Ranking The Fifteen Best Players Ahead of The 2021/22 NHL Season
The world’s greatest hockey players will dazzle fans with their individual brilliance when the 2021-22 NHL season begins this fall. These are the top 15 players to look out for:
15. Mikko Rantanen, Colorado Avalanche
The powerful Finnish winger has averaged a point per game in three of the past four seasons for the Avs and he is now approaching the peak of his powers.
14. Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
The three-time Stanley Cup champion has been remarkably consistent throughout his NHL career. He has fired in at least 21 goals in each of his 13 seasons, and he scored at a point-per-game clip for the eighth time in nine seasons in 2020/21.
13. Brayden Point, Tampa Bay Lightning
Point has played a vital role in the Lightning securing back-to-back Stanley Cups in the past two seasons. His offensive skills are tremendous, he never neglects his defensive responsibilities, and he generally shows up in big games.
12. Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning
The Russian goaltender is the man for the clutch moments. He has seized a Vezina Trophy and a Conn Smythe Trophy during Tampa Bay’s phenomenal rise to the summit of the sport.
11. Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins
Marchand is fifth in the league for goals since making his debut and he is always dangerous for the Bruins.
10. Viktor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning
The 2019/20 Conn Smythe Trophy winner enjoyed another strong season in 2020/21. He is a regular finalist for the Norris Trophy as the best defenseman in the NHL, and he is remarkably prolific in front of goal too.
9. Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
The Russian great remains the best goal scorer in the league. He had an uncharacteristically quiet season in 2020/2 – injuries did not help – but he still led the Capitals in goals and moved up to sixth in the all-time scoring charts.
8. Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs
Matthews is the most exciting young sniper in the game. He trails only Ovechkin for goals over the past five seasons, and he led the league with 41 goals in 52 games in 2020-21.
7. David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins
Pastnak fuses elite puck skills with a devastating shooting touch. He forms a awe-inspiring triumvirate alongside Marchand and Patrice Bergeron for the Bruins, and he will be crucial to the team’s chances of success this season.
6. Artemi Panarin, New York Rangers
Panarin is another supremely consistent player who sits in the top five for points and assists since 2015/16. The Rangers are a much better team when he is on the ice.
5. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Crosby has enjoyed a trophy-laden career since he was chosen as No. 1 pick all the way back in 2005. He has never registered a season of less than a point per game, and he shows no signs of slowing down.
4. Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning
The Russian winger missed the regular season with an injury, but returned in time for the playoffs and powered the Lightning to glory with 32 points in 23 games. He is the best right winger in the business right now.
3. Leon Draisatl, Edmonton Oilers
The talented Oilers forward was second in the NHL for assists, fourth for goals and led the league with 15 power play goals last season. Only teammate Conor McDavid managed more points. The German center is an elite player in his prime.
2. Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche
Commentators frequently run out of superlatives to describe the brilliance of MacKinnon. He is quick, powerful, and his offensive prowess borders on the supernatural, but he is also impressive on the defensive side of the game. With MacKinnon leading the charge, it is easy to see why the Avs are the favorites for the Stanley Cup this season.
1. Conor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers
McDavid is simply a freak of nature. He plays at a tempo that has never before been seen in the NHL, he scores seemingly at will and his stick-handling is a joy to behold. Last season, he managed 105 points during a truncated 56-game schedule, which translates to a frankly outrageous average of 1.875 points per game, making him a fully deserving winner of the Hart and the Ted Lindsay. He is still only 24, and he could be even better this season, which is a terrifying prospect for his opponents.