How we evaluate: ESPN’s hockey writers present the picks and rank the teams from 1 to 31 – based on game results, injuries and upcoming schedules – and those results are incorporated into the list presented here.
Message: Each team’s ranking so far relates to our Week 14 edition, which was published on the 21st. April has been published. The percentage points are based on the results of the matches played on the 27th. April.
Previous review: 1
Percentage points : .745
Next seven days: vs COL (April 28); @ ARI (April 30-May 1); @ MIN (May 3).
In his first NHL season, Zack Whitecloud is more than confident on the Vegas blue line. The 24-year-old Whitecloud is one of the league’s most underrated young defenders and one of the top players on a $725,000 per season budget through 2021-22.
Previous review: 2
Percentage points : .717
The next seven days : @ VGS (April 28); vs SJ (April 30, May 1); @ SJ (May 3).
While Cale Makar is getting the most attention on Colorado’s blue line, young players Sam Girard and Devon Toews have performed extremely well. Just think of their expected scoring chance in a 5-on-5 game: Girard – 60.95, Toews – 63.04. With both players on the ice, the Avs outscored their opponents 87-56 in 5-on-5 play.
Previous evaluation: 3
percentage points: .724
Next seven days: vs. DET (April 29); vs. HBI (May 1); vs. CHI (May 3, 4).
In his second season as a starter, Martin Necas has taken a big step forward for the Canes. The 22-year-old has a formidable plus-22 rating (highest on the team), and among his 37 points in 44 games, he has two wins in overtime (also a high team).
Previous review: 4
Percentage points : .694
Next seven days: vs DAL (April 29); @ DET (May 1, 2).
He’s a late candidate, but it’s clear the Lightning are treating 23-year-old new forward Alex Barre-Boulet well. We already see him on Tampa Bay’s main line and in the top playmaker line.
Previous evaluation: 5
percentage points: .677
The next seven days : @ MTL (April 28); vs. VAN (April 29, May 1); @ MTL (May 3).
Alex Galchenyuk, the No. 3 pick in the 2012 draft, lost his popularity when he was traded to the Maple Leafs in February. This was his sixth team in three years. But the 27-year-old has found a useful role in Toronto and may have saved his NHL career in the process.
Previous review: 10
Percentage points : .670
The next seven days : @ WSH (April 29, May 1); @ PHI (May 3, 4).
Cody Ceci was once a scapegoat defender for the Senators and Maple Leafs. He signed a one-year, $1.25 million contract with Pittsburgh in the offseason and was placed on injury reserve after just one game. Now? This is irreplaceable.
Previous review: 9
Percentage points : .691
Next seven days: vs STL (April 28, May 29, May 1); vs HCV (May 3).
Kirill Kaprizov isn’t just the Wild’s best player this season, he might be the best player in the entire league. While some cynics feel he shouldn’t be considered a rookie because he played nearly 300 games in the CHL, his impact in Minnesota is undeniable.
Previous evaluation: 6
percentage points: .676
The next seven days : @ CHI (April 29-May 1); vs. DAL (May 3).
One player who has exceeded expectations is former Tampa Bay attacker Carter Verhege. The 25-year-old is second in the team in goals and third in points – thanks to an increase in average playing time of eight minutes per game compared to last season.
Previous review: 7
Percentage points : .694
Next seven days: vs PIT (April 29-May 1); @ NYR (May 3).
When Henrik Lundqvist was unable to play due to his heart condition, the goalie position was in question for the Caps. Although Washington considered Ilya Samsonov to be their goalie of the future, 25-year-old Vitek Vanecek has played more games and has a better save percentage.
Previous review: 8
Percentage points : .643
The next seven days : @ NYR (April 29); vs NYR (May 1); @ BUF (May 3, 4).
Outside of Oliver Wahlstrom, 21-year-old Noah Dobson is the youngest player on the Islanders’ roster. He’s been on the field regularly this season, getting three more minutes of ice time per game. That’s very important, because it takes young players a lot to gain the trust of coach Barry Trotz.
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Previous review: 11
Percentage points : .646
Next seven days: vs BUF (April 29, May 1); @ NJ (May 3, 4).
Jeremy Swaiman, a 22-year-old who played at the University of Maine last season, began the season as the Bruins’ fourth backup goalie. With a save percentage of .946 and an average opposing goal of 1.46 in his seven appearances, he could very well be Boston’s main backup in the playoffs.
Previous review: 13
Percentage points : .630
The next seven days : @ WPG (April 28); vs CGY (April 29, May 1); @ VAN (May 3, 4).
While Connor McDavid and Leon Dreisaitl get the most praise (rightfully so), this season has been a real eye-opener for defenseman Darnell Nurse. The 26-year-old could be a contender for the Norris Trophy and even make the Canadian team for the 2022 Olympics.
Previous review: 15
Percentage points : .549
Next seven days: vs DAL (May 1); @ CBJ (May 3).
Predators fans have been drawn to Eli Tolvanen since he was selected in the first round of the 2017 draft. Tolvanen finally proved himself in Nashville and was often the Predators’ best offensive player during their second half of the season.
Previous review: 12
Percentage points : .580
Next seven days: vs NYI (April 29); @ NYI (May 1); vs WSH (May 3).
The Rangers lead the league with five players scoring 40 points each. One of them is Pavel Buchnevich, who is sensational in the offense as he improves his game to become an effective 200-meter player.
Previous review: 17
Percentage points : .551
The next seven days : @ TB (April 29); @ NSH (May 1); @ FLA (May 3).
The only player Kirill Kaprizov can still grab for the Calder Trophy is Jason Robertson, who is still scoring eight points and carrying some of the offensive load for the injured Stars. Since 1. In March, Robertson ranked in the top 15 in the NHL with 33 points.
A panel of NHL players, coaches, general managers and other front office personnel evaluated the top players at each position:
Previous review: 14
Percentage points : .594
Next seven days: vs EDM (April 28); @ MTL (April 30); @ OTT (May 3).
Nikolaj Ehlers has reached a new level this season. The 25-year-old scored high scores in goals per game and assists per game, nearly setting his NHL record for points per game for the first time in his career. The Jets announced this week that Ehlers would unfortunately be leaving before the playoffs.
Previous review: 16
Percent points : .543
Next seven days: vs TOR (April 28); vs WPG (April 30); vs OTT (May 1); vs TOR (May 3).
Tyler Toffoli waited until the third day of free agency to accept a contract with the Canadiens. He turned out to be one of the best acquisitions of the season. The 28-year-old leads the Habs in goals (by a wide margin) and points – and is under contract until 2023-24.
Previous review: 19
Percentage points : .522
The next seven days : @ MIN (April 28, May 29, May 1); vs. ANA (May 3).
Although he cooled off after a torrid start, Justin Faulk had a great campaign for the Blues. He seems much more comfortable and productive as St. Louis. St. Louis had this in mind when it purchased him on the eve of the 2019-20 season.
Previous review: 18
Percentage points : .480
The next seven days : @ SJ (April 28); vs VGS (April 30-May 1); vs LA (May 3).
The 2021 season was a showcase for Jacob Cichrun. Finally healthy after a string of unfortunate injuries, the 22-year-old is getting minutes as a No. 1 defender and leads all defenders in the league with 14 goals.
Previous review: 20
Percentage points : .520
The next seven days : @ NJ (April 29); vs NJ (May 1); vs PIT (May 3, 4).
The Flyers have high hopes for Joel Farabee, who the Flyers placed 18th in 2018. He is proving to be a natural goal scorer, nearly doubling his career goals in his second NHL season. Farabee is second on the team with 15 goals and his 31 points rank fifth.
Previous review: 21
Percent points : .500
Next seven days: vs FLA (April 29, May 1); @ CAR (May 3, 4).
In 2018, Brandon Hagel thought his NHL dream was a dead end and was on his way to becoming a teacher. But he was loaned to the Blackhawks in 2021, found a permanent place in Chicago’s lineup and scored two game-winning goals in overtime.
Previous review: 22
Percentage points : .488
The next seven days : @ OTT (April 28); @ TOR (April 29, May 1); vs. EDM (May 3, 4).
This is the fourth consecutive season we’ve had to deal with a super-impressive Canucks rookie. Following Brock Boeser, Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes, 20-year-old Nils Hoaglander has quickly become a fan favorite in Vancouver.
Previous review: 23
Percent points : .469
The next seven days : @ EDM (April 29, May 1)
After spending 10 seasons with the Canucks, Chris Tanev signed with the Flames this season and he has been a revelation for Calgary. In 5-on-5 games, Tanev has an expected goal-to-ball percentage of 58.59, which ranks second on the team.
Previous review: 24
Percentage points : .448
Next seven days: vs. ARI (April 28); @ COL (April 30-May 1); vs.
In his second season in the NHL, Mario Ferraro has become a key player on San Jose’s blue line. The former UMass defenseman’s time on the ice has increased by nearly seven minutes this season, which ranks second among Sharks players behind Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson.
Previous review: 25
Percentage points : .457
Next seven days: vs ANA (April 28); @ ANA (April 30, May 1); @ ARI (May 3).
Kings fans are hoping that Quinton Byfield (recently recalled from the AHL) will be an outstanding player next season. The year 2021 has been a breakout year for several young Kings players, but perhaps not as bad as it has been for 26-year-old goalie Cal Petersen. Petersen has started more games than Jonathan Kuik – and with a much better slugging percentage (.917 vs. .893).
– Who will be the first choice this summer?
– Early reviews of Top 32 Prospects
– The impact of COVID-19 on scores.
Previous review: 26
Percent points : .422
The next seven days : @ CAR (April 29); vs. TB (May 1, 2).
Jakub Vrana therefore only played a few games. But he’s already in the team’s top 10 with five goals since his arrival, and is the second-highest scorer. A late breakthrough, but a breakthrough nonetheless.
Previous review: 28
Percent points : .408
Next seven days: vs. VEN (April 28); @ MTL (May 1); vs. HPV (May 3).
For the Senators, the breakthrough was developing a top line with Drake Batterson, Josh Norris and Brady Tkachuk. When they are on the ice together, this trio has a success rate of 61.31.
Previous review: 27
Percentage points : .412
The next seven days : @ CAR (May 1); vs. NSH (May 3).
It wasn’t a good season for most of the Blue Jackets’ players, but Jack Roslovic took full advantage of a mid-season trade with his hometown team. Roslovic, 24, has scored 30 points in 42 games and is the team’s third top scorer.
Previous survey: 30
percentage points: .330
The next seven days : @ BOS (April 29-May 1); vs. NYI (May 3-4).
While the Sabres are starting to see what they have on 22-year-old Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and are relying on AHL veteran Dustin Tokarski, it’s been a breakthrough season for goaltender Linus Ullmark, who has proven that the soon-to-be free agent should stay with the team long-term.
Previous review: 29
Percent points : .357
The next seven days : @ LA (April 28); vs LA (April 30, May 1); @ STL (May 3).
It’s been a disappointing season for many Ducks players, but Max Comtois is starting to break through. The 2017 second round pick leads the team in goals and points. He must become an important part of Anaheim’s new wave.
Previous review: 31
Percent points : .378
Next seven days: vs. PHI (April 29); @ PHI (May 1); vs. BOS (May 3, 4).
After the trade deadline, general manager Tom Fitzgerald said he thought Mackenzie Blackwood, Nico Hischier, Jack Hughes and Ty Smith were the current and future core of the team. Smith, 20, was not initially eligible for this group. But after a solid rookie season (with a strong offensive presence), he deserves it.
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