2021-2022 NHL Season Recap; Playoffs Begin


Courtesy of SBNation

            As the 2021-2022 season came to a close, the competition for the presidents trophy grew. The top two teams, the Colorado Avalanche and the Florida Panthers, had a tight battle, both fighting for top of the league. Both with over 110 points, the two teams went back and forth in standings.

            At the end of the battle, Florida ultimately took the throne as the league leader in points with 122 points. As for the loss of the presidents trophy, Colorado gained possession of the Clarence S.  Campbell Bowl, given to the points leader in western conference.

            The 2021-2022 season will forever go down in history with the most “unexpected” ending in standings. An example of such turnover is with the Montréal Canadiens.

            In the 2021 playoffs, Montréal made it all the way to the Stanley cup final, only to be finished by cup defender Tampa Bay Lightning. Like the quote states “what goes up must come down”, the Canadiens put up a horrible record of 22-49-11, finishing last in the entire league.

            Such performance led to the firing of coach Dominique Ducharme in replacement for one time cup champion, Martin St. Louis. The main cause of this problem was the lack of ice time from goaltender Carey Price.

            With such a devastating injury, Price was left to the scratched list of players and wasn’t able to support the team. As a result of this, Montréal concluded a franchise worst of 55 points to end the season.

            With some teams reaching the bottom of the standings unexpectedly, other teams shocked the league with dominating performance. Such teams include the Calgary Flames and the New York Rangers.

            Ending the 2020-2021 season, the Flames finished with 55 points with a 26-27-3 record. This season, the Flames rose to the top of their division with 111 points and a 50-21-11 record. This has led them to clinch the Pacific division title and a top ten league standing.

            Players like Johnny Gaudreau finished with 115 points to take the second place spot in points for the season. He also had a total of 40 goals and 75 assists, both in top ten standings. 

Another leader with the Flames is Matthew Tkachuk. In this season, he reached 100 points for the first time in his career, putting up a final of 104 with 42 goals and 62 assists. 

            In the same shoes as the Flames, the New York Rangers committed to a playoff spot and ended the season with 110 points for second in the metropolitan division. Players like Artemi Panarin and Chris Kreider led the way.

            Panarin finished the season with 96 points with 22 goals and 74 assists. Kreider was able to find the net 52 times and due to this, finished the season with 77 points and 25 assists.

            Another example of such leadership to the Rangers is Igor Shesterkin. He finished the season with a .935 save percentage and a 2.07 goals against average, taking home both titles for the most valuable goaltender for the season.

            The Tampa Bay Lightning had an average season with the team being locked up high in standings and with point leaders. The team finished the season with 110 points, and a third place spot in the Atlantic division.

            The captain, Steven Stamkos, led the way with 106 points, concluding top 10 in point standings. For the first time in his career, he reached the 100 point mark with 42 goals and 64 assists. Another player worth mentioning is Victor Hedman who reached the career 600 points mark this season. The 6’6” defenseman finished with 20 goals and 65 assists for 85 points.

            In the talk of leading defenseman, Roman Josi with the Nashville Predators will likely win the Norris Trophy for the most valuable D-man in the league. He finished the season with 23 goals and 73 assists to gain a total of 96 points, the highest in the league for defensemen this season.

            Newly formed Seattle Kraken finished the season with 60 points with a 27-49-6 record, ending up with the 30th spot in the league. The team traded away big names such as the former kraken captain, Mark Giordano, and Calle Jarnkrok. Both got traded to Canada with Giordano being traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Jarnkrok being traded to the Flames.

            With such a devastating season ending, the league owners have already predicted the odds for the upcoming 2022 draft lottery. According to scouts and the league general manager, Montréal has a 18.5% chance of winning the first pick, followed by Arizona(13.5%), Seattle(11.5%), and Philadelphia(9.5%).

            The 2021-2022 season will forever go down in history as the most action packed season in league history. Teams being in the 100 points marks with others being only half of that. Only the postseason can determine who the champion of this year will be.

The 2022 NHL playoffs begin May second, and according to scouts, it is one worth watching. 16 teams, competing for one cup, in four rounds of seven games, this postseason is surely going to go down in the history books as the most memorable.

            16 teams have been confirmed to enter the 2022 postseason, eight from each conference. 

            The two western divisions, pacific and central have been one of the most tight competitions this season. In the Pacific, the three teams entering the postseason include the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, and Los Angeles Kings.

            Due to such a close game in the central division, it stole a wild card spot from the pacific, preventing the Vegas Golden Knights from entering the playoffs, for the first time in franchise history.

            The 2022 central division playoff teams include the Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild, St. Louis Blues, Dallas Stars, and Nashville Predators. 

            The eastern conference had wildcard spots in both the Atlantic and Metropolitan divisions.

            In the Atlantic division, the four teams entering are the Florida Panthers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Boston Bruins.

            The four teams entering the playoffs for the metropolitan division are the Carolina Hurricanes, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Washington Capitals.

            The matchups for the 2022 playoff run is a one of a kind with the first place teams going against the wildcard spots.

            Some of these insane matchups include the Colorado Avalanche against the Nashville Predators. Colorado, being the conference champion, is going against the underdog of the league. Nashville finished the season with a 45-30-7 record ending with 97 points.

            Colorado, on the other hand, ended the season with a 56-19-7 record with 119 points. Both teams have had some experience together in the playoffs. Colorado ended up falling to all of them with Nashville moving on.

            Another matchup is the Dallas Stars against the Calgary Flames. Dallas finished the season with a 46-30-6 record for 98 points. Calgary clinched the division and ended with a 50-21-11 record with 111 points.

            Both of these teams are matchups in the western conference. The other two matchups include Minnesota Wild versus St Louis Blues and the Edmonton Oilers versus the Los Angeles Kings.

            The eastern conference is one to watch. The two matchups that have fans raveled include the Penguins versus Rangers matchup and the Tampa Bay Lightning versus Toronto Maple Leafs.

            The playoffs this season are going to be tough not to watch. Many close matchups against the best of the league. The playoffs is a different game and this one is no different.