically lose? Battle-tested opponents. Lots of deficits. And yet, here they are. That says something.

3 (tied). Toronto Maple Leafs

Series: Tied 3-3 with Tampa Bay
Last week: 5
Dom rank: 3
Sean rank: 4

Dom: This Leafs team is different. That’s been obvious from Game 1 of this series and has shown itself multiple times throughout the series. Coming back from 2-0 deficits in both Games 5 and 6 shows their resiliency, their ability to rise to the occasion with their backs against the wall. Game 6 ended in a loss, sure, but it was a well-played one that can be built on for the deciding game. In the most important games of their season they haven’t wilted as usual, and that’s a good sign.

But there’s a difference between “different” and “different enough to beat the defending champions” — that’s where Game 7 comes into play.

It was always going to take seven games to sort out this series, because that’s the case for every Leafs series always. It’s admirable that the Leafs have proven to be Tampa Bay’s equal so far, but there’s one final game left to show they really are different this time. Different enough to finally win a round.

Sean: Perfect. No notes, indeed.

Actually, one note: “Game 6 ended in a loss, sure, but …” puts you in the third stage of grief. For Friday morning, that isn’t bad.

In any case, this series has been a treat to watch. My only thought is that the Lightning should have to wear silver helmets or something in Game 7, because I’m too dumb to differentiate between the jersey templates.

3 (tied). Tampa Bay Lightning

Series: Tied 3-3 with Toronto
Last week: 6
Dom rank: 4
Sean rank: 3

Dom: The Tampa Bay Lightning have the heart of a champion — a double champion at that — and they will not go quietly in this one. Every punch thrown by the Leafs was met by an equal counterpunch by the Lightning. It’s been a fascinating and evenly-matched back-and-forth affair — one that shows the Lightning aren’t quite ready to concede their role as champions. Even against a very hungry team trying to prove it belongs in the same echelon.

Perhaps the scariest part is that it feels like Tampa Bay still has another level it can reach. Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point have been two of the most dominant playoff performers over the last two runs, and while they’ve shown flashes in this series, it feels like there’s another gear they can get to. A Game 7 environment feels like the exact time for them to show that off.

The same is true for Andrei Vasilevskiy who has kept up his impressive streak after a loss, but also has an .886 save percentage for the series, the lowest of any full-time goalie. It helps that Jack Campbell has the second lowest in what’s been a high-octane matchup — but we both know who we trust more with one game on the line.

Sean: Yeah, you stole my line a little with that one. Tampa coming back to win Game 6 might have stopped the “uhh, did they just lose a series because of Andrei Vasilevskiy” narrative from taking hold. But it’s true. He has not been good.

Another thing that came up during Game 6: When, down the line, will we be ready to say that the Lightning’s run as constituted is over? It’s a moving target, but I can’t see the page truly flipping until Victor Hedman is over the hill. And brother, at the moment he certainly is not. He’s having the sort of series that still makes it OK to pencil him in as a Norris finalist.

Other than that, I appreciate you breaking on the reverse jinx on this one. Kucherov, Point and Vasilevskiy, all potentially cursed in one fell swoop.

5. Calgary Flames

Series: Up 3-2 on Dallas
Last week: 4
Dom rank: 5
Sean rank: 5

Dom: The good news: no team has allowed fewer goals at five-on-five than the Flames at 0.85 per 60. The bad news: they also rank 15th in goals-per-60 at 1.42. This series has been an offensive black hole so far and that’s a bit worrying for a team that was seventh in goals-per-60 at five-on-five this season at 2.96. That’s a big drop. The worrying part for me is that Dallas has been able to impose its preferred style of play, turning each game into a slog. The Flames are winning anyways and there have been parts of the series where they’ve looked closer to themselves, but I’d be a little concerned about an elite team not being able to dictate the pace of play.

The other issue for me is who isn’t scoring. Tyler Toffoli, brought in to bring scoring in the middle six, has no goals yet and just a lone secondary assist. Matthew Tkachuk hasn’t found twine yet and Johnny Gaudreau only has the penalty shot goal. Even Andrew Mangiapane had a goose egg through the first four games.

It might be enough to get past the Stars, but this team needs more if it wants to go farther.

Sean: The Flames basically did what they wanted in Game 4. In all situations, they out-attempted Dallas 101-62, outshot them 54-35 and controlled 65 percent of expected goals. They couldn’t crack Jake Oettinger, but it at least resembled a normal game.

Game 5? Back to the slog, for at least the first two periods. The difference-maker down the stretch was the Mangiapane-Mikael Backlund-Blake Coleman line. On one hand, that’s a good sign for the Flames; at least a couple guys on the middle six are going to have to produce if they want to get anywhere.

On the other, it was another low-impact game for Tkachuk and another white-knuckle win. They’re still my pick for the series — and they’re not going to run into another team like the Stars, unless someone changes horses midstream — but this has been closer than anyone thought.

6. Carolina Hurricanes

Series: Tied 3-3 with Boston
Last week: 2
Dom rank: 6
Sean rank: 6

Dom: The bad news for Carolina is that the Hurricanes have squandered some pretty good opportunities in this series to put the Bruins away. Up 2-0 and up 3-2 should’ve been enough. The good news? The home team has won every game in this series so far and Carolina is at home for Game 7. Sometimes, it’s that simple.

Against the Bruins it really can be just that, as avoiding the dreaded Patrice Bergeron matchup for their top guys can be a crucial cog towards victory. In three home games Sebastian Aho has played under two combined minutes against Bergeron. In three road games he’s played just over 19. Pretty big difference and given the numbers you can see why it’s something Carolina would avoid. Aho has a 60.5 percent expected goals rate away from Bergeron in this series, but that drops to 35.4 percent in the head-to-head matchup.

Sean: Plus, in Game 6, the rest of the forward group failed to capitalize on the Aho line getting thrown to the wolves. Carolina managed a grand total of two other high-danger five-on-five chances while the first line was off the ice.

This series has been weird. It’s competitive on balance — Boston has the edge at five-on-five, but it tightens when you include special teams. No surprise there. But none of the games have been particularly good. The winners have outscored the losers 29-10. I’m hoping for a killer Game 7 that completely overshadows whatever happens in Toronto.

7 (tied). St. Louis Blues

Record: Won 4-2 against Minnesota
Last week: 9
Dom rank: 8
Sean rank: 7

Dom: Why did I rank the Blues, a team that is in the second round, lower than six teams who are not yet in the second round? Easy. Because they’re playing the Avalanche.

Admittedly, I’ve been very wrong about the Blues all season, so I’m sure they’ll find a way to sweep Colorado on the back of four straight shutouts by Jordan Binnington. But the talent discrepancy is a bit too much to ignore. It’s not as big as last year, but it’s still pretty wide. St. Louis had Minnesota’s number during the regular season and that manifested in an impressive series win, but the Avalanche are going to be an entirely different beast.

Sean: Unless they’re not! Short series are weird! On one hand, I want to say that the plan St. Louis used against Minnesota — rely on shooting talent to break even at five-on-five despite having the puck a whole lot less than your opponents, and hope to draw more penalties — is basically what’s worked for them all season long.

On the other, the Blues’ third and fourth defensemen against the Wild were Niko Mikkola and Calle Rosen. Much as I’d enjoy doing so, I can’t sign off on that against Colorado. Maybe Binnington keeps this up, and I’m certainly done discounting this particular forward group, but there are too many red flags, against too good of an opponent, for me to talk myself all the way in the other direction.

And hey, at least you didn’t rank them behind a team that’s already eliminated. Baby steps.

7 (tied). Pittsburgh Penguins

Series: Up 3-2 on New York
Last week: 11
Dom rank: 7
Sean rank: 8

Dom: There have been far too many “what ifs” in Sidney Crosby’s illustrious career when it comes to injuries. His entire peak was nearly wiped out by them and we missed out on a lot of greatness as a result.

That’s why it was difficult to see Crosby leave Game 5, especially considering what he had shown so far in the playoffs. Until that point he was the MVP of the opening round with nine points in four games and a stupid good expected goals rate north of 70 percent. He was outright dominant, an unanswerable force that was taking games over and making it difficult to see a path forward for the Rangers. He and his line were the reason Pittsburgh was up 3-1 and this series had arguably been his best playoff showing in a long time. At age 34 no less.

I really hope it’s not as bad as it looks and he can make a speedy recovery. The playoffs are better with Crosby in it, especially this version of Crosby that looks exactly as good as he did at his peak.

Sean: I’ve watched more of Crosby’s games over the years than the average bear, and I can tell you that, if I ever got out of the habit of wincing when he took a big hit, it happened recently. This is not a topic I was eager to revisit, but here we are. Feels bad.

From a hockey standpoint, it’s no exaggeration to say that the Penguins would be on to the second round already had Jacob Trouba opted not to elbow Crosby in the face. Instead, they were scrambling from the moment he left; Jeff Carter took Crosby’s spot on the top line, the Rangers scored immediately and the series turned back into a coin flip.

Yes, the Penguins had dominated five-on-five play — but the Crosby line was behind a disproportionate amount of that dominance. Now, they’re a Crosby-less team possibly rolling out Louis Domingue and asking him to win at least one more game. That’s not ideal.

9. Boston Bruins

Series: Tied 3-3 with Carolina
Last week: 14
Dom rank: 9
Sean rank: 9

Dom: The resolve of the Bruins has been admirable in this series. They fought back from down 2-0, including one win without star defender Charlie McAvoy. And with their backs against the wall facing elimination they tied the series at three with a decisive win. Now their biggest challenge awaits: just win a game on the road.

That’s been the issue for both teams in this series, but it’s only a problem for the Bruins now in the deciding game. One thing that would certainly help is more goals at five-on-five. Boston has generated 2.4 expected goals per 60 in this series, but only 2.1 actual goals per 60. Everyone below the Bruins is either eliminated, facing elimination or playing Dallas. It’s not good company. What they really need is literally anything from the bottom six as they don’t have a single five-on-five goal from anyone on the third or fourth line. Hard to win a round under those circumstances.

Sean: They just got goals from Charlie Coyle, Erik Haula and Derek Forbort in the same game. That’s probably as close as the Bruins can get to depth scoring — and honestly? Not bad. We’d all gotten accustomed over the last couple years, I think, to throwing up our hands and saying “If the Bergeron line doesn’t carry them, they’re screwed.”

That’s not false, either. It’s not like the big guys were bad in Game 6. Brad Marchand opened the scoring, and they spent the rest of the game caving in the Hurricanes’ top line. But they got enough. If we get two more goals from the Coyle/Haula tier in Game 7, I like Boston’s chances.

10 (tied). Edmonton Oilers

Series: Tied 3-3 with Los Angeles
Last week: 10
Dom rank: 10
Sean rank: 11

Dom: Connor McDavid does not want to lose this series. He wants the sweet taste of playoff success and he wants it badly. He leads the playoffs with 12 points in six games and is absolutely torching the Kings at five-on-five, justly outscoring them 9-4 (the expected goals is at 9-3.6). Without Drew Doughty, the Kings do not have an answer for the Oilers phenom.

Edmonton made a lot of hay this year splitting him and Leon Draisaitl up. But the switch to overload the top line looks like a stroke of genius so far with McDavid having his best game of the playoffs in Game 6. He had a Game Score of 5.32 off the strength of three points and a 78 percent expected goals rate. If he can bring that same ferocity at home for the final game of the series, the Oilers have a really strong shot at winning their second playoff series in the McDavid era. It should be more by now, but one man can only do so much.

One other thing: we need to collectively put some more respect on Mike Smith’s name for his performance in this series. He bounced back well from a Game 1 dud to post a .931 save percentage and 6.2 goals saved above expected. The latter mark is second to only Jake Oettinger in this postseason.

Sean: Therein lies the beauty of Mike Smith, though. He for sure has been solid since whatever we all watched in that first game — and he for sure is capable of doing the exact same thing in Game 7. I’m psyched to see which guy we get.

And yeah, at some point in the third period of Game 5, it seemed clear that a McDavid-Draisaitl line was in the cards, unless Jay Woodcroft was going to start double-shifting both of them. That’s not an option against every opponent, but the Kings fit the bill. Woodcroft can go to it again in Game 7. He can keep McDavid-Draisaitl-Kailer Yamamoto away from the Philip Danault line too, if he wants. That’s a potentially scary thought, given what we saw in Game 6.

Also, McDavid isn’t a phenom anymore. Seven years in the NHL. Grizzled vet status.

10 (tied). New York Rangers

Series: Down 3-2 to Pittsburgh 
Last week: 8
Dom rank: 11
Sean rank: 10

Dom: No team looked more down and out than the Rangers after Game 4. Well, other than Nashville. Thoroughly dominated, an MVP goalie that suddenly looked beatable and a 3-1 series deficit. Every red flag from the regular season was looking bigger and brighter with each passing game — it was hard to see a path forward.

But a Game 5 win and more key injuries on the other side present a window. It sucks for the sport and isn’t something anyone will cheer for, but for the Rangers it is an opportunity. They had no answer for Sidney Crosby through five games, but now the answer to the Penguins gets a bit easier without him … if he doesn’t play the rest of the series.

But it should never be about what’s happening on the other side. It should be about what you can control on your own side. The Rangers don’t have a single player out-chancing the opposition in this series and that’s thanks to a woeful defence. Adam Fox has three goals and five points, but he’s also allowing a staggering 4.9 expected goals against per 60 in this series. Mika Zibanejad doesn’t have a goal yet and has been caved in at five-on-five. The team as a whole needs to start controlling play more, but that starts at the top.

Sean: The craziest part of Games 3-5 was just how little the Rangers made Louis Domingue work. In Game 4, they had one high-danger chance on a glorified AHL goalie. One! If they can consistently tilt possession in Game 6, they have a real chance of pulling off the comeback.

The funny thing about all this — and this is a shot across the bow against the Penguins — is that Igor Shesterkin, despite getting yanked in consecutive games, took a step back in the right direction in Game 5, posting a goals saved above expectations of 1.22. Was he putrid in the two games before that? Sure. But that sort of meltdown, given how good he was in the regular season, wasn’t likely to extend forever. More of that from him, plus an uptick in five-on-five play stemming from Crosby’s presumed absence, would make this series even more interesting.

Also, shoutout to Andrew Copp and Frank Vatrano. Two of the Rangers’ three forward acquisitions at the deadline have five goals between them. The other guy, Tyler Motte, is about to make his return.

12. Los Angeles Kings

Series: Tied 3-3 with Edmonton
Last week: 15
Dom rank: 12
Sean rank: 12

Dom: The good news for the Kings’ very real shot of advancing to the second round is that the whistles will no doubt be swallowed for the deciding game. Los Angeles has been the lesser team at five-on-five for the series, but the Kings have at least kept it tight. A special teams battle of any kind and the Kings’ chances would drop dramatically, as they’ve been outscored 9-3 there.

Sean: Regardless of what happens in Game 7, I love this series for Los Angeles. There was no reason for Rob Blake to mortgage any part of the future at the trade deadline for a roster that still felt like it was a year away — but next season, with Doughty back, it’ll be time to adjust the approach and expectations a bit. There are a lot of nice pieces there, spanning a couple different age clusters, and they’ve shown a lot down the stretch.

On Saturday night, maybe we get another vintage Playoff Jonathan Quick performance. I’m as close to openly rooting for this as I can get; Quick’s birthday is three days ahead of mine. Neither of us is old, obviously. Obviously.

Dom: Well …

13. Washington Capitals

Series: Down 3-2 to Florida
Last week: 12
Dom rank: 13
Sean rank: 13

Dom: The Capitals had the Panthers on the ropes with a big 3-0 lead in Game 5, but threw it all away quickly and are now in a deep hole to the Presidents’ Trophy winners. Momentum may not carry over from game-to-game in a playoff series, but that’s going to be a really tough one to bounce back from. The last two games really, as Washington was just two minutes away from a 3-1 series lead in Game 4 only to squander that, too.

That comes with the territory of playing the Cardiac Cats, but the inability to close out a game is going to be Washington’s demise here. It’s not just the results, but how they came about. The Capitals were able to keep the games close early on in the series in terms of expected goals share, but the last two games have started to skew much more in Florida’s direction.

To Washington’s credit, the stars have shown up in spades — shoutout to T.J. Oshie with five goals so far — it just may not be enough against a much stronger team.

Sean: I’m not ruling them out just yet; Game 6 is on Friday night, though, so if you’re reading this after a 5-1 Panthers win or whatever, just forget I said anything. In any case, I was primarily watching the other early game on Wednesday night, so I caught up and did a temperature check at Japers’ Rink — a standard move for the last … 15 years, maybe — and the way the Caps coughed up that 3-0 lead was, indeed, as ugly as you’d imagine.

If Florida closes it out, that’s going to be a source of regret — but the Caps did a lot of good stuff before the meltdown, too. They’ve played the Panthers even in all-situations goals (16-16) and expected goals (50.4-49-6, via Natural Stat Trick), but thing are certainly trending down. A fourth straight first-round exit wouldn’t be unexpected — god knows most of us used a Sharpie to mark Florida through to the second round — but it would hurt a little more than expected.

14. Dallas Stars

Series: Down 3-2 to Calgary
Last week: 13
Dom rank: 14
Sean rank: 14

Dom: The story of this series was supposed to be an epic top line battle featuring two of the league’s best. Instead, it’s been Oettinger’s breakout party, as he’s almost single-handedly made this series closer than it has any business being. It’s amazing to think he started the season in the AHL. In five games Oettinger has a .956 save percentage and has saved 9.3 goals above expected. That’s almost two per game. The fact the Stars are down in the series despite that performance is an incredible indictment of the rest of the team.

The Stars are very unlikely to win this series — they’re down 3-2 and came in as deserved underdogs — but the magnificent play of Oettinger is definitely something to build on. If the Stars fill some holes with their forward depth and he can keep up this level of elite play next season they might have something in 2023. They’re a team designed to win playoff games — they just ran into a much deeper team also capable of doing that.

Sean: Yeah, it’s been funny to watch a larger group of fans get their introduction to Oettinger. This isn’t some random dude. He was the 23rd pick in 2017. I’ve spent the last couple weeks watching the Flames try to go high-blocker on him and, uh, it hasn’t worked out.

In that same draft, by the way, the Stars scooped up Miro Heiskanen (No. 3) and Jason Robertson (No. 39). Those guys, combined with Roope Hintz and at least one more year of Joe Pavelski, are gigantic reasons for optimism. The issue, like we go over here every week, is that there isn’t much behind them, and they’re paying Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn more than $19 million combined through 2025. That makes the route forward a lot more difficult.

It also makes the Stars a lot more interesting. We know Jim Nill isn’t going to stop going all in, and we know ownership is on board with it, as well. If they can find a way to build on the bones of Heiskanen, Robertson, Hintz and Oettinger, they’re closer to being legit contenders than not.

15. Minnesota Wild

Series: Lost 4-2 to St. Louis
Last week: 7
Dom rank: 15
Sean rank: 15

Dom: Classic Minnesota sports: a major letdown performance in the deciding game. Two big things decided the series for the Wild: goaltending and special teams. Minnesota controlled the run of play to the tune of a 58 percent expected goals share, but earned just 47 percent of the actual goals at five-on-five against the Blues. Shooting 7.5 percent as one of the most efficient shooting teams isn’t good enough. A collective .908 goaltending effort isn’t good enough. The five-on-five battle was the one the Wild were supposed to win.

Special teams was even worse though, and that likely sealed the series. The Wild scored just four goals on the power play and allowed eight on the penalty kill. That’ll do it.

The worst part for me is the team wasted an awesome performance from Kirill Kaprizov who scored seven goals in six games. Not bad for the sophomore superstar — if only any of the team’s other offensive weapons showed up (not you Joel Eriksson Ek, you were fine).

Sean: The whole “wasted performance” deal only gets worse when you remember (not that Wild fans are capable of forgetting) that the bill on Zach Parise and Ryan Suter is officially due. For the next three seasons, Minnesota is going to sink between $12.7 and $14.7 million in cap space on buyouts for those two guys. Absolutely miserable stuff.

Almost as miserable as the series Kevin Fiala just had, in fact. And Ryan Hartman. And Marcus Foligno. And Mats Zuccarello. And Dean Evason! And Marc-Andre Fleury! And Cam Talbot! So many flat performances, so little time. I’ve made myself angry here. Goodbye, Minnesota.

16. Nashville Predators

Series: Lost 4-0 to Colorado
Last week: 16
Dom rank: 16
Sean rank: 16

Dom: Roman Josi had just two points and a 38 percent expected goals rate for the series. Filip Forsberg had just a single goal and a 41 percent expected goals rate. With Juuse Saros on the shelf, the Predators desperately needed their best skaters to step up in some way. They didn’t. This series loss is far from being on either of them, but their inability to elevate their games is why Nashville couldn’t win a single game.

Of course, that was always going to be an uphill battle against arguably the most talented team in the league. I mean, this is exactly what everyone expected would happen right? The question now is where does the team go from here.

Sean: If Forsberg indeed splits — he’s a UFA, and he seemed to take some extra time to leave the ice in Nashville — I think the choice is pretty well made for them, yeah? It should be, at least. I don’t have any issue with what David Poile did at the deadline, for the record. If he thought — or thinks — that a Forsberg return is on the table, it made sense to roll the dice. They weren’t good enough to avoid the Avs, though, Saros got hurt, and here they find themselves.

And it’s not a great spot! Their only real route at improvement is going to be through free agency, and they’re not close enough to contention to pull that off. Plus, Josi and Matt Duchene — good as they are — are both 31 years old. Saros is only 26 … but what would he look like after a rebuild? The big question is whether Poile is willing to make what looks like an increasingly obvious decision. Their offseason should be interesting.


As for the non-playoff squads? Hope you like birds! They’re supposed to match your team colors.

17. Vancouver Canucks

Record: 40-30-11

18. Vegas Golden Knights

Record: 42-31-8

19. Winnipeg Jets

Record: 37-32-11

20. New York Islanders

Record: 37-34-10

21. Buffalo Sabres

Record: 31-39-11

22. Anaheim Ducks

Record: 31-36-14

23. San Jose Sharks

Record: 32-36-13

24. Columbus Blue Jackets

Record: 37-37-7

25. Ottawa Senators

Record: 32-42-7

26. Detroit Red Wings

Record: 31-40-10

27. Chicago Blackhawks

Record: 28-42-11

28. New Jersey Devils

Record: 27-45-9

29. Seattle Kraken

Record: 26-48-6

30. Philadelphia Flyers

Record: 25-45-11

31. Montreal Canadiens

Record: 21-49-11

32. Arizona Coyotes

Record: 24-50-7

(Photo: Mark LoMoglio / NHLI via Getty Images)

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