NHL Rank: Predicting the top 100 players for the 2021-22 season

With the 2021-22 NHL season in full swing, we present our annual ranking of the league’s top 100 players.

To create our list, we asked an ESPN panel of more than 50 hockey experts to rate players based on how good they will be in the 2021-22 season compared to their peers. Emphasis was placed solely on expectations for the upcoming season and predicting potential greatness, rather than past performance, career résumé or positional value. That means long-term injuries, like the one Nikita Kucherov is dealing with, played a part. From those ratings, we were able to rank the best of the best, 1 to 100. Jack Eichel, whose near-term future is clouded by both injury and a possible trade, finished outside the top 100.

The two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning lead the way with seven players in the top 100, followed by the Vegas Golden Knights, with six. Despite hot starts by the Buffalo Sabres and San Jose Sharks, those are the only teams that don’t have a player on the list.


1. Connor McDavid, C, Edmonton Oilers

2020 rank: 1
Age: 24

He’s the NHL’s human highlight reel. “You turn on the TV, and if the Oilers played, you’re going to get a McDavid highlight, somehow and some way,” Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice said. McDavid plays the game at a different speed, posterizing defensemen with his stickhandling while creating offensive chances at full velocity. His career 1.42 points-per-game rate ranks him fourth in NHL history (minimum 400 games). This season, he’s producing at a rate that has him on track to crack 200 points — something only Wayne Gretzky has accomplished, the last time in 1985-86. There used to be a conversation about the best player in the world. Once McDavid started improving his defensive play, as he did last season, that conversation ended. It’s Connor’s world, and we’re just spinning in it. –Greg Wyshynski

2. Nathan MacKinnon, C, Colorado Avalanche

2020 rank: 2
Age: 26

No one looks more disgusted by failure than Nathan MacKinnon. That’s reflected by his remarkable play for the Avalanche, as the 26-year-old has posted a 1.30 points-per-game average since the 2017-18 season. As explosive a skater as he is a competitor, MacKinnon is the engine that has helped propel the Avalanche to Stanley Cup contender status. –Greg Wyshynski

3. Auston Matthews, C, Toronto Maple Leafs

2020 rank: 7
Age: 24

Only one active player reached 200 career goals faster than Matthews: Alex Ovechkin, who is currently within reach of Wayne Gretzky’s NHL career goals record. The 24-year-old center needed just 338 games, and has the seventh highest goals-per-game average in NHL history (0.59). His drag-and-release wrist shot is one of the best in the game. His large frame and playmaking ability have earned comparisons to Mario Lemieux. It feels like we’ve only seen a percentage of his overall potential. –Greg Wyshynski

4. Aleksander Barkov, C, Florida Panthers

2020 rank: 35
Age: 26

Barkov is the NHL’s current “what if he played in a different market?” player. He was crowned the league’s top defensive forward in winning last season’s Selke Trophy. He’s a dominant offensive player, with 222 points in his last 204 games. Add them together, and the 26-year-old is perhaps the league’s most well-rounded center at the moment. And with the way the Panthers are rolling this season, it may not take a bigger media market to make Barkov a household name — Florida might snatch that spotlight like he steals pucks from opposing skaters. –Greg Wyshynski

5. Cale Makar, D, Colorado Avalanche

2020 rank: 22
Age: 22

Makar is a traitor to his own kind: a defenseman who embarrasses other defensemen. “You get caught flat-footed, and you got a guy like Cale coming at you, it’s almost an impossible play for the defense,” said his coach, Jared Bednar. Makar, 22, tallied 98 points in his first 107 NHL games. He’s an offensive force like the league hasn’t seen since the apex of Erik Karlsson’s career. Makar’s defensive game is still being refined, but his offensive prowess vaulted him into the top five. –Greg Wyshynski

6. Leon Draisaitl, C/LW, Edmonton Oilers

2020 rank: 4
Age: 26

It didn’t take long for the 26-year-old to shake the notion that his offensive output was purely a product of playing with Conner McDavid. When the Oilers pair the duo together, they’re an unstoppable force, especially on the power play and in overtime. But Draisaitl won the Hart Trophy in 2019-20 by playing most of his 5-on-5 minutes away from McDavid. He’s the second-leading point producer (205) and third-leading goal scorer (78) over the past three seasons, and a star that shines no matter who is on his line. –Greg Wyshynski

7. Victor Hedman, D, Tampa Bay Lightning

2020 rank: 3
Age: 30

Lightning coach Jon Cooper once said that when Hedman gets going, “there are times when he looks like a man among boys.” Hedman is the total package: Since 2016-17, he has an 0.84 points-per-game average. His uses his 6-foot-6 frame as a presence in the defensive end, both in body size and in wingspan with his stick. An essential ingredient in the team’s back-to-back Stanley Cup wins and the best defenseman of his generation. –Greg Wyshynski

8. Adam Fox, D, New York Rangers

2020 rank: N/A
Age: 23

He’s the franchise’s best American-born defenseman since Brian Leetch, and the similarities don’t end at geography. Like that Hall of Famer, Fox is an excellent puck-mover and passer, able to generate offense at even strength and running the power-play point. But the 23-year-old, who won the Norris Trophy last season, is also like Leetch in the sense that he’s not a flashy player: Just solid, effective and one of the best at his position in just his third NHL season. –Greg Wyshynski

9. Brad Marchand, LW, Boston Bruins

2020 rank: 20
Age: 33

The greatest hockey glow-up in the last decade was Marchand going from a scurrilous face-licking miscreant to being considered the best all-around left wing in the NHL. Since 2015-16, no one on the left side has more points (494) or points per game (1.15) than Marchand, who was second in that span in goals (207). The 33-year-old scored at a 30-goal pace for six seasons. If he weren’t playing in Patrice Bergeron’s considerable defensive shadow, he’d have been a Selke finalist by now. –Greg Wyshynski

10. Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, Tampa Bay Lightning

2020 rank: 5
Age: 27

There isn’t another position in the NHL whose best player has more detractors than the league’s top goaltender. It’s absolutely true that Vasilevskiy has posted incredible numbers — 69-26-3, .920 save percentage over the last three seasons, a Vezina Trophy and last season’s playoff MVP — behind a deeply talented roster that has Victor Hedman and Ryan McDonagh on the ice for all but 14 minutes of regulation time on average. But it could be argued that the Lightning aren’t the Lightning if not for their 27-year-old goalie, who had a .932 save percentage in their two straight Stanley Cup victories. –Greg Wyshynski

11. Sidney Crosby, C, Pittsburgh Penguins

2020 rank: 8
Age: 34

Pittsburgh’s captain hasn’t seen the ice yet this season after undergoing left wrist surgery on Sept. 8. Crosby is making strides toward a return, though: He participated fully in the Penguins’ practices for the first time this week, and coach Mike Sullivan listed his status as day-to-day moving forward. –Kristen Shilton

12. Mikko Rantanen, RW, Colorado Avalanche

2020 rank: 25
Age: 25

Rantanen really missed Nathan MacKinnon to start the season, and Colorado’s dynamic duo has made up for lost time. After MacKinnon returned in the Avs’ third game, Rantanen racked up a team-leading three goals in three games, all on assists from MacKinnon. –Kristen Shilton

13. Artemi Panarin, LW, New York Rangers

2020 rank: 6
Age: 29

New York’s “Breadman” still needs his game to rise. Panarin has scored just one goal so far with a shooting percentage below 10%, while costly turnovers have been killing the Rangers’ momentum. It’s an uncharacteristically slow start for Panarin, who has averaged well over a point per game in his previous three seasons. –Kristen Shilton

14. Mitchell Marner, RW, Toronto Maple Leafs

2020 rank: 18
Age: 24

It has been a bleak start to the season for Marner. But there’s hope on the horizon. After scoring just one assist in Toronto’s first seven games, Marner tallied a pair of helpers and had a season-high seven shots on goal in the Leafs’ win over Chicago. –Kristen Shilton

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15. Alex Ovechkin, LW, Washington Capitals

2020 rank: 9
Age: 36

Ovechkin’s goal-scoring ability remains undiminished by the expected effects of aging. The 36-year-old holds the NHL lead in goals, with eight through seven games, inching ever closer to Wayne Gretzky’s all-time career mark of 894 goals. Whether he hits that point or not, Ovechkin’s consistency season over season is remarkable. –Kristen Shilton

16. Elias Pettersson, C, Vancouver Canucks

2020 rank: 21
Age: 22

A new three-year contract hasn’t helped Pettersson get off to a good start. Vancouver’s star center has scored one goal in seven games, and was demoted down the lineup. A lack of early puck luck seems to have Pettersson shorter on confidence. –Kristen Shilton

17. Nikita Kucherov, RW, Tampa Bay Lightning

2020 rank: N/A
Age: 28

Kucherov made it through all of three games for Tampa — and recorded one four-point night — before suffering a lower-body injury that will sideline him for 8-10 weeks. It’s familiar territory for the Lightning, who went without Kucherov for all of last regular season. –Kristen Shilton

18. Mathew Barzal, C, New York Islanders

2020 rank: 33
Age: 24

The Islanders’ leading scorer for four straight seasons, Barzal is right on track to continue that trend, with three goals in six games to start the campaign. But New York is still looking for more — from everyone — on a power play that has failed to click early. If anyone can be the difference-maker there, it’s Barzal. –Kristen Shilton

19. Brayden Point, C/RW, Tampa Bay Lightning

2020 rank: 14
Age: 25

Point entered this season with high expectations after leading Tampa in points last season. And with Kucherov out, the Lightning need him even more. Point looks up to the task, notching three goals in his past four games and collecting all four of his points this season at 5-on-5. –Kristen Shilton

20. Kirill Kaprizov, LW/RW, Minnesota Wild

2020 rank: N/A
Age: 24

The NHL’s reigning Calder Trophy winner is in a bit of a sophomore slump. Sure, he has five assists in six games, but his overall impact is lacking. Minnesota made him its highest paid player with a five-year, $45 million contract ahead of this season, and now the Wild are counting on Kaprizov’s play to match the investment. –Kristen Shilton

21. Charlie McAvoy, D, Boston Bruins

2020 rank: 76
Age: 23

McAvoy jumped a whopping 55 spots in our ranking from last season to this one, and with good reason: He was thrust into the role of No. 1 defenseman for the Bruins (following the lineage of Bobby Orr, Ray Bourque and Zdeno Chara) and exceeded expectations. –Tim Kavanagh

22. Patrick Kane, RW, Chicago Blackhawks

2020 rank: 15
Age: 32

Though he probably reached his personal apex in the 2015-16 season — including a scoring title and a Hart Trophy — Kane remains one of the NHL’s most consistent offensive forces, beginning the 2021-22 campaign with five points in his first five games. –Tim Kavanagh

23. Mark Stone, RW, Vegas Golden Knights

2020 rank: 23
Age: 29

The NHL’s pick-pocket extraordinaire, Stone led the league in takeaways in 2020-21, with 58. He’ll miss time in the early going due to a lower-body injury, but will be a key component of the Knights’ Cup pursuit upon his return. –Tim Kavanagh

24. Roman Josi, D, Nashville Predators

2020 rank: 12
Age: 31

The winner of the Norris Trophy in 2019-20 appeared to take a step back — along with many of his teammates — in 2020-21, but Josi has come roaring out of the gates with nine points in the Preds’ first seven games. –Tim Kavanagh

25. David Pastrnak, RW, Boston Bruins

2020 rank: 10
Age: 25

No bonus points for those awesome Dunkin’ Donuts commercials? We suppose our voters were a little more swayed by Pastrnak’s occasional disappearing act. Neverthless, he remains a perennial contender for the goal-scoring title. –Tim Kavanagh

26. Miro Heiskanen, D, Dallas Stars

2020 rank: 37
Age: 22

Part of the wave of young, offensively gifted defensemen, the No. 3 overall pick from 2017 was a hipster pick this preseason for the Norris Trophy, and he’s off to a strong start with seven points through seven games. –Tim Kavanagh

27. Mark Scheifele, C, Winnipeg Jets

2020 rank: 38
Age: 28

Though a wildly unnecessary hit in the 2021 playoffs tarnished his reputation a bit — and earned him a suspension that lasted into the early part of this season — Scheifele is quite valuable to the Jets, scoring above a point-per-game pace for the past five seasons, and sitting on the positive side of the possession metrics. –Tim Kavanagh

28. Connor Hellebuyck, G, Winnipeg Jets

2020 rank: 11
Age: 28

Hellebuyck finished first (2019-20) and fourth (2020-21) in Vezina voting the past two seasons. He isn’t off to the best start this year but should be counted on to finish as one of the NHL’s top goalies. –Peter Lawrence-Riddell

29. Sebastian Aho, C, Carolina Hurricanes

2020 rank: 27
Age: 24

Probably a bit underrated at No. 29, Aho has been a point per game player over the past three seasons and is off to a similar start in 2021-22 with seven points in his first five games. –Peter Lawrence-Riddell

30. Mika Zibanejad, C, New York Rangers

2020 rank: 29
Age: 28

Now in the midst of his prime, Zibanejad inked an eight-year, $68 million contract extension with the Rangers that begins in 2022-23. After breaking out in 2019-20 and enjoying another productive season in 2020-21, the Swede will be a big part of the Rangers’ playoff push for the near future. –Tim Kavanagh

31. Kyle Connor, LW, Winnipeg Jets

2020 rank: 62
Age: 24

The 2015 first-round pick has been a point per game player once in his career (73 points in 71 games in 2019-20). If he can keep up his hot start (10 points in first six games), he might be able to do it again. –Peter Lawrence-Riddell

32. Igor Shesterkin, G, New York Rangers

2020 rank: 92
Age: 25

It took some time for the 2014 draftee to make his way to North America, but he was definitely worth the wait for the Rangers, taking over primary crease duties following the team’s divorce from Henrik Lundqvist prior to 2020-21. After five starts, Shesterkin sits eighth in the NHL with 3.82 goals saved above average. –Tim Kavanagh

33. Patrice Bergeron, C, Boston Bruins

2020 rank: 26
Age: 36

He’s below his other two linemates in these rankings, but ask Bruins fans and they’ll tell you that Bergeron is still as important as ever. He has finished in the top five of the Selke voting in every season since 2009-10 (winning three times and finishing second four times). –Peter Lawrence-Riddell

34. Dougie Hamilton, D, New Jersey Devils

2020 rank: 48
Age: 28

After starring in Carolina the past three seasons, Hamilton signed a seven-year, $63 million contract with the Devils. The big blueliner has been a consistent producer, putting up between 39 and 50 points in each of the past seven seasons. –Peter Lawrence-Riddell

35. Alex Pietrangelo, D, Vegas Golden Knights

2020 rank: 16
Age: 31

Entering the second year of a seven-year, $61.6 million contract with Vegas, Pietrangelo is off to a bit of a slow start to the 2021-22 season, with no points through the first seven games. But he’s still logging the same time on the ice he always has, playing over 26 minutes a game. –Peter Lawrence-Riddell

36. Kris Letang, D, Pittsburgh Penguins

2020 rank: 58
Age: 34

Out right now in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol, Letang maintains a high-usage lifestyle on the Penguins’ blue line. He has played more than 24 minutes per game in every season since 2010-11 and was averaging more than 26 minutes this season before being sidelined. –Peter Lawrence-Riddell

37. Anze Kopitar, C, Los Angeles Kings

2020 rank: 71
Age: 34

The big, physical two-way center is off to a great start this season for the Kings with nine points (six goals and three assists) in his first six games. He hasn’t scored more than 22 goals since 2017-18 but could be on his way there in 2021-22. –Peter Lawrence-Riddell

38. Drew Doughty, D, Los Angeles Kings

2020 rank: 66
Age: 31

Doughty was off to a great start (seven points in four games) before being sidelined by a knee injury. He might not be as dominant as he was early in his career, but the 31-year old is still one of the best defensemen in the NHL. –Peter Lawrence-Riddell

39. Robin Lehner, G, Vegas Golden Knights

2020 rank: 53
Age: 30

After playing just 22 total games the past two regular seasons and 19 more in the playoffs, Lehner has the Vegas net all to himself with Marc-Andre Fleury off to Chicago. With a career 2.69 GAA, he should be up to the task. –Steve Richards

40. Shea Theodore, D, Vegas Golden Knights

2020 rank: 42
Age: 26

A steady presence on the Vegas blue line since the club’s inception, Theodore will be counted on to make Lehner’s life a little easier. –Steve Richards

41. Thatcher Demko, G, Vancouver Canucks

2020 rank: N/A
Age: 25

The Canucks have hitched their goaltending wagon to the 25-year-old Demko, who has a career 2.91 GAA and .911 save percentage and signed a five-year contract extension in March. –Steve Richards

42. Jonathan Huberdeau, LW, Florida Panthers

2020 rank: 61
Age: 28

Huberdeau’s flashy moves and consistent presence have made him the Panthers’ career scoring leader, and he’s leading the way again this year, with nine points in Florida’s 7-0 start. –Steve Richards

43. Gabriel Landeskog, C/LW, Colorado Avalanche

2020 rank: 67
Age: 28

Landeskog landed a massive, eight-year deal this offseason. Now it’s time to earn it by helping bring a Cup to Colorado. This is his 10th season as the Avalanche captain — he became the youngest captain in NHL history in 2012 (19 years, 286 days). –Steve Richards

44. Jack Hughes, C/LW, New Jersey Devils

2020 rank: N/A
Age: 20

The first overall pick in the 2019 draft, Hughes hasn’t cracked through yet, and while he remains full of potential, he already suffered a big setback with a dislocated left shoulder and is out indefintely. –Steve Richards

45. Zach Hyman, LW/RW, Edmonton Oilers

2020 rank: N/A
Age: 29

Probably a surprise that the former Leaf is this high on the list, but skating on a line with Connor McDavid in Edmonton clearly has our voters high on what he can do in 2021-22. He’s off to a good start, with six goals in the Oilers’ first six games. –Peter Lawrence-Riddell

46. Elvis Merzlikins, G, Columbus Blue Jackets

2020 rank: N/A
Age: 27

A rising star among goaltenders, Merzlikins overcame a personal tragedy this summer, the death of fellow Blue Jackets netminder and countryman Matiss Kivlenieks. Merzlikins is third in the league thus far this season with 5.32 goals saved above average. –Tim Kavanagh

47. Ryan O’Reilly, C, St. Louis Blues

2020 rank: 44
Age: 30

One of the best two-way centers in the NHL, O’Reilly has a case to be higher up this list. He’s never going to be the most prolific scorer, but he’s tough, dependable and everything the Blues could want in a captain. –Peter Lawrence-Riddell

48. Andrei Svechnikov, LW/RW, Carolina Hurricanes

2020 rank: 88
Age: 21

Playing in his fourth season, Svechnikov is a player who could move up these rankings in the coming years. The No. 2 overall pick in 2018 is off to a great start with nine points (five goals and four assists) in five games for one of the NHL’s best teams. –Peter Lawrence-Riddell

49. Matthew Tkachuk, LW/RW, Calgary Flames

2020 rank: 47
Age: 23

Part of a Flames top line with Johnny Gaudreau and Elias Lindholm that really clicked last season. Plus Tkachuk brings the added element of agitator, which is always fun (unless you’re on the other side). –Steve Richards

50. Brady Tkachuk, LW, Ottawa Senators

2020 rank: N/A
Age: 22

The Senators certainly think the heavy-hitting winger (17 goals, 19 assists, 248 hits last season) belongs on this list as they signed Tkachuk to a seven-year, $57.5 million contract the morning of the season opener. –Steve Richards

51. Aaron Ekblad, D, Florida Panthers

2020 rank: N/A
Age: 25

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 draft, Ekblad is still only 25 years old and played the best hockey of his career in 2020-21 before a season-ending injury. He’s off to a great start this season and if this keeps up he could be in the mix for the Norris. –Peter Lawrence-Riddell

52. John Tavares, C, Toronto Maple Leafs

2020 rank: 31
Age: 31

Like many of his Leafs teammates, Tavares isn’t off to the greatest start. His production slipped a bit last year, too, so the question is whether he can bounce back to the offensive levels he used to be at. –Peter Lawrence-Riddell

53. John Carlson, D, Washington Capitals

2020 rank: 17
Age: 31

From 2017-18 through the start of this season, Carlson led NHL defensemen with 257 points. His total slipped last season, but he finished the year with a cracked knee cap. –Steve Richards

54. Philipp Grubauer, G, Seattle Kraken

2020 rank: N/A
Age: 29

A Vezina finalist with the Avalanche last season (1.95 GAA), Grubauer became a building block for the Kraken after signing a free-agent megadeal. Can he be to Seattle what Marc-Andre Fleury was to Vegas? –Steve Richards

55. Steven Stamkos, C/RW, Tampa Bay Lightning

2020 rank: 30
Age: 31

The face of the two-time defending Cup champs, Stamkos is off and running again with four goals and six assists in the Lightning’s first seven games. –Steve Richards

56. Jakob Chychrun, D, Arizona Coyotes

2020 rank: N/A
Age: 23

Chychrun entered the Norris Trophy conversation with 41 points in 56 games last season, qualifying him as the best reason to watch the Coyotes (other than their sweet sweaters, of course). –Steve Richards

57. William Nylander, LW/RW, Toronto Maple Leafs

2020 rank: 94
Age: 25

Nylander hasn’t quite lived up to his status as the No. 8 pick in 2014. He had a career-high 31 goals in 2019-20 but slipped a bit last season (17 goals in 51 games). –Steve Richards

58. Jacob Markstrom, G, Calgary Flames

2020 rank: 64
Age: 31

Markstrom was fairly mediocre in his first season with Calgary after signing a big free-agent deal in the 2020 offseason, so he could be feeling some heat if things don’t improve. –Steve Richards

59. Quinn Hughes, D, Vancouver Canucks

2020 rank: 28
Age: 22

Hughes made an immediate impact on the Vancouver blue line, finishing second to Cale Makar for the Calder Trophy in 2019-20 and accumulating 97 points in 127 games entering this season. –Steve Richards

60. John Gibson, G, Anaheim Ducks

2020 rank: 45
Age: 28

The Pennsylvania native has toiled behind lackluster Anaheim squads in recent seasons, though the emergence of a young wave of stars does provide some hope. Oh, and he’ll likely get a midseason Olympic sojourn this season as well. –Tim Kavanagh

61. T.J. Oshie, C/RW, Washington Capitals

2020 rank: N/A
Age: 34

A reliable scorer at even strength and on the man advantage, Oshie will be a key component to Washington’s Cup push. Unfortunately, a lower-body injury has shifted his status to week-to-week. –Tim Kavanagh

62. Nick Suzuki, C/RW, Montreal Canadiens

2020 rank: N/A
Age: 22

A breakout in the 2021 playoffs certainly helped Suzuki’s case for a contract extension, and he signed an eight-year, $63 million deal this summer that kicks in next season. He’s a player to watch this season and could make another leap in next year’s ranking. –Tim Kavanagh

63. Darcy Kuemper, G, Colorado Avalanche

2020 rank: 78
Age: 31

Kuemper had a down 2020-21 season, but that followed two straight campaigns in which he finished fourth in the league in goals saved above average (25.1, 16.65). Brought over by the Avs this offseason, the spotlight will shine much brighter as he backstops a top contender. –Tim Kavanagh

64. Jonathan Marchessault, C/LW, Vegas Golden Knights

2020 rank: N/A
Age: 30

One of the original “Golden Misfits” who carried the Knights to the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season, Marchessault continues to play a critical role both on the scoresheet and in his chirping of opponents. –Tim Kavanagh

65. Spencer Knight, G, Florida Panthers

2020 rank: N/A
Age: 20

After backstopping Team USA’s gold-medal win over Canada in the 2021 World Juniors and having the nation’s fifth-best save percentage (.932) as a sophomore at Boston College, Knight made an immediate impact by going 5-1 with Florida at the end of last season and in the playoffs. The 20-year-old will be counted on this year as the Panthers try to keep their early-season mojo flowing. –Steve Richards

66. Semyon Varlamov, G, New York Islanders

2020 rank: 85
Age: 33

Varlomov hasn’t played yet this season (injury) but seems close to returning. One question will be how much of the work he’ll get once he’s back, with Ilya Sorokin off to a solid start through the first six games. –Peter Lawrence-Riddell

67. Brock Boeser, RW, Vancouver Canucks

2020 rank: 93
Age: 24

Boeser has never played more than 69 games in a season, and his 2021-22 started later due to injury. If he can stay healthy he’s a good bet for 25-30 goals. –Peter Lawrence-Riddell

68. Mikhail Sergachev, D, Tampa Bay Lightning

2020 rank: 80
Age: 23

Sergachev has been a steady, physical two-way defenseman for the Lightning. He increased his point production in 2020-21, with 30 points in 50 games, and is off to a good start this year with five points in seven games. –Peter Lawrence-Riddell

69. Claude Giroux, C/LW, Philadelphia Flyers

2020 rank: 68
Age: 33

He’s not the point per game player he used to be as recently as 2018-19 (85 points in 82 games), but Giroux is still productive and always tough to play against. –Peter Lawrence-Riddell

70. Ryan McDonagh, D, Tampa Bay Lightning

2020 rank: 98
Age: 32

He’s not going to put up a lot of points, but McDonough has been a big part of the Lightning’s back-to-back Cup-winning success. He led all skaters in plus-minus in the 2020-21 postseason at +18. –Peter Lawrence-Riddell

71. Ryan Ellis, D, Philadelphia Flyers

2020 rank: 60
Age: 30

The Flyers never adequately replaced Matt Niskanen after the veteran blueliner’s retirement ahead of 2020-21. They did so this offseason by trading for Ellis, who will be a strong veteran presence with a capacity to chip in some points as well. –Tim Kavanagh

72. Juuse Saros, G, Nashville Predators

2020 rank: N/A
Age: 26

Long the “franchise goalie of the future” in Nashville, Saros is finally taking over from his fellow Finn Pekka Rinne this season after nearly single-handedly dragging the Preds into the 2021 postseason with strong play down the stretch. –Tim Kavanagh

73. Morgan Rielly, D, Toronto Maple Leafs

2020 rank: 43
Age: 27

Will the 2018-19 season go down as Rielly’s career apex? We don’t think so, and he’ll be one of the key factors as the Leafs look to overcome a sluggish start to the 2021-22 campaign. –Tim Kavanagh

74. Cole Caufield, RW, Montreal Canadiens

2020 rank: N/A
Age: 20

Don’t let Caufield’s size (5-foot-7) and baby face fool you. Last season’s Hobey Baker winner led the nation in goals (30) as a sophomore at Wisconsin, and he kept going this spring with four goals and 12 points in the Habs’ deep playoff run. –Steve Richards

75. Jordan Binnington, G, St. Louis Blues

2020 rank: 82
Age: 28

After carrying St. Louis to its franchise-first Stanley Cup in 2019, Binnington has been a bit up and down. However, the ups are good enough for the team to believe he can be their No. 1 as it looks for Cup No. 2 this season. –Tim Kavanagh

76. Alex DeBrincat, LW/RW, Chicago Blackhawks

2020 rank: N/A
Age: 23

Like the rest of the Blackhawks, DeBrincat isn’t off to the best start in the early part of this season. But the 23-year-old winger’s track record says the points will start coming. –Peter Lawrence-Riddell

77. Tyler Seguin, C/RW, Dallas Stars

2020 rank: 54
Age: 29

Seguin was limited to three games last season while recovering from hip surgery, after leading the Stars in scoring the previous two campaigns, including their run to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final. He hasn’t reached 30 goals since 2018-19, but the 12-year vet is still just 29. –Steve Richards

78. Nikolaj Ehlers, LW/RW, Winnipeg Jets

2020 rank: N/A
Age: 25

It took a while for the No. 9 overall pick from 2014 to string together consistent production, but Ehlers leveled up in 2020-21. A critical part of the Jets’ contention plans this season and beyond. –Tim Kavanagh

79. Jake Guentzel, LW/RW, Pittsburgh Penguins

2020 rank: 89
Age: 27

Whether playing with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin or neither, the Nebraska native has been around a point-per-game pace since the start of the 2018-19 campaign. He has two seasons remaining after this one on his current contract. –Tim Kavanagh

80. Ryan Pulock, D, New York Islanders

2020 rank: N/A
Age: 27

A first-round pick back in 2013, Pulock has been a bedrock upon which Barry Trotz’ system with the Islanders has functioned in recent seasons. The Islanders signed him to an eight-year, $49.2 million extension that kicks in for 2022-23. –Tim Kavanagh

81. Anders Lee, LW, New York Islanders

2020 rank: N/A
Age: 31

An ACL injury cut the Isles captain’s 2020-21 campaign short, but he has been a reliably durable presense up front for the club otherwise. He’ll continue to play an important role on Mathew Barzal’s wing as the Isles push for a Cup. –Tim Kavanagh

82. Taylor Hall, LW, Boston Bruins

2020 rank: 39
Age: 29

Hall had a rebirth after being dealt from Buffalo to Boston at last season’s trade deadline, scoring eight goals in 16 regular-season games and three more in the playoffs. The Bruins saw enough to sign him to a four-year deal this offseason, obviously thinking they’ll get more of the same from the former Hart Trophy winner. –Steve Richards

83. Marc-Andre Fleury, G, Chicago Blackhawks

2020 rank: N/A
Age: 36

Fleury, the reigning Vezina winner, is off to a rough start in his first season in Chicago. If the Blackhawks are going to turn their season around, they’ll need Fleury to bounce back to his 2020-21 form. –Peter Lawrence-Riddell

84. Nicklas Backstrom, C, Washington Capitals

2020 rank: 91
Age: 33

Backstrom has been a model of consistency over 14 seasons in Washington, registering at least 50 points 12 times and in each of the past eight seasons, but lingering hip issues have slowed him to the point that he has started 2020-21 on long-term IR. –Steve Richards

85. Max Pacioretty, LW, Vegas Golden Knights

2020 rank: 73
Age: 32

A solid, reliable winger, Pacioretty is coming off two strong seasons with the Knights, with 51 points in 48 games in 2020-21. He’s currently on long-term injured reserve, however, and likely out until late November after reportedly breaking his foot on Oct. 14. –Steve Richards

86. Zach Werenski, D, Columbus Blue Jackets

2020 rank: 40
Age: 24

In recent seasons, the Blue Jackets had the luxury of having Werenski and Seth Jones both hopping over the boards — essentially two No. 1 defensemen. With Jones traded to Chicago, Werenski takes full command of the ship, and the early returns in 2021-22 are promising. –Tim Kavanagh

87. Tyson Barrie, D, Edmonton Oilers

2020 rank: N/A
Age: 30

Barrie signed a one-year, $3.75 million deal for the 2020-21 season, and his 48 points in 56 games (including 23 on the power play) were enough to have the two sides re-up on a three-year extension. –Tim Kavanagh

88. Cam Talbot, G, Minnesota Wild

2020 rank: N/A
Age: 34

Talbot finished the 2020-21 campaign 15th in the NHL in goals saved above average (6.87) and posted a stellar .923 save percentage in the Wild’s first-round loss to the Golden Knights. He’ll be a critical part to Minnesota’s contention hopes this season. –Tim Kavanagh

89. Thomas Chabot, D, Ottawa Senators

2020 rank: 52
Age: 24

The legend of Thomas Chabot began with his being named MVP of the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship. As a pro, he has been a rock for the rebuilding Senators, as demonstrated by his average ice time north of 26 minutes for 2019-20 through this season. –Tim Kavanagh

90. Darnell Nurse, D, Edmonton Oilers

2020 rank: N/A
Age: 26

Nurse’s ascendance to blue-line stardom has taken a bit longer than some of his peers’, but his 0.64 points-per-game pace in 2020-21 (and hot start this season) portend great things. –Tim Kavanagh

91. Evgeni Malkin, C, Pittsburgh Penguins

2020 rank: 24
Age: 35

It has been a while since Malkin has played a full season (since 2008-09, in fact), and that trend will continue in 2021-22. But, when he’s active, he’s still an elite player, as his 28 points in 35 games last season show. He’ll be a difference-maker for the Penguins upon his return. –Tim Kavanagh

92. Carey Price, G, Montreal Canadiens

2020 rank: 36
Age: 34

Price has begun the season having entered the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program. But following his return to the ice, he’ll hope to carry over the momentum from last postseason, when he was a critical factor in the Habs getting to the Stanley Cup Final. –Tim Kavanagh

93. Vladimir Tarasenko, RW, St. Louis Blues

2020 rank: 72
Age: 29

Though Tarasenko made a trade request during the 2021 Stanley Cup Final, the Blues elected to keep him. That was a good idea, as his scoring touch will be of great assistance as St. Louis looks to make another push this postseason. –Tim Kavanagh

94. MacKenzie Weegar, D, Florida Panthers

2020 rank: N/A
Age: 27

Is Weegar the next Jaccob Slavin? Last season was an eye-opener for many, but he’s still somewhat underrated in the overall blue-line landscape. –Tim Kavanagh

95. Seth Jones, D, Chicago Blackhawks

2020 rank: 19
Age: 27

The 2020-21 campaign wasn’t up to Jones’ usual standards, but the Blackhawks — who traded for him and then signed him to an eight-year extension — are hoping he gets back to his ascendant self again. At his best, he’s a Norris Trophy contender. –Tim Kavanagh

96. Dylan Larkin, C, Detroit Red Wings

2020 rank: N/A
Age: 25

Larkin got a taste of playoff hockey for five games in his rookie campaign of 2015-16, and the Wings haven’t been back since. Is this the season when the captain brings them back? –Tim Kavanagh

97. Bo Horvat, C, Vancouver Canucks

2020 rank: 83
Age: 26

While the Canucks struggled in 2020-21, Horvat maintained a similar points-per-game rate (0.70) to other recent campaigns. He’s an important player down the middle for Vancouver. –Tim Kavanagh

98. Ivan Provorov, D, Philadelphia Flyers

2020 rank: 95
Age: 24

Provorov’s average ice time has been on a climb since his NHL debut in 2016-17, and he’ll be a steady force on the blue line for Philly as it looks to get back into the playoffs. –Tim Kavanagh

99. Jason Robertson, LW, Dallas Stars

2020 rank: N/A
Age: 22

A strong 2020-21 campaign had Robertson in the mix for the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year. Despite not taking the crown, the future is bright for him. –Tim Kavanagh

100. Patrik Laine, LW/RW, Columbus Blue Jackets

2020 rank: 57
Age: 23

Laine’s first season in Columbus was forgettable. But players who have his scoring touch are valuable, and the early returns on his on-ice work (and fashion sense) this season are encouraging. –Tim Kavanagh

Just missed

Brent Burns, D, Sharks
Alec Martinez, D, Golden Knights
Tom Wilson, RW, Capitals
Tomas Hertl, C/LW, Sharks
Alex Killorn, LW/RW, Lightning
Conor Garland, LW, RW, Canucks
Jack Campbell, G, Maple Leafs
Jared Spurgeon, D, Wild
Dominik Kubalik, LW/RW, Blackhawks
Cam Fowler, D, Ducks
Phillip Danault, C, Kings
Matt Dumba, D, Wild
Chris Kreider, LW, Rangers
Yanni Gourde, C/RW, Kraken
Sam Bennett, C, Panthers

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