Hawks Insider

NHL's Top 100 players going into 2021-22 season


Ranking the Top 100 NHL players going into the 2021-22 season.

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An excellent two-way defenseman, Ellis joins a Flyers team that's counting on him to eat up No. 1 minutes on the blue line. He's recorded at least 32 points in five of the last six seasons.


Danault has been one of the top defensive forwards in the league for a while now, but the world got to see just how good he actually is during the 2020-21 Stanley Cup Playoffs. It earned him a six-year, $33 million contract with Los Angeles.


Buchnevich is a dynamic offensive winger whose numbers continue to get better as his career progress. He could sneakily average a point per game with St. Louis this season.


Sergachev is a solid all-around defenseman who's likely to have an even larger role this season after Tampa Bay lost some pieces on its back end following its second Stanley Cup run. He's registered at least 30 points in all four NHL seasons.


Markstrom's goals saved above average last season was -4.09, according to Natural Stat Trick. The prior two seasons combined? 16.4. Expect him to bounce back and return to prime form after a down first year in Calgary.


Provorov was on pace for 38 points across an 82-game schedule last season, which would've been the second-highest point total of his NHL career. He also logged nearly 25 minutes per night. The Flyers are likely to pair Provorov with Ellis, which is a win for both players.


A versatile forward who can play any of the three positions, Miller is a 25-goal scorer and 60-point producer every season and can make an impact in several other ways outside of the scoresheet.


Nylander is a terrific playmaking winger who can rack up 60 points in his sleep in any given season. His play without the puck will always be a work in progress, but there's no denying his offensive upside.


Premature for Caufield to be in the Top 100? Maybe. But as we saw in the postseason, he's going to be a goal-scoring machine at the NHL level and is sure to be in the Calder Trophy discussion.


Larkin is a strong two-way center who plays in all situations for Detroit. He might flirt with 30-35 goals and 70-75 points this season on a Red Wings team that has a better supporting cast.


One of the best offensive defensemen in the game, Krug was projected to hit the 50-point mark last season for the fourth time in five years. He also averaged a career-high 22:32 of ice time.



Petry had a career year last season after finishing third in goals (12), seventh in points (42) and 10th in assists (30). He's going to be leaned on heavily again this season with Shea Weber unlikely to play for Montreal.


Nugent-Hopkins has potted at least 50 points in a season five times and has become a solid two-way center since being drafted No. 1 overall by Edmonton in 2011. He's likely to score 25 goals and have another 60-point season.


Hertl's best offensive season came in 2018-19 when he accumulated 35 goals and 39 assists for 74 points in 77 games. There's a decent chance he tops that point total this season.


The offensive numbers have started to dip for Burns, but he's still one of the best offensive defensemen in the league. He was on pace to finish with 10 goals and 42 points in an 82-game season last year.



This will be the season Dahlin takes the next step in his development and is talked about among the high-end two-way defensemen in the league. He signed a three-year, $18 million contract and will be leaned on heavily for a rebuilding Buffalo team. Again.



An excellent offensive winger with elite upside, Svechnikov has the potential to average a point per game this season.


It's only a matter of time before Cirelli wins the Selke Trophy as the NHL's best defensive forward.


No defenseman finished with more goals last season than Chychrun, who had 18 in 56 games. Across an 82-game season, he was projected to have 26, which would've been the highest goal total by a defenseman since Brent Burns potted 29 in 2016-17.


Toffoli was absolutely dynamite for the Canadiens last season, scoring 28 goals in 52 games. He might've gotten 50 in a normal season.


Hughes is going to have a breakout season at some point and it wouldn't be surprising if this is the year. He looks bigger, stronger and faster, and should have his Devils club knocking on the door of a playoff spot.


A dependable two-way forward, Lindholm can play center or wing and has the potential to put up 30 goals and 70 points if he really wanted to.


Over the last three seasons, Kuemper has a goals saved above average of 41.6. Only Robin Lehner (42.0), Ben Bishop (46.6) and Andrei Vasilevskiy (58.8) rank ahead of him in that timeframe. He should be a great fit in Colorado.


Suzuki had his coming-out party last season, especially in the postseason, where he finished with 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in 22 games. The Canadiens are going to give him much more responsibility this season, and the 22-year-old two-way center should be able to handle it just fine.


After missing all but three games last season with a hip injury, Seguin will look to score 30 goals for the sixth time in his NHL career and get the Stars back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.


Lehner is tied for 10th all-time with a career save percentage of .918. He's the clear-cut No. 1 in Vegas and should be among the league leaders in wins this season.


Ekblad was on pace to finish with 17 goals before his season-ending leg injury, which would've put him near the top of the league among defensemen. If he regains his form quickly, the 25-year-old blue liner could fight for that title again.


Reinhart is a skilled two-way forward who can play center or wing, and now that he's out of Buffalo, watch him have a breakout season offensively.


Tkachuk is quickly becoming one of the top power forwards in the league, and he has the potential to score 35 goals a season.


Gibson had only nine wins and a .903 save percentage last season, but he remains one of the league's best goaltenders. Drop him into a contender and he would probably be in the Vezina Trophy discussion.


Is there anybody more motivated going into the season than Doughty? He wants the world to know he's looking to make Team Canada's Olympic roster.


Hall and the Bruins are a good fit together, and it showed when the former Hart Trophy winner registered 14 points (eight goals, six assists) in 16 games last season. Could he get back to being a point-per-game player?


After missing the season with an illness, Toews is back and looks as recharged as ever. He had the best offensive campaign of his NHL career three years ago and followed that up with 60 points in 70 games the following year. He still has a 30-goal, 60-plus point season in him.


Boeser was on pace to finish with a career-high in goals, assists and points last season. He would've finished with 35 in a normal year. Could he get 40 this season?


Arguably the best defensive defenseman in the league, Slavin has recorded at least 30 points in four of six seasons and committed just one penalty in 52 games last season. Absurd.


Horvat isn't a big-time point producer, but he's one of the premier two-way centers in the game and delivers in the clutch consistently.


Kopitar had a quietly productive 2020-21 season, accumulating 13 goals and 37 assists for 50 points in 56 games. He still has plenty left in the tank.


Kane is one of the most talented offensive wingers in the league, but his future looks uncertain as allegations swirl.


Chabot is a terrific all-around defenseman who hasn't gotten a ton of recognition because of the team he plays for. Only Drew Doughty (26:23) had a higher time on ice average than Chabot (26:17) last season.


In his final 23 starts last season, Saros went 16-6-1 with a 1.90 goals-against average, .941 save percentage and three shutouts. A ridiculous run.


One of the top two-way defensemen in the game, Nurse set a career-high with 16 goals last season and was on pace to set a career-high in points (52) as well. He earned himself an eight-year, $74 million contract over the offseason.


Ehlers is a ridiculously skilled offensive player who's a virtual lock to score 30 goals this season.


Gaudreau doesn't look like the same 99-point player we saw three years ago, but he's still only 28 years old and his talent alone should help him finish with at least a point per game.


Werenski's average ice time has increased for four straight seasons. And it should be a fifth with the departure of Seth Jones. Werenski is two years removed from his 20-goal season and could hit that number again with how much Columbus plans to utilize him.


In Year 14, Letang finished third among defensemen in assists (38) and points (45) while averaging 24:39 of ice time. He remains a horse for the Penguins.


Landeskog had one of his best statistical seasons last year, recording 52 points (20 goals, 32 assists) in 54 regular-season games and 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in 10 postseason contests. The Avalanche captain is back on a long-term contract and looking to lead his team to a Stanley Cup.


Toews has been one of the most underrated defensemen for a while, but that's starting to change after he received four Norris Trophy votes last season. He's a terrific puck-moving defenseman.


Backstrom is 20 points away from becoming the 92nd player in NHL history to hit the 1,000-point mark. He remains one of the top playmakers in the game.


Pacioretty is a six-time 30-goal scorer but finished with a point per game last season for the first time in his NHL career. He compiled 51 points (24 goals, 27 assists) in 48 games and had 11 points (five goals, six assists) in 13 postseason contests.


Steven Stamkos revealed he had surgery on his right knee before the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season and now he's finally feeling healthy. He might not be a 50-goal scorer anymore, but he could sniff 40.


Laine scored 12 goals in 46 games last season. Twelve! Would anybody be surprised if he responded with a 40-goal campaign?


One of the premier two-way centers in the game, Couturier nearly finished with a point per game and is likely to do the same this season.


No defenseman has more points since the start of the 2017-18 season than Carlson, who has 257 points over that span. That's 33 points more than the second-place point-getter.


You always know what you're going to get with Tkachuk: 25 goals. 60 points. And a pest to play against.


Carey Price showed the hockey world that he's still Carey Price after leading Montreal to the Stanley Cup Final with a 2.28 goals-against average, .924 save percentage and one shutout in 22 postseason starts.


Pencil in Guentzel for 35 goals every year and don't even think about it. He's that good.


Theodore finished sixth in Norris Trophy voting last season and received two first-place votes. He's one of the premier puck-moving defensemen in the NHL.


Since he became a full-time NHL player in 2017-18, only six players have scored more goals than Connor: Leon Draisaitl, Nathan MacKinnon, Auston Matthews, Connor McDavid, Alex Ovechkin and David Pastrnak. Pretty good company, eh?


Hamilton cashed in on a monster seven-year, $63 million megadeal with the New Jersey Devils and is expected to finish near the top of the league among defensemen in every offensive category.


Over the last two seasons, only Auston Matthews (88), Leon Draisaitl (74), Alex Ovechkin (72), David Pastrnak (68) and Connor McDavid (67) have scored more goals than Zibanejad (65).


DeBrincat finished third in goals (32) last season despite missing four games while in the NHL's COVID-19 protocol. Not only is he an elite goal scorer, but he's quickly emerging as a terrific two-way winger.


Tavares saw his average ice time drop by a minute and a half last season and yet he still compiled 50 points (19 goals, 31 assists) in 56 games. His postseason ended early after a scary-looking collision to the head, but he's 100 percent and ready to go.


Only three skaters logged more minutes than Jones last season: Brent Burns, Drew Doughty and Darnell Nurse. Now a member of the Blackhawks, Jones is going to play in all situations, and don't be surprised if he taps into his offensive potential more playing on a team that emphasizes transition.


Pettersson signed a three-year, $22 million contract with Vancouver and should average a point per game this season. He's a really good offensive playmaker who's only going to get better.


Pietrangelo remains one of the top all-around defensemen in the game and was a monster in the postseason for Vegas. He was on pace to finish with at least 13 goals for the fifth straight season after having four consecutive single-digit goal seasons.


Heiskanen didn't score his first goal until Game No. 18 last season and yet he was still on pace to tie his career-high of 12. Don't be surprised if he flirts with 60 points this season.


O'Reilly had one of the most productive seasons of his career last season. He was on pace to set a career-high in goals (35) and points (79) in a normal 82-game schedule and did so while also finished fifth in the Selke Trophy voting.


Kaprizov had a sensational rookie season in which he registered 27 goals and 24 assists for 51 points in 55 games, which earned him the Calder Trophy and a five-year, $45 million contract.


Since the start of the 2013-14 season, Josi ranks No. 5 among defensemen with 412 points. He's been one of the best all-around defensemen in the last decade.


Malkin will miss the start of the regular season due to a knee injury, but when healthy, he's still one of the best centers in the game. His 1.174 points-per-game average ranks No. 15 all-time.


McAvoy is an elite two-way defenseman who was on pace to set a career-high in goals (8), assists (40) and points (48) last season. He finished fifth in Norris Trophy voting and it's only a matter of time before he actually wins one.


Hughes is entering his third season and he's already one of the best offensive defensemen in the league. He's going to win multiple Norris Trophies when his career is all said and done.


Scheifele was on pace to finish with 92 points in an 82-game season last year, which would've been a new career-high. His previous best was 84, set during the 2018-19 campaign.


The Eichel situation has been ugly, and it's a shame because, when healthy, he's one of the top players in the game and a 90-point offensive player.


Here's the list of left-wingers with more points than Huberdeau (231) over the last three seasons: Brad Marchand (256).

That's it.


At age 36, Fleury turned in a Vezina Trophy season with a 26-10-0 record, 1.99 goals-against average, .928 save percentage and six shutouts. He's eight wins away from becoming the third goaltender in NHL history to reach 500. Future first-ballot Hall of Famer.


In just his second NHL season, Fox won the Norris Trophy after putting up five goals, 42 assists and 47 points in 55 games for the New York Rangers. He became the youngest player to win the award in almost a decade. It's scary to think Fox's best years are ahead of him.


Bergeron was a Selke Trophy finalist last season for the 10th straight year and is one more win from setting the new record (five). On top of being an elite defensive forward, Bergeron compiled 23 goals and 25 assists for 48 points in 54 games last season. Ho-hum.


Barzal could absolutely tally 100 points in a season if he played in a system that allowed him to flourish offensively. We saw it his rookie year when he put up 85 points. He's must-watch television.


Over the last two seasons, no goaltender has a higher goals saved above average than Hellebuyck (33.45). He's going to be the starter for Team USA at the Olympics.


Aho is a perennial 35-goal scorer and 80-point producer who's turned into a really good penalty killer as well. His all-around talent is among the NHL's best.


Ovechkin is going into the season ranked No. 6 all-time with 730 goals and there's a good chance he ends this season sitting at No. 3. He needs 36 goals to tie Jaromir Jagr for third as he hunts down Wayne Gretzky's record of 894.


Marner is an elite offensive playmaker and two-way winger. He should put up 85 points every season. But he has only five goals in 32 career postseason contests, and his playoff performance is what he's going to be judged on this year.


Stone was on pace to set a career-high in goals (31), assists (60) and points (91) in a typical 82-game season. He also finished third in the Selke Trophy voting as the top defensive forward. He's the perfect winger.


Rantanen is a darkhorse candidate to score 50 goals this season. He might even pot 100. And he seemingly gets better in the playoffs.


After years of being called underrated, Barkov has finally gotten the credit he deserves by winning the Selke Trophy as the NHL's top defensive forward. And he's one of the most skilled offensive players, too. Barkov could have a 40-goal, 90-point campaign and make it look easy.


Makar was the only defenseman that finished with a point per game average last season. If he didn't miss 12 games, the Norris Trophy would've been his. But no worries, he'll win multiple in his NHL career.


Point is legitimate superstar and a big-time playoff performance. He scored 14 goals in back-to-back postseasons to help Tampa Bay repeat as Stanley Cup champions, and could seriously score 50 goals and 90 points this season.


The only winger that has more points than Marchand since the start of the 2015-16 season is Patrick Kane. He tallied 29 goals and 69 points in only 53 games last season and is seemingly getting better at age 33.


Kane had a down season by his standards and yet still finished No. 5 among all skaters with 66 points. With Jonathan Toews back, a healthy Kirby Dach, and the addition of Seth Jones on the back end, look for Kane to crack the 100-point mark again.


The last time Pastrnak played in an 82-game season, he was on pace to score 55 goals and 110 points. Look out, NHL.


Hedman was a Norris Trophy finalist last season and played the second half of the campaign and Stanley Cup Playoffs with a torn meniscus. Ridiculous.


Since he entered the NHL in 2015-16, Panarin has racked up 473 points. Only Brad Marchand (487), Leon Draisaitl (497), Patrick Kane (531) and Connor McDavid 574) have scored more.


Crosby turned 34 in August and he's coming off a season in which he was projected to register 92 points. He's a Top 5 player of all-time and still near the top of his game.


Real talk: Vasilevskiy will go down as one of the best goaltenders in NHL history. He has a career save percentage of .920 in the regular season and .924 in 81 playoff appearances, is a Vezina Trophy winner, Conn Smythe Trophy winner and two-time Stanley Cup champion. And he's only 27!


Draisaitl recorded 84 points in 56 points for a points-per-game average of 1.50 last season and it was an afterthought because of what his teammate accomplished. He will have another 40-goal, 100-point season and do so with ease.


Only three players in NHL history have scored 30 or more points in consecutive postseasons: Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, and Kucherov. Yes, you read that correctly.


Matthews scored 41 goals in 52 games last season and did so with a bad wrist. The last player to score 60 goals in a season was Steven Stamkos in 2011-12, but I say Matthews does it and wins the Rocket Richard for the second straight year.


MacKinnon has 69 points in 50 career playoff games for a points-per-game average of 1.38. That ranks fourth-best in NHL history, trailing only Barry Pederson (1.529), Mario Lemieux (1.607) and Wayne Gretzky (1.837). He gets better as the stage gets brighter.


A two-time Hart Trophy winner and three-time Art Ross Trophy winner by the age of 24, McDavid finished with 105 points in 56 games last season for the fourth 100-plus point campaign of his career. He ranks No. 4 all-time with a points-per-game average of 1.41. Only Mike Bossy (1.497), Mario Lemieux (1.883) and Wayne Gretzky (1.921) are ahead of him.

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