The NHL season is almost under way. Many teams have already shown what they have to prove this year while others still have plenty of work to do. As the NHL preseason starts to slowly come to an end, the NHL writers of TWSN have come together to get rankings for the league headed into this season. Each writer made their own lists and the compiled list has the average rank of each team from 1-32. Next to each average rank will show the individual rankings from highest to lowest in parentheses.
32. Arizona Coyotes
Average Rank: 31 (Consensus)
The Coyotes are all in on their tanking phase as they look to win the lottery this next offseason to land generational talent Connor Bedard. They don’t have a real arena, or a decent prospect pool. But they definitely have the roster to tank and build a more compelling pipeline with all the draft capital they have. The Coyotes will be in the basement of the NHL standings for the second consecutive season.
31. Philadelphia Flyers
Average Rank: 29.6 (28, 30, 31)
With heart-breaking injuries to Sean Couturier and Ryan Ellis, the hopes of Flyers comeback are out the window entirely. Huge question marks surround their goaltending with the health and skill of Carter Hart. What makes it all worse is that they have no sense of direction as a franchise. They were hoping to land Johnny Gaudreau, as he was noted as a Flyers fan growing up. But the team never made any significant moves to clear cap space and acquire him. Now they remain in limbo with a questionable new coach in John Tortorella and a roster that screams mediocrity. But even with this rank for the Flyers, there is only one worse team than them in the league.
30. Chicago Blackhawks
Average Rank: 29 (28, 29, 30)
The Blackhawks tried to build a pseudo-contender around Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews after committing to them last year. In the end, they produced one of the worst teams Chicago has seen in recent years. Their talent across the board is just awful. They will have relevance due to the fact Kane and Toews are still on the roster. But if they are traded, the Blackhawks are going to be bad. How far they fall all depends on what kind of trades they make to try and change the future outlook of the team if they finally look to rebuild the hard way.
29. Montreal Canadiens
Average Rank: 28.6 (25, 30, 31)
The Canadiens led many to believe the fallacy that they were a team that could compete in the Stanley Cup Final. The reality always was that they got extremely lucky and went on the craziest Cinderella story in potentially all of the NHL’s history. The team needs to change their mindset, and for Montreal, it’s time to do things right and that starts with another year at the bottom. They have reason to be hopeful under the new direction of Martin St.Louis and the youngsters of Cole Caufield, Kirby Dach, Nick Suzuki, and Juraj Slafkosvky. Their young pieces will keep them relevant for some fans, but they will definitely be in the hunt for the lottery this year.
28. San Jose Sharks
Average Rank: 28.6 (26, 29, 31)
The Sharks have a lot of pieces that make them look to try to contend in a very weak division. Yet at the same time, the Sharks are probably the weakest team in the division. The Sharks enter the 2022-23 season as a team not quite bad enough to be a true lottery contender, but not quite good enough to field a competitive team that can challenge for a playoff spot either. They are going to have to deal with the struggles of navigating how they want to rebuild as a franchise with few assets to dangle for trades while not being bad enough to try and tank to the very bottom of the standings.
27. Buffalo Sabres
Average Rank: 27.3 (25, 28, 29)
Buffalo has turned the direction of their franchise around in the matter of a couple of seasons. An amazing draft, inspiring young talent, and plenty of good years ahead of them, the Sabres are bringing a lot to the table. Fans of Buffalo have something to really look forward to with all the young talent spread across the roster. It will be another season of growing pains for the Sabres, but the foundation they have is probably the best across the entire league at the moment.
26. Seattle Kraken
Average Rank: 24.6 (23, 24, 27)
The Seattle Kraken look to trend upwards after a busy offseason. Adding wing depth in André Burakovsky and Oilver Bjorkstrand will certainly boost their offensive capabilities. Seattle also has a ton to look forward to in their two young centers in Matty Beniers and Shane Wright. Both have the makings of becoming the franchises one-two punch down the middle for years to come. And watching them playing with a new supporting cast will give them a nice trajectory towards competitiveness moving forward. Seattle may not be as exciting as Las Vegas was in year two, but they are much more patient and ready to deal with building their franchise the right way.
25. Winnipeg Jets
Average Rank: 23.6 (19, 26, 26)
The Jets aren’t the same team they were a couple years ago. If the window is still open for the Jets, it’s a tiny crack – a faint sliver of light poking through. Name-brand talent doesn’t mean much if their reputation supersedes their actual ability. The qualms and concerns surrounding the core have become a frustrating reality for a franchise in a consistent state of decline. Winnipeg has so much baggage and not enough talent to make them a contender. The talent surrounding that core group is even worse making life all the more difficult. The Jets have enough top-end talent to scratch their way into the playoffs, especially if Connor Hellebuyck has himself another peak year, and coach Rick Bowness makes sense as a quick fix to address this club’s major issues.
24. Columbus Blue Jackets
Average Rank: 23 (21, 21, 27)
Columbus landed the biggest free agent after signing Johnny Gaudreau. This puts the Jackets as a higher FA destination and sets them up for greater success in the near future. They still are going to have a lot of growing pains, as their defensive corps still has work to do. They possess a great group of forwards to build upon and should be a sneaky team that could upset your favorite team on a nightly basis.
23. Anaheim Ducks
Average Rank: 23 (22, 23, 24)
The Ducks are another young team with great veteran additions to gear up for a regular season push. Trevor Zegras and Mason McTavish look to push the Ducks forward in a weak Pacific Division. With new additions of John Klingberg and Ryan Strome and a hopeful bounce-back from goalie John Gibson, it could propel the Ducks up the standings. The most exciting team of all the California squads, the Ducks are a team to tune into on a nightly basis.
22. New Jersey Devils
Average Rank: 22.6 (18, 23, 27)
The Devils love trying to win the offseason sweepstakes as they add more talent to get closer to making the playoffs since 2018. Depth additions of Ondrej Palat, Erik Haula, Brendan Smith, and Vitek Vanecek all make New Jersey stronger than years’ past. Assuming they finally get league average goaltending out of newcomer Vitek Vanecek and a bounce-back season from Mackenzie Blackwood, the Devils can make some noise in the Metropolitan Division.
21. Ottawa Senators
Average Rank: 20 (17, 21, 21)
The Senators adding Claude Giroux and Alex DeBrincat shows they have gone all in on creating a competitive supporting cast around their young core. The end result — led by huge new contracts for homegrown potential stars Tim Stützle and Josh Norris, an intention-announcing trade for DeBrincat and the arrival of hometown(ish) boy Giroux — puts the Sens in as good as a spot as they’ve been in years. Right now, this is poised to be the best Senators’ lineup deployed in quite a while. They have quite a few flaws that revolve on their defense, and their ability to allow the offense to thrive and ease the workload of their goaltenders. There’s a lot of potential for the team to become pesky underdogs in the Atlantic Division and maybe even make the postseason.
20. New York Islanders
Average Rank: 20 (16, 19, 25)
The Islanders are probably the most mediocre team in the league. They didn’t have a strong offseason but also just locked up Mathew Barzal on an eight-year, 73.2 million dollar deal. Their current roster construction doesn’t strike many as a team that made back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals appearances in recent years. Long Island will definitely take another step back this year assuming the team remains as is with an aging supporting cast around Barzal.
19. Detroit Red Wings
Average Rank: 19.3 (18, 20, 20)
Detroit has taken major strides in their rebuild. Amazing drafting and developing have put the Red Wings in a position to make more steps forward. Having one of the deepest rosters in years, the Red Wings are looking to take a stab at competing for a higher spot in the division. With other teams with big potential to fall off, the Red Wings are a sneaky pick to win a Wild Card spot this year.
18. Vancouver Canucks
Average Rank: 18.6 (15, 19, 22)
The Canucks have decided to commit to the idea that they can compete for the playoffs. After re-signing J.T. Miller, the Canucks are betting on the core they’ve put together over the last few years. Paired with their belief in the Bruce Boudreau effect, the Canucks are heading into a defining year for this franchise. Realistically they can have a deep playoff run to reach their potential, or dwindle out slowly and show their true colors. The Canucks are going to be a team to keep tabs on this season.
17. Dallas Stars
Average Rank: 16.6 (12, 14, 24)
The Stars are a weirdly fascinating team every year. Some years they are bad, make a comeback, look ready to go crazy, and then be mediocre all in the most chaotic way. Always a team with unknown expectations and streaky runs during the season, they always end up right around the middle. The Stars’ ceiling is really only so high with this roster. The Stars need to balance an aging veteran core with developing their younger talent. There are some promising pieces in their core and productive veterans, but it probably isn’t enough to legitimately make some noise in the postseason unless Jake Oettinger steals a series.
16. Boston Bruins
Average Rank: 14.6 (7, 17, 20)
The Bruins have major obstacles to face to open this season with numerous key injuries. Boston will be in a particularly tough situation to overcome, especially in a division as deep as the Atlantic. That adds some pressure to the Bruins, who are facing a ticking clock on just how long they can be a contender.
But with Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci returning, they will buoy the Bruins until Charlie McAvoy and Brad Marchand come back healthy. If Boston can weather that early-season storm, there’s championship potential here.