December NHL 2021-22 Power Rankings: Predators, Canucks See Biggest Jumps; Oilers Fall The Most

Photo: Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

With the 2021-22 NHL season set to resume on Tuesday, NoVa Caps ranks all 32 teams in our monthly power rankings. Some teams have moved slightly while the expected contenders have taken big leaps. (⬆️Up or ⬇️ Down represent spaces moved since last power rankings).

32. Montreal Canadiens

The Canadiens have won just twice on the road in 15 tries this season (2-11-2) and are 2-7-1 in their past 10 games. Trade rumors regarding defenseman Ben Chiarot are flying while goaltender Carey Price is trying to work his way back from surgery. ⬇️2

31. Arizona Coyotes

The Coyotes have an NHL-worst -53 goal differential (next worst is -42, held by Canadiens) and .241 points percentage. Trade rumors are also buzzing around star defenseman Jacob Chychrun. ➡️

30. New Jersey Devils

The Devils have lost six straight games in regulation and are 1-8-1 in their last 10. ⬇️12

29. Seattle Kraken

The Kraken have failed to take advantage of home-ice as they are 6-9-1 at Climate Pledge Arena, lost two straight, and are 10-17-3 overall. They are tied for second in shots-against per game (28.7) but are last in five-on-five team save percentage (.8862) by over .02. ⬇️5

28. Buffalo Sabres

The Sabres have been better than expected but still have an abysmal 10-15-5 record, with just seven of those wins coming in regulation. Though, right-wing Kyle Okposo is doing better with a team-leading 20 points in 30 games. ⬇️1

27. Ottawa Senators

The Senators are 5-2-1 in their past eight games, including wins over the Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Florida Panthers, while right-wing Drake Batherson has 19 assists and 28 points in 23 games during a breakout season. However, they have just 20 points in the standings this season. ⬆️5

26. New York Islanders

The Islanders’ 6-7-3 road record is better than their 2-5-3 home record but they earned three out of four possible points in their last two games against the Boston Bruins and Vegas Golden Knights. Goaltender Semyon Varlamov is just 1-5-1 this season but Ilya Sorokin has been solid with a .926 save percentage, a 2.49 goals-against average, and three shutouts. ⬆️3

25. Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks are 11-15-2 overall but beat the Washington Capitals twice in December (though both required extra time) while goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has been solid after a slow start. ⬆️1

24. Philadelphia Flyers

The orange and black are 4-2-1 since firing head coach Alain Vigneault to move back up into the .500 points percentage mark. Center Sean Couturier, right-wing James Van Riemsdyk, and right-wing Travis Konecny have not produced as much as they were expected to heading into the season but goaltender Carter Hart has bounced back nicely from a below-average year with a .918 save percentage and a 2.74 goals-against average in 19 games. The Flyers head to the Pacific coast for a four-game road trip out of the pause starting in Seattle on Wednesday. ⬆️1

23. San Jose Sharks

The Sharks’ game against the Coyotes on Tuesday will be their first in 12 days. They are 2-5-0 since winning five of six. Right-wing Timo Meier has been great for San Jose with 12 goals and 29 points in 25 games. Heading into the trade deadline, it will be interesting to see what happens with center Tomas Hertl. ⬇️ 4

22. Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets have fallen back to earth with a 2-7-1 record in their last 10 and are four points behind the Detroit Red Wings for the final wild card spot but have three games in hand. Just eight of their 14 wins this season have come in regulation. ⬇️ 11

21. Detroit Red Wings

The Red Wings lost four of five before winning their final game before the pause against the Devils. Center Dylan Larkin has five goals and eight points in his last five outings while goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic has been very good with a .916 save percentage and 2.78 goals-against average in 21 games. ⬆️2

20. Winnipeg Jets

The Jets lost three of four before head coach Paul Maurice resigned from his position before splitting interim Dave Lowry’s first two games but are three points back of the second wild card spot in the West. Left-wing Kyle Connor has had a solid campaign with 18 goals and 32 points in 30 games while both of their goaltenders have at least a .914 save percentage and a 2.69 goals-against average at the highest. ⬆️2

19. Los Angeles Kings

The Kings finished a four-game Southeast road trip 2-1-1 against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers, Hurricanes, and Capitals before play halted and are 5-2-1 in their last eight. Goaltender Jonathan Quick has taken back his goal crease this season with a .930 save percentage, 2.19 goals-against average, and two shutouts in 18 games. ⬆️2

18. Dallas Stars

The Stars have won two straight after five regulation losses in a row, which followed a seven-game winning-streak. Both Jake Oettinger and Braden Holtby have .922 save percentages but Oettinger has gotten more run support while center Joe Pavelski leads the way with 12 goals and 27 points in 29 games. ⬇️ 5

17. Boston Bruins

The Bruins lost two straight in regulation after going 3-0-2 in their previous five and are not scheduled to play again in 2021. They will have gone 16 days without playing a game when they host the Sabres on Saturday but goaltender Tuukka Rask has started practicing with the team. ⬇️ 5

16. Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers lost six in a row after starting the season with a league-best 16-5-0 record before winning their final two games heading into the pause. Goaltender Mikko Koskinen’s play has slipped since a hot start but centers Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid are tied for the NHL lead with 49 points. Will it matter how good they are until the Oilers finally fix their goaltending? ⬇️ 14

15. Vancouver Canucks

Since replacing head coach Travis Green with Bruce Boudreau, the Canucks are 6-0-0 but are still under .500 and have played at least two more games than everyone else ahead of them in the wild-card race. Center J.T. Miller has had a great season with 10 goals and 32 points in 31 games while goaltender Thatcher Demko has a .919 save percentage and a 2.63 goals-against average in 25 games. ⬆️ 13

14. Calgary Flames

Before a huge COVID-19 outbreak, the Flames lost four in a row (0-3-1). The team is just 3-4-3 at Scotiabank Sattledome this season but Jacob Markstrom and Dan Vladar have combined to be the league’s best goaltending duo. ⬇️ 7

13. Anaheim Ducks

The Ducks have proven that they are for real with points in nine of their last 10 games (6-1-3). Centers Troy Terry (18 goals, 30 points in 31 games) and Trevor Zegras (eight goals, 25 points) have both had break out seasons while left-wing Sonny Milano and center Ryan Getzlaf have both been solid too. Their goaltending has been great as well. ⬆️ 3

12. Florida Panthers

The Panthers have dropped three straight in regulation, including an 8-2 loss to the Senators on home ice, and are 1-3-1 in their last five. With the Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs surging, Florida has slid down the Atlantic Division latter a little. Left-wing Jonathan Huberdeau leads the team in goals (10) and points (33) in 29 games. ⬇️ 8

11. Minnesota Wild

The Wild have lost four straight (0-3-1) since an eight-game winning-streak and nine-game point-streak ended. Their Central Division lead is down to one point ahead of the Blues and Nashville Predators. Just 13 of their 19 wins this season have come in regulation but left-wing Kirill Kaprizov has 24 assists and 36 points in 30 games. ⬇️ 3

10. St. Louis Blues

The Blues are 6-2-2 in their last 10 and 11-3-2 at Enterprise Center this season. Right-wing Vladimir Tarasenko is upping his trade value with 17 goals and 29 points in 31 games and goaltender Charlie Lindgren is taking over the net as he has gone 5-1-0 with a .958 save percentage and a 1.22 goals-against average. ⬆️ 4

9. Washington Capitals

The Capitals have alternated wins and losses since beating the Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes on Thanksgiving weekend as they are 4-3-2 since. Captain Alex Ovechkin has 22 goals (second in NHL) and 47 points (third) in just 31 games but lost defensemen Nick Jensen, Martin Fehervary, and goaltender Vitek Vanecek to COVID-19 out of the pause. Though, centers Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov appear close to returning. ⬇️ 8

8. New York Rangers

The Blueshirts are 13-4-1 since November 7 but lost four of six heading into the break (including twice to the Avalanche) with their only wins in that stretch coming against the Sabres and Coyotes. Left-wing Chris Krieder’s 18 goals this season are tied for fourth while goaltender Igor Shesterkin is 13-3-2 with a .937 save percentage, a 2.05 goals-against average, and a shutout. ⬇️ 2

7. Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins won seven in a row prior to the pause and center Evgeni Malkin took contact in practice for the first time this season on Monday. Goaltender Tristan Jarry has been rock solid, going 15-5-4 with a .932 save percentage, a 1.93 goals-against average, and three shutouts while left-wing Jake Guentzel has 15 goals and 27 points in 24 games. ⬆️ 10

6. Vegas Golden Knights

Before falling to the Lightning in their final game before the pause, the Golden Knights won five in a row, including sweeping a four-game Northeastern road trip. Center Chandler Stephenson has taken his game to another level this season with 22 assists and 31 points in 31 games while left-wing Max Pacioretty has 12 goals and 21 points in 15 games. ⬆️ 9

5. Nashville Predators

The Predators have won seven in a row and are 10-3-0 in their past 13. Defenseman Roman Josi leads the way with 10 goals and 29 points in 30 games and center Mikael Granlund has been impressive with 22 assists and 27 points in 28 games. Goaltender Juuse Saros has been solid this season with a 15-8-1 record, a .924 save percentage, a 2.22 goals-against average, and two shutouts. ⬆️ 15

4. Colorado Avalanche

The Avalanche went 6-0-1 in seven games before COVID-19 issues hit and paused their season after a 5-2 loss in Nashville on December 16. On a team with center Nathan MacKinnon, right-wing Mikko Rantanen, and defenseman Cale Makar (who leads NHL defensemen with 13 goals in 22 games), center Nazem Kadri leads the team in assists (27) and points (38) in 24 games. Though, goaltender Darcy Kuemper has not fit in as well as the team hoped and the team is 27th with a 3.37 goals-against per game. ⬆️ 6

3. Carolina Hurricanes

Since losing five of six (1-4-1) around Thanksgiving, the Hurricanes are 6-1-0. Goaltender Frederik Andersen has continued his dominant season as he is 16-5-0 with a .930 save percentage, a 1.93 goals-against average, and one shutout while center Sebastian Aho has also been productive with 15 goals and 32 points in 26 games. ⬆️ 2

2. Toronto Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs won three of their final four games before the pause and are 18-4-1 since October 26. Goaltender Jack Campbell, who has gone 15-5-2 with a .937 save percentage, a 1.94 goals-against average, and three shutouts, is arguably the Vezina Trophy favorite while center Auston Matthews is right behind Draisaitl and Ovechkin with 20 goals. ⬆️ 1

1. Tampa Bay Lightning

With right-wing Nikita Kucherov having missed all but the first three game of the season, center Steven Stamkos (14 goals, 35 points in 29 games), defenseman Victor Hedman (24 assists, 31 points in 30 games), and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (17-4-3, .928 save percentage, 2.14 goals-against average, two shutouts) have led the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champions to an 18-3-3 stretch to take sole possession of the league-lead in points at the pause. Though, Vasilevskiy, defenseman Mikhail Sergachev, center Anthony Cirelli have been placed in COVID-19 protocol the past two days. ⬆️ 8

October Power Rankings

November Power Rankings

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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