The Stanley Cup playoffsThese are the moments when the NHL shines its brightest. They are also the time when the NHL's stars shine their brightest.
We publish the preseason's final issue. ESPN NHL RankThe, which ranks the 100 best players based on their potential for greatness in the coming season, is a website that predicts future success rather than relying upon past performances or positional values. It's time for the postseason to do the exact same.
Here's the playoff edition ESPN NHL Rank. This ranking seeks to identify top forwards and defensemen in the upcoming Stanley Cup playoffs. A number of voters took part in the voting process, selecting one winner from a series head-to-head matchups based on 16 players who qualified for the playoffs.
This list includes NHL award winners, Stanley Cup champions past and stars who are aiming for postseason glory. Our voters made some interesting choices regarding the best players in the NHL's 2022 postseason, as you will see.
2021-22 stats: 46A | 46 A | 106 PTS
Preseason ranking: 3
Matthews is now at a new level. Matthews' 60-goal season was his first in the NHL. Steven StamkosHe was born in America and became the first American-born player to achieve this feat in 2011-12. He also set a new Maple Leafs single-season goal record — a remarkable feat for a team that was founded in 1917. His growth as a defense center has made him one among the most valuable total packages the NHL has ever seen.
Matthews has 17 points through his 19 playoff games. He is atoning in 2018 for an insignificant performance, which still defines him. Matthews hasn't led the Leafs into a playoff series win yet. Based on his performance in the regular season this could be Matthews' year, with a dominating playoff performance and possibly a win for the Toronto Stanley Cup. — Greg Wyshynski
2021-22 stats:86 PTS| 58 A | 86 PTS
Preseason ranking: 5
Makar is the type of defenseman that can make the crowd gasp when he does a puck dangle, or dances along the blue line during a power play. Makar has an average of 1.01 points per game, which is the highest defenseman's score in the last three seasons. At your own risk, assume that the Avalanche defenseman can be one-dimensional. Makar, despite being assigned the most difficult Avalanche assignments, is an above-average defender.
He has been a consistent playoff performer with 31 points in 35 career matches, including 12 on the powerplay and 19 at even strength. This stat is crucial considering how sometimes playoff officiating can be too strict with penalty calls. This is an essential ingredient in the Avs Cup recipe. — Wyshynski
2021-22 stats: 88 PTS| 56 A | 88 PTS
Preseason ranking: 2
MacKinnon goes beyond the guy who has a strict diet and holds postseason news conferences that are dreadfully dull. It's like watching a freight train perform ballet while he skates with the puck. He is a strong, powerful skater with a great shot. He is not going to let you take his puck.
However, he learned from his mentor and friend. Sidney CrosbyMacKinnon worked hard over the years to improve his defensive game. MacKinnon is yet to play in the championship playoff round but he's tried. In 50 playoff games, MacKinnon scored 69 points. — Wyshynski
2021-22 stats:39 G | 49 A | 88 PTS
Preseason ranking: 4
ESPN's John Tortorella is no less an authority that believes Barkov to be the superior player. Connor McDavidHe is perhaps the most valuable player in the NHL. Few players can boast such two-way play as the Panthers center, who has 304 points in 2018-19 (11th in NHL) and the Selke Trophy last season for best defensive forward in league.
Barkov has won faceoffs, put up points (14 games in 16) during his NHL playoff career. But he's also skewed to a minus-10. This is uncharacteristic of a player who has been a regular-season plus just once since 2015-16. — Wyshynski
2021-22 stats:79 A | 79 A | 123 PTS
Preseason ranking: 1
McDavid's peers are the most convincing evidence of his ability to be a gamebreaker. McDavid was voted the best skater by his peers in the NHLPA Players Poll (42.4%). It's easy to see why, considering how many Edmonton games McDavid won on his own.
McDavid, a 25-year old center, won his fourth scoring title with 123 points and 44 goals. McDavid, a 22-year-old center, won his fourth scoring title this season with 123 points and 44 goals. The Oilers will need to match that production to win the playoffs. McDavid is a point-per game player (22 points in 21 career playoff matches). — Wyshynski
2021-22 stats:39-18-5 | 2.49 GAA | .916 SV%
Preseason ranking: 10
In at least 60 playoff games, Vasilevskiy's (.924) playoff save percentage is better than that of any other goalie in NHL history. His Tampa Bay win was a back-to-back Stanley Cup victory. He had 34-14 goals,.932 save percentage and 1.90 goals-against-average. He also recorded six shutouts, five of which were in his last five elimination matches.
He's 27 years old and has a lot of career ahead. The Big Cat is on his way to becoming one of the greatest playoff goalies in the history of hockey. — Wyshynski
2021-22 stats: 115PT| 85 A | 115 PTS
Preseason ranking: 42
The Panthers never had more than 70 assists or 100 points in a single season. Huberdeau, who was on the ice in 2021-22, rewrote all the records. The left wing scored 115 points due to 85 assists, many of which were primary helpers. He scored in every situation, with five shorthanded points which tied him for second in NHL.
Huberdeau was a point-per game player throughout his playoff career. To win the Cup, the Panthers will need Huberdeau to generate more offense. — Wyshynski
2021-22 stats: 44 A | 44 A | 69 PTS
Preseason ranking: 17
What is your vision of Nikita Kocherov? After winning the Stanley Cup for the second consecutive year, the shirtless man was seen hoisting drinks in a press conference. Probably. It's important to remember how the Lightning won those championships. Kucherov led all NHL scorers with 66 points scored in 48 games for Tampa Bay during those Cup runs. He is fifth among active players, with 83 playoff assist.
An elite player and difference-maker in the potentially dynastic Lightning. — Wyshynski
2021-22 stats: 73 A | 73 A | 96 PTS
Preseason ranking: 24
Josi was unleashed as an offensive threat by the 2021-22 season and responded with one his best scoring seasons in 30 years. His 96 points rank third in that span and are the most since 1992-93. Winnipeg Jets(The original version) Dman Phil HousleyHe had 97 points. Josi became eighth NHL defenseman with at least 96 point.
Even-strength defense suffered a bit and he didn’t get the most difficult assignments. But, his turbo-charged offense will be crucial to Nashville in the playoffs. — Wyshynski
2021-22 stats: 44A | 44 A | 81 PTS
Preseason ranking: 29
Hockey IQ is a term that's used frequently in the NHL. It's especially relevant when it comes to Aho. The two-way center was smooth and had 81 points in the 79 games. He also played a significant role on the Carolina penalty stop.
Aho was a point per game player for the Hurricanes in 34 of his career playoff games. They will need Aho to be the anchor of a dominant lineup for a championship push. But they are confident that Aho won’t be the reason they fail. — Wyshynski
2021-22 stats: 110 PTS| 55 A | 110 PTS
Preseason ranking: 6
It can be difficult to tell the difference between Draisaitl's individual excellence and the Oilers' recent poor playoff performance. Draisaitl made a 55-goal regular season look easy. He has been a strong statistical playoff performer over the last two seasons. He scored five goals and 11 point in consecutive first-round exits from Edmonton.
Draisaitl is what the Oilers need to make a difference in the playoffs. This is a huge goal, an assist, a moment that can change Edmonton's fortunes. The Oilers worked hard to get back on the right track and make it to the postseason. Draisaitl will need to channel his game-changing regular-season abilities into playoff results that make a difference. — Kristen Shilton
12. Mitch MarnerRW, Toronto Maple Leafs
2021-22 stats: 997 PTS| 62 A | 97 PTS
Preseason ranking: 14
Let's start with this: Mitch Marner still hasn't scored any playoff goals since April 11, 2019. Marner had 10 assists in the Leafs' 18 postseason games. Marner, the Leafs' top-flight winger, was virtually ineffective when it came down to it last season against Montreal. However, Marner's 97-point average season bodes well this time.
His chemistry with Matthews, his new linemate, was infectious Michael BuntingMarner is electric. He is equally dangerous at 5-on-5 and shorthanded. There is a hunger in Marner for the past to be forgotten. For the Leafs' most recognizable local product, there's no better time to begin crafting a new narrative about his postseason capabilities.Shilton
2021-22 stats:47 G | 61 A | 108 PTS
Preseason ranking: 20
Kaprizov could have been the most underrated 46 goal season. No one can ignore Kaprizov in the playoffs, be that as it may. Kaprizov's game is only getting stronger as the Wild continue to roll as a team. The next step for Kaprizov is to channel that same success into the postseason.
Kaprizov was unable to reach the NHL playoffs last season. He scored just two points in seven games. This is a far cry of the impact Kaprizov expects to make this season. Minnesota looks set for a long-term run. All eyes will be on Kaprizov.Shilton
2021-22 stats:36 G | 56 A | 92 PTS
Preseason ranking: 12
Some players find it difficult to keep their offensive excellence in playoffs. Rantanen may not be the best player. The Avs' top-line force in Colorado has been outstanding in their three previous postseason appearances. That is, Colorado scored 18 goals and scored 48 points in just 37 games.
Rantanen will be an X factor with his ability to rise above the competition, even in the midst of Colorado's high-octane team. Rantanen's little touches, such as creating space and quickly turning a play up the ice, are what will really shine in this postseason.Shilton
2021-22 stats: 106 PTS| 64 A | 106 PTS
Preseason ranking: 55
Stamkos hadn't ever had a 100-point season before this. Is this going to translate into playoff dominance? Tampa can only dream.
The Lightning captain was only able to play one playoff game in the 2020 Cup, but he made up for it by a strong showing last season's second-place finish. Stamkos is getting smarter with age and leveraging his opportunities. Tampa may have lost a little bit of their regular season run, but Stamkos is going to play a critical role in getting them back up in round one — and beyond.Shilton
2021-22 stats:29 G | 52 A | 81 PTS
Preseason ranking: 30
This will be Zibanejad’s 10th NHL season. This will be his fourth trip to the playoffs. Talk about a disconnect. Zibanejad is an elite offensive danger who happens to be enjoying a career best season.
This is a good sign for him and the Rangers as they move into the postseason. This veteran can fill any role and elevate every linemate. Zibanejad is the player that every team wants this time of year. He's smart, versatile and dangerous. Be on the lookout.Shilton
17. Brayden Point, C, Tampa Bay Lightning
2021-22 stats: 58 PT| 30 A | 58 PTS
Preseason ranking: 19
To see what Point can accomplish in the playoffs, pay attention to Tampa's two Stanley Cup banners. Point scored the Cup-clinching goal for 2020. He averaged a point per-game or higher during this run as well as the one in 2021.
Although his numbers have been a little lower this season, Point is still a great center — postseason or not — and his credentials will be amplified this spring.Shilton
2021-22 stats: 115PT| 75 A | 115 PTS
Johnny Hockey was a huge star this season and helped Calgary become a legitimate Cup contender. This star winger is not only a great player in the playoffs (he scored 19 points in 30 postseason matches), but he has also been exceptional this season. Why? His offensive prowess has been outmatched by his defensive skills. Gaudreau is never without the puck.
He's a two-way player. Elias Lindholm Matthew TkachukThe Flames will be further boosted into the playoffs by the addition of.Shilton
2021-22 stats:31 G | 53 A | 84 PTS
Preseason ranking: 11
It doesn't matter if Crosby has a (relatively poor) start to the season. It is not the best idea to bet against the league’s veteran when the wins matter most, such as in the playoffs. But, since Pittsburgh won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017, Crosby & Co. haven't advanced past the second round.
Crosby will give it his best to flip that script this time. This core is now out of reach for the Penguins. Evgeni Malkin Kris LetangCrosby was one of the pending agents and he has performed the end this regular season like a man on mission to prove that he still has it.Shilton
2021-22 stats: 2.07 GAA | 2.07 GAA | .935 SV%
Preseason ranking: 32
Shesterkin was New York's regular-season MVP, and perhaps the entire NHL's. We'll now see how he does in the playoffs.
26-year-old has never made a postseason appearance. It was during a Rangers' loss in the COVID bubble tourney of 2020. This is almost irrelevant. Shesterkin has now taken control of the Rangers' helm and will be leading them to what looks like a productive playoff run, especially with Shesterkin closing the door.Shilton
2021-22 stats:56 PTS| 46 A | 56 PTS
Preseason ranking: 21
2021-22 stats:96 PTS| 74 A | 96 PTS
Preseason ranking: 13
2021-22 stats:42 G | 62 A | 104 PTS
Preseason ranking: 49
2021-22 stats:77 PTS| 25 A | 77 PTS
Preseason ranking: Honorable mention
25. Victor Hedman, D, Tampa Bay Lightning
2021-22 stats:20 G | 65 A | 85 PTS
Preseason ranking: 7
2021-22 stats: 60 PTS| 29 A | 59 PTS
Preseason ranking: 43
2021-22 stats: 65 PS| 40 A | 65 PTS
Preseason ranking: 33
2021-22 stats: 80 PTS| 48 A | 80 PTS
Preseason ranking: 9
2021-22 stats:50 G | 40 A | 90 PTS
Preseason ranking: 15
30. Adam Fox, D, New York Rangers
2021-22 stats: 6 A | 63 A | 74 PTS
Preseason ranking: 8
31. John Tavares, C, Toronto Maple Leafs
2021-22 stats:27 G | 49 A | 76 PTS
Preseason ranking: 52
32. Nazem Kadri, C, Colorado Avalanche
2021-22 stats:28 G | 59 A | 87 PTS
33. Filip Forsberg, LW, Nashville Predators
2021-22 stats: 42 A | 42 A | 84 PTS
2021-22 stats:77 PTS| 37 A | 77 PTS
Preseason ranking: 25
35. Morgan Rielly, D, Toronto Maple Leafs
2021-22 stats:10 G | 58 A | 68 PTS
Preseason ranking: 73
36. Jake GuentzelLW, Pittsburgh Penguins
2021-22 stats: 84PTS| 44 A | 84 PTS
Preseason ranking: 79
37. Sam ReinhartC, Florida Panthers
2021-22 stats: 49 A | 49 A | 82 PTS
2021-22 stats: 82 PTS| 40 A | 82 PTS
2021-22 stats:77 PTS| 57 A | 77 PTS
40. Tom WilsonWashington Capitals, RL, Washington Capitals
2021-22 stats: 52 PTS| 28 A | 52 PTS
Preseason ranking: Honorable mention
2021-22 stats: 37 A | 37 A | 58 PTS
Preseason ranking: 47
2021-22 stats: .913 SV%| 2.67 GAA | .913 SV%
2021-22 stats:.922 SSV%| 2.22 GAA | .922 SV%
Preseason ranking: 58
44. Darcy Kuemper, G, Colorado Avalanche
2021-22 stats:37-12-4 | 2.54 GAA | .921 SV%
Preseason ranking: 63
2021-22 stats: 46A | 46 A | 76 PTS
2021-22 stats: 75 PTS| 48 A | 75 PTS
2021-22 stats: 38A | 38 A | 79 PTS
Preseason ranking: 99
2021-22 stats:28-23-5 | 2.90 GAA | .908 SV%
Preseason ranking: 83
49. Devon Toews, D, Colorado Avalanche
2021-22 stats: 57PTS| 44 A | 57 PTS
50. Aaron Ekblad, D. Florida Panthers
2021-22 stats:15 G | 42 A | 57 PTS
Preseason ranking: 51