2021–22 NHL season

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2021–22 NHL season
LeagueNational Hockey League
SportIce hockey
DurationOctober 12, 2021[1][2] – June 2022
Number of games82
Number of teams32
TV partner(s)Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports (Canada)
ESPN/ESPN+/ABC, TNT/TBS (United States)
Draft
Top draft pickOwen Power
Picked byBuffalo Sabres
Regular season
Playoffs
Stanley Cup
NHL seasons
2022–23 →

The 2021–22 NHL season is the 105th season of operation (104th season of play) of the National Hockey League (NHL). The league expanded to 32 teams with the addition of the Seattle Kraken. The league returned to its normal October-to-April scheduling and a full 82-game regular season since the 2018–19 NHL season as the previous two NHL seasons were shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The season began on October 12.[1][2][3]

On December 22, all games were suspended league-wide through at least December 26 (officially termed as an extension of the regularly-scheduled Christmas break), in order to reconcile COVID-19 outbreaks that have impacted a large number of teams and resulted in various game postponements. Most teams were scheduled to resume play on December 28, but the home games of all seven Canadian teams through early January were further postponed due to COVID-19 attendance restrictions imposed by local health officials.

League business[edit]

Expansion[edit]

On December 4, 2018, the NHL confirmed that it had granted an expansion franchise in the city of Seattle.[4] The team was named the Seattle Kraken on July 23, 2020.[5][6] On April 30, 2021, the team was permitted to begin making trades and signing players after sending its final expansion payment to the league.[7] The 2021 NHL Expansion Draft was held on July 21, 2021, to fill out the Kraken roster.

Realignment[edit]

The league returned to the previous alignment with Eastern and Western conferences.[3] As planned before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Seattle Kraken were placed in the Pacific Division and the Arizona Coyotes were moved to the Central Division.[4] If the cross-border travel restrictions had continued for another year, the league would have been forced to use a temporary alignment with an all-Canadian division for a second year.[2]

Entry draft[edit]

The 2021 NHL Entry Draft was held July 23–24, 2021, with Owen Power being selected first overall by the Buffalo Sabres. For the second consecutive year the draft was conducted in a remote format due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hosted from the NHL Network studios in Secaucus, New Jersey.[8]

Sponsorships[edit]

As in the previous season, NHL teams were allowed to display sponsor logos (helmet entitlement partner) on their helmets. The following teams have announced their helmet sponsors for this season.

Coaching changes[edit]

Coaching changes
Off–season
Team 2020–21 coach 2021–22 coach Story / Accomplishments
Arizona Coyotes Rick Tocchet Andre Tourigny On May 9, 2021, Tocchet and the Coyotes mutually agreed to part ways at the end of Tocchet's contract, one day after the team's final game of the 2020–21 season. Tocchet coached the Coyotes for four seasons, compiling a 125–131–34 record, with one playoff appearance in 2020.[32] On July 1, Tourigny was named head coach.[33]
Buffalo Sabres Ralph Krueger
Don Granato*
Don Granato Krueger was fired on March 17, 2021, after parts of two seasons with Buffalo, with the team suffering a 6–18–4 start and a 12-game losing streak. Krueger totaled a 36–49–12 record during his short tenure, and failed to lead the team to the playoffs in his lone complete season. Assistant coach Granato was named interim head coach.[34] Granato was named the permanent head coach on June 29.[35]
Columbus Blue Jackets John Tortorella Brad Larsen On May 9, 2021, one day after the Blue Jackets' last game of the 2020–21 season, Tortorella and the team agreed to mutually parts ways after Tortorella's contract expired.[36] Tortorella coached the Blue Jackets since the 2015–16 season and registered a 227–166–54 record, with four playoff appearances. On June 10, assistant coach Larsen was named head coach.[37]
Montreal Canadiens Claude Julien
Dominique Ducharme*
Dominique Ducharme Julien was fired on February 24, 2021, after parts of five seasons during his second stint as head coach of the Canadiens, which had registered a 9–5–4 record to start the season. Julien compiled a 129–123–35 record during his second stint and the team reached the playoffs twice during his tenure, never advancing past the first round. Assistant coach Ducharme was named interim head coach.[38] On July 13, Ducharme was named the permanent head coach and signed a three-year extension with the team.[39]
New York Rangers David Quinn Gerard Gallant Quinn was fired on May 12, 2021, after serving as team's head coach for three seasons. The Rangers went 96–87–25 under Quinn and made the playoffs once.[40] On June 16, Gallant was named head coach.[41]
Seattle Kraken Expansion team Dave Hakstol On June 24, 2021, the Kraken named Hakstol, who previously served as head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers, as the franchise's first head coach.[42]
In–season
Team Outgoing coach Incoming coach Story / Accomplishments
Chicago Blackhawks Jeremy Colliton Derek King* Colliton was fired on November 6, 2021 after parts of four seasons with Chicago, with the team starting the season 1–9–2. In his tenure, Colliton compiled a 87–92–26 record and led the team to the first round of the playoffs in 2020. King, previously the head coach of the Blackhawks' American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate Rockford IceHogs, was promoted to interim head coach.[43]
Florida Panthers Joel Quenneville Andrew Brunette* Quenneville resigned on October 28, 2021, after the results of an internal investigation revealed that he had improperly handled an accusation of sexual assault during his tenure as head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010.[44] Quenneville totaled a 79–40–13 record in just over two seasons with the Panthers, reaching the playoffs twice but failing to advance past the first round.[45] Assistant coach Brunette was named interim head coach.[46]
Philadelphia Flyers Alain Vigneault Mike Yeo* Vigneault was fired on December 6, 2021, after the Flyers began the season 8–10–4. Vigneault compiled a 74–54–19 record in just over two seasons with Philadelphia, reaching the second round of the playoffs in 2020. Assistant coach Yeo was retained and named interim head coach.[47]
Vancouver Canucks Travis Green Bruce Boudreau Green was fired on December 5, 2021, after an 8–15–2 start to the season. In just over four seasons with Vancouver, Green totaled a 133–147–34 record, leading the team to the second round of the playoffs in 2020. Boudreau, most recently the head coach of the Minnesota Wild from 2016 to 2020, was named head coach the same day.[48]
Winnipeg Jets Paul Maurice Dave Lowry* Maurice resigned on December 17, 2021, after the Jets started the season 13–10–5. In just under eight and a half seasons with Winnipeg, Maurice totaled a 315–223–62 record, with five playoff appearances. Assistant coach Lowry was named interim head coach.[49]

(*) Indicates interim.

Front office changes[edit]

General managers
In–season
Team Outgoing general manager Incoming general manager Story / Accomplishments
Anaheim Ducks Bob Murray Jeff Solomon* Murray resigned on November 10, 2021, one day after being placed on administrative leave due to an investigation of alleged unprofessional conduct. Murray had joined the Ducks organization in 2005 as Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations, winning a Stanley Cup in 2007, before being promoted to general manager in 2008. He had also briefly served as the Ducks' interim head coach during the 2018–19 season. Assistant general manager and Vice President of Hockey Operations Solomon was named interim general manager.[50]
Chicago Blackhawks Stan Bowman Kyle Davidson* Bowman resigned on October 26, 2021, after the results of an internal investigation revealed that he had improperly handled an accusation of sexual assault within the Blackhawks organization in 2010. Bowman had been with the organization since 2001, and was named general manager in 2009, before ultimately being promoted further to President of Hockey Operations in 2020. His tenure included three Stanley Cup victories. Assistant general manager Davidson was named interim general manager.[51]
Montreal Canadiens Marc Bergevin Jeff Gorton*
(As executive vice president of hockey operations)
Kent Hughes
Bergevin was fired on November 28, 2021, after the Canadiens started the season 6–15–2. Bergevin had served as general manager of the Canadiens since 2012, overseeing three division championships and a Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 2021. Gorton, most recently general manager of the New York Rangers, and who had been hired earlier in the day, was retained and named executive vice president of hockey operations in order to "assure the continuity of day-to-day operations," effectively serving as the interim general manager.[52] Hughes, formerly a player agent for Quartexx Management, was named general manager on January 18, 2022.[53]
Vancouver Canucks Jim Benning Stan Smyl*
Jim Rutherford*
Benning was fired on December 6, 2021, after the Canucks started the season 8–15–2. Benning had served as general manager of the Canucks since 2014, overseeing two playoff appearances. Smyl, who had served as Senior Advisor to the general manager since 2008, was promoted to interim general manager. On December 9, Rutherford, most recently general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins, was hired as president of hockey operations, and assumed the role of interim general manager.[54]

(*) indicates interim.

Arena changes and regulations[edit]

COVID-19 restrictions[edit]

Unlike the previous season (where most games were either played behind closed doors or with a reduced spectator capacity), with the loosening of restrictions across Canada and the United States due to COVID-19 vaccination progress, the NHL anticipated that every team would be able to have capacity crowds (if not near-capacity) at the start of the 2021–22 season.[64][65] Some teams, including all Canadian teams, are requiring attendees to present proof of vaccination in order to enter.[66][67][68]

In December 2021, all Canadian NHL teams began to reintroduce capacity restrictions due to concerns over the local spread of the highly-infectious[69] Omicron variant.[70][71] By December 21, all Canadian NHL teams besides Montreal had been restricted to 50% capacity per provincial public health orders,[72][73] with Alberta and Ontario also restricting the consumption of food and drink in order to enforce face mask mandates.[74][70]

One initial exception was the Montreal Canadiens; after requesting that the Canadiens December 16 home game be played behind closed doors, the Quebec provincial government formally prohibited spectators at all professional sporting events effective December 20.[75][71]On December 27, the Manitoba government restricted all public gatherings to a maximum of 250 people, including sporting events;[76] the Jets therefore announced that all home games will be played behind closed doors through at least January 11, 2022.[77]

On December 28, the NHL announced that nine games in Canada (four in Montreal, two in Winnipeg, one each in Calgary, Ottawa and Toronto) would be postponed as a result of attendance restrictions in these cities.[78] Effective December 31, 2021, large venues in Ontario are also restricted to a maximum of 1,000 spectators; MLSE announced that all Maple Leafs home games will be played behind closed doors until further notice.[79] On December 31, eight more games in Canada were postponed, adding three games in Edmonton, two in Calgary, and one each in Ottawa, Vancouver and Winnipeg. The Canadiens' January 12 game against the Boston Bruins was moved to Boston, with the game in Montreal to be played at a later date.[80] On January 5, the NHL postponed three more games in Canada: one each in Montreal, Toronto and Edmonton.[81]

Regular season[edit]

The league returned to its normal October-to-April, 82-game regular season.[2] The entire schedule was released on July 22, with October 12 planned for opening night.[1][82]

Outdoor games[edit]

The league plans to hold the following outdoor games:

Postponed games[edit]

COVID-19-related[edit]

  • Three Ottawa Senators games (on the road at the New Jersey Devils on November 16, and at home against the Nashville Predators and New York Rangers on November 18 and 20) were postponed after 10 Ottawa players and an assistant coach were placed on the COVID-19 protocol list.[90] The road game at New Jersey was made up on December 6.[91]
  • Two New York Islanders games (both road games at the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers on November 28 and 30) were postponed after eight Islanders players were placed on the protocol list.[92] The road game at the Rangers was rescheduled on March 17,[93] and the road game at the Flyers was rescheduled on January 18.[94]
  • Six Calgary Flames games (two road games at the Chicago Blackhawks and Nashville Predators on December 13 and 14, and four home games against the Toronto Maple Leafs on December 16, the Columbus Blue Jackets on December 18, the Anaheim Ducks on December 21, and the Seattle Kraken on December 23) were postponed after 19 Flames players and 12 staffers, including head coach Darryl Sutter, were placed on the protocol list.[95]
  • A Carolina Hurricanes road game against the Minnesota Wild on December 14 was postponed after six Hurricanes players and one staff member were placed on the protocol list.[96]
  • Four Boston Bruins games (road games at the Montreal Canadiens on December 18 and Ottawa Senators on December 19, and home games against the Carolina Hurricanes on December 21 and Colorado Avalanche on December 23) were postponed after eight Bruins players were placed on the protocol list.[97] The Avalanche also postponed three games in addition to the December 23 game in Boston (home game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on December 18, and road games at the Detroit Red Wings and Buffalo Sabres on December 20 and 22) due to five Avalanche players entering protocol.[98] The Red Wings' road game at the Minnesota Wild on December 23 was also postponed due to nine Red Wings players and three coaches entering protocol.[99]
  • Three Florida Panthers games (two road games at the Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks on December 18 and 21, and a home game against the Nashville Predators on December 23), were postponed after seven Panthers players were placed on the protocol list.[98] The Predators also postponed two games in addition to the December 23 game at Florida (road game at the Carolina Hurricanes on December 19, and a home game against the Winnipeg Jets on December 21) due to eight Predators players entering the protocol list.[97]
  • Two Toronto Maple Leafs road games (at the Vancouver Canucks on December 18 and Seattle Kraken on December 19) were postponed after seven Maple Leafs players were placed on the protocol list. The Canucks' home game against the Arizona Coyotes on December 19 was also postponed due to five Canucks players entering protocol.[100] The Coyotes–Kraken game on December 21 was also postponed.[101]
  • On December 19, the NHL and NHLPA agreed to postpone all cross-border games through the regularly-scheduled Christmas break. This impacts 12 games through December 23.[102]
  • The Columbus Blue Jackets postponed both of its games against the Buffalo Sabres (road game on December 21, home game on December 23) due to COVID-19 concerns. The Pittsburgh Penguins' home game against the New Jersey Devils, and the Philadelphia Flyers' home game against the Washington Capitals on December 21 were also postponed for the same reason.[101][103]
  • On December 21, the NHL and NHLPA agreed to postpone all games and close all team facilities from December 22 through the regularly-scheduled Christmas break (ending December 26).[104][105] On December 24, it was announced that this suspension of play will continue through December 27, but that teams would be allowed to resume practices on December 26.[106] On December 26, the NHL announced that it would return to play on December 28. However, six games were later postponed due to COVID-19 concerns. These include two games involving the Chicago Blackhawks (home game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on December 28, and road game at the Winnipeg Jets on December 29), two games between the Dallas Stars and the Colorado Avalanche (at Colorado on December 29, at Dallas on December 31), and two games scheduled on December 29 (Pittsburgh Penguins at the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Boston Bruins at the Ottawa Senators). The league also announced that it would reinstate the temporary rule from the previous season allowing teams to have taxi squads, in an effort to reduce the impact of players entering the protocol list.[107][108][109]
  • 20 NHL games hosted by the seven Canadian teams were postponed due to attendance restrictions. As announced on December 28, these initially included four Montreal Canadiens home games (January 4 against the Washington Capitals, January 5 against the Toronto Maple Leafs, January 8 against the Buffalo Sabres, and January 10 against the Columbus Blue Jackets), three Winnipeg Jets games (on the road at the Calgary Flames on December 31, and home games against the Seattle Kraken and the Minnesota Wild on January 8 and 10), the Ottawa Senators' home game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on December 31, and the Toronto Maple Leafs' home game against the Carolina Hurricanes on January 3. The Boston Bruins–Montreal Canadiens game on January 12 was moved from Montreal's Bell Centre to Boston's TD Garden, with a game in Montreal to be played at a later date. In addition, the December 29 game between the Detroit Red Wings and the New York Islanders was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns.[78] On December 31, a further eight Canadian games were postponed, including three New York Islanders road games (against the Vancouver Canucks on January 5, the Edmonton Oilers on January 8, and the Calgary Flames on January 11), two Minnesota Wild road games (against Ottawa on January 3rd and Edmonton on January 12), two Vegas Golden Knights road games (against Edmonton on January 14 and Calgary on January 15), and Winnipeg's home game against Edmonton on January 16. On January 5, the New Jersey Devils' road games at the Montreal Canadiens (January 15) and the Toronto Maple Leafs (January 17), and the Chicago Blackhawks' road game at the Edmonton Oilers on January 18, were also postponed for the same reason.[81] Additionally, due to the postponement of their other road games, the Islanders' game at Seattle on January 4 was also postponed.[80]
  • The January 2 game between the Dallas Stars and the Arizona Coyotes was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns involving the Stars.[110]
  • The January 6 game between the Ottawa Senators and the Seattle Kraken was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns involving the Senators.[111] The Senators' road games at the Vancouver Canucks (January 8) and the Winnipeg Jets (January 15) were also postponed due to attendance restrictions in Canada.[112] On January 9, the NHL rescheduled the Senators' road game at the Edmonton Oilers from January 10 to January 15 due to COVID-19 concerns affecting the Oilers.[113]
  • To accommodate the rescheduled New York Islanders–Philadelphia Flyers game (see above), the Flyers' home game against the Detroit Red Wings, and the Islanders' home game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, were rescheduled from January 18 to a date to be determined. In addition, due to the aforementioned attendance restrictions in Canada, the Islanders' game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on January 22 was moved from Toronto's Scotiabank Arena to New York's UBS Arena, with the original game in Toronto rescheduled to April 17.[94]
  • The January 6 game between the Detroit Red Wings and the Anaheim Ducks was rescheduled to January 9 due to COVID-19 concerns involving the Ducks.[114]
  • The January 10 game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the New Jersey Devils was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns involving the Devils.[113]
  • The January 11 game between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Philadelphia Flyers was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns involving the Flyers.[115]
  • On January 19, the NHL published substantial updates to its regular season schedule, most notably rescheduling 95 prior COVID-19-affected games to the former Olympic break between February 7 and February 22. A number of other games scheduled in March and April were rescheduled to either February or later in the season to accommodate the rescheduled games.[116]

Olympics[edit]

The collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that the league and the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) signed on July 10, 2020, included a provision opening the possibility for the NHL to explore participation at the Beijing 2022 and Milan-Cortina 2026 Winter Olympics.[117] By the time the league released the regular schedule on July 22, discussions were still ongoing with the International Olympic Committee on sending players to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, particularly in regards to COVID-19 health protocols and insurance issues.[118][119] Two working schedules were thus created that were not released to the public, one with an Olympics break and one without.[3] The schedule released on July 22 included a break for the Games from February 7 to 22,[119][120] with the intention that the other schedule without the Olympics break would be used instead if the league and the IOC could not reach a deal, and some teams would have to reschedule as many as 16 home dates.[121]

On September 3, 2021, a deal was officially reached to send players to the Olympics, with an opt-out clause should COVID-19 health conditions worsen.[122] However, on December 22, the NHL and NHLPA announced that it would not be sending its players to the Olympics, nor schedule a break in the season, citing the ongoing COVID-19 issues within the league and the "profound disruption" to the schedule that came as a result. The NHL is seeking to use the Winter Olympics' window to reschedule postponed games.[123]

All-Star Game[edit]

The 2022 All-Star Game will take place for the first time at T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada, home of the Vegas Golden Knights, on the weekend of February 4–5.[120] During seasons when the league sends players to the Olympics (most recently in 2014), the All-Star Game is not normally held. On June 28, 2021, with still no deal signed with the IOC, the league announced that it had decided to schedule an All-Star Game anyway.[83][124][125] It was originally scheduled as the last event before the Olympic break, before the NHL opted out of participation (see above).[82][126][127]

Standings[edit]

Eastern Conference[edit]

Top 3 (Metropolitan Division)
Pos Team GP W L OTL RW GF GA GD Pts
1 New York Rangers 42 27 11 4 24 129 108 +21 58
2 Carolina Hurricanes 38 27 9 2 25 136 91 +45 56
3 Pittsburgh Penguins 40 25 10 5 21 136 106 +30 55
Updated to game(s) played on January 22, 2022. Source: National Hockey League[128]
Rules for classification: 1) Fewer number of games played (GP, only during regular season); 2) Greater number of regulation wins (RW); 3) Greater number of wins in regulation and overtime, excluding shootout wins (ROW); 4) Greater number of total wins, including shootouts (W); 5) Greater number of points earned in head-to-head play; if teams played an uneven number of head-to-head games, the result of the first game on the home ice of the team with the extra home game is discarded; 6) Greater goal differential (GD); 7) Greater number of goals scored (GF)
Top 3 (Atlantic Division)
Pos Team GP W L OTL RW GF GA GD Pts
1 Florida Panthers 41 28 8 5 21 167 117 +50 61
2 Tampa Bay Lightning 43 28 10 5 20 149 123 +26 61
3 Toronto Maple Leafs 38 25 10 3 21 129 100 +29 53
Updated to game(s) played on January 22, 2022. Source: National Hockey League[128]
Rules for classification: 1) Fewer number of games played (GP, only during regular season); 2) Greater number of regulation wins (RW); 3) Greater number of wins in regulation and overtime, excluding shootout wins (ROW); 4) Greater number of total wins, including shootouts (W); 5) Greater number of points earned in head-to-head play; if teams played an uneven number of head-to-head games, the result of the first game on the home ice of the team with the extra home game is discarded; 6) Greater goal differential (GD); 7) Greater number of goals scored (GF)
Eastern Conference Wild Card
Pos Div Team GP W L OTL RW GF GA GD Pts
1 ME Washington Capitals 42 23 10 9 19 139 117 +22 55
2 AT Boston Bruins 38 24 12 2 21 119 102 +17 50
3 AT Detroit Red Wings 42 18 18 6 11 113 139 −26 42
4 ME Columbus Blue Jackets 38 18 19 1 11 120 137 −17 37
5 ME New Jersey Devils 39 15 19 5 10 115 137 −22 35
6 ME New York Islanders 34 14 14 6 12 80 91 −11 34
7 ME Philadelphia Flyers 41 13 20 8 10 102 141 −39 34
8 AT Buffalo Sabres 41 13 21 7 10 111 142 −31 33
9 AT Ottawa Senators 34 11 20 3 9 96 124 −28 25
10 AT Montreal Canadiens 40 8 25 7 7 88 146 −58 23
Updated to game(s) played on January 22, 2022. Source: National Hockey League[129]
Rules for classification: 1) Fewer number of games played (GP, only during regular season); 2) Greater number of regulation wins (RW); 3) Greater number of wins in regulation and overtime, excluding shootout wins (ROW); 4) Greater number of total wins, including shootouts (W); 5) Greater number of points earned in head-to-head play; if teams played an uneven number of head-to-head games, the result of the first game on the home ice of the team with the extra home game is discarded; 6) Greater goal differential (GD); 7) Greater number of goals scored (GF)

Western Conference[edit]

Top 3 (Central Division)
Pos Team GP W L OTL RW GF GA GD Pts
1 Colorado Avalanche 39 28 8 3 22 165 118 +47 59
2 Nashville Predators 43 26 14 3 20 134 118 +16 55
3 St. Louis Blues 40 24 11 5 21 143 108 +35 53
Updated to game(s) played on January 22, 2022. Source: National Hockey League[128]
Rules for classification: 1) Fewer number of games played (GP, only during regular season); 2) Greater number of regulation wins (RW); 3) Greater number of wins in regulation and overtime, excluding shootout wins (ROW); 4) Greater number of total wins, including shootouts (W); 5) Greater number of points earned in head-to-head play; if teams played an uneven number of head-to-head games, the result of the first game on the home ice of the team with the extra home game is discarded; 6) Greater goal differential (GD); 7) Greater number of goals scored (GF)
Top 3 (Pacific Division)
Pos Team GP W L OTL RW GF GA GD Pts
1 Vegas Golden Knights 41 24 15 2 19 145 125 +20 50
2 Anaheim Ducks 43 20 16 7 13 125 123 +2 47
3 Los Angeles Kings 41 20 16 5 16 116 113 +3 45
Updated to game(s) played on January 22, 2022. Source: National Hockey League[128]
Rules for classification: 1) Fewer number of games played (GP, only during regular season); 2) Greater number of regulation wins (RW); 3) Greater number of wins in regulation and overtime, excluding shootout wins (ROW); 4) Greater number of total wins, including shootouts (W); 5) Greater number of points earned in head-to-head play; if teams played an uneven number of head-to-head games, the result of the first game on the home ice of the team with the extra home game is discarded; 6) Greater goal differential (GD); 7) Greater number of goals scored (GF)
Western Conference Wild Card
Pos Div Team GP W L OTL RW GF GA GD Pts
1 CE Minnesota Wild 37 24 10 3 16 141 113 +28 51
2 PA San Jose Sharks 42 21 19 2 14 115 131 −16 44
3 PA Calgary Flames 36 18 12 6 15 113 93 +20 42
4 CE Dallas Stars 38 20 16 2 13 112 119 −7 42
5 PA Edmonton Oilers 37 19 16 2 16 122 126 −4 40
6 CE Winnipeg Jets 37 17 14 6 14 109 111 −2 40
7 PA Vancouver Canucks 40 18 18 4 13 102 113 −11 40
8 CE Chicago Blackhawks 41 15 19 7 8 99 135 −36 37
9 PA Seattle Kraken 40 12 24 4 11 105 145 −40 28
10 CE Arizona Coyotes 40 10 26 4 7 89 152 −63 24
Updated to game(s) played on January 22, 2022. Source: National Hockey League[129]
Rules for classification: 1) Fewer number of games played (GP, only during regular season); 2) Greater number of regulation wins (RW); 3) Greater number of wins in regulation and overtime, excluding shootout wins (ROW); 4) Greater number of total wins, including shootouts (W); 5) Greater number of points earned in head-to-head play; if teams played an uneven number of head-to-head games, the result of the first game on the home ice of the team with the extra home game is discarded; 6) Greater goal differential (GD); 7) Greater number of goals scored (GF)

Statistics[edit]

Scoring leaders[edit]

The following players led the league in regular season points at the completion of games played on January 22, 2022.[130]

Player Team GP G A Pts +/– PIM
Alexander Ovechkin Washington Capitals 42 29 29 58 +18 6
Leon Draisaitl Edmonton Oilers 37 28 30 58 +5 22
Connor McDavid Edmonton Oilers 36 19 36 55 +3 27
Jonathan Huberdeau Florida Panthers 41 15 40 55 +19 26
Nazem Kadri Colorado Avalanche 36 15 36 51 +16 42
Steven Stamkos Tampa Bay Lightning 42 20 30 50 +11 12
Mikko Rantanen Colorado Avalanche 36 21 27 48 +22 32
Kirill Kaprizov Minnesota Wild 36 17 30 47 +19 16
Timo Meier San Jose Sharks 37 21 25 46 +15 4
Adam Fox New York Rangers 42 7 38 45 +14 14

Leading goaltenders[edit]

The following goaltenders led the league in regular season goals against average at the completion of games played on January 22, 2022, while playing at least 1,320 minutes.[131]

Player Team GP TOI W L OTL GA SO SV% GAA
Frederik Andersen Carolina Hurricanes 27 1,566:30 21 6 0 53 1 .928 2.03
Igor Shesterkin New York Rangers 25 1,445:55 19 4 2 50 3 .936 2.07
Tristan Jarry Pittsburgh Penguins 32 1,887:11 21 7 4 66 3 .928 2.10
Jack Campbell Toronto Maple Leafs 29 1,690:28 19 6 3 63 4 .927 2.24
Jacob Markstrom Calgary Flames 27 1,627:03 13 9 5 61 5 .924 2.25
Andrei Vasilevskiy Tampa Bay Lightning 33 1,995:45 23 7 3 75 2 .922 2.25
Ilya Sorokin New York Islanders 23 1,352:25 11 7 5 51 4 .928 2.26
Juuse Saros Nashville Predators 35 2,066:31 22 11 2 82 2 .925 2.38
Sergei Bobrovsky Florida Panthers 28 1,615:46 20 3 3 64 1 .925 2.38
John Gibson Anaheim Ducks 29 1,753:08 13 10 6 74 1 .920 2.53

Uniforms[edit]

League changes[edit]

  • The 2021–22 season will be the first for Adidas' new Primegreen jerseys across the league; the new line is intended to be more environmentally-friendly, being manufactured with a minimum of 50 percent of recycled materials. These jerseys will be used in-game and sold commercially.[132]

Wholesale team changes[edit]

  • The Arizona Coyotes changed their road uniform to the original Kachina design from 1996 to 2003, replacing the road uniform they wore from 2015.[133]
  • The Los Angeles Kings changed their alternate uniform to a modernized white version of the Wayne Gretzky-era uniforms they wore from 1988 to 1998. This set replaced the silver alternate uniforms they wore from 2016.[134]
  • The New Jersey Devils unveiled their first full-fledged alternate uniform,[Notes 9] featuring a black base with white stripes and red accents. The uniform was designed by Devils legend Martin Brodeur and was largely influenced by the history of ice hockey in New Jersey.[135]
  • The Pittsburgh Penguins changed their alternate uniform to a modernized version of the black "PITTSBURGH" diagonal uniforms worn from 1992 to 1997, similar to the previous season's white Reverse Retro uniforms. The uniform replaces the yellow alternate uniforms worn from 2018 onward.[136]
  • For its inaugural season, the Seattle Kraken are wearing home deep sea blue and road white uniforms with ice blue, boundless blue, shadow blue and red accents.[137]
  • The Winnipeg Jets changed their alternate uniform to the throwback design they wore in the 2019 Heritage Classic, replacing the aviator blue script uniform they wore from 2018.[138]

Milestones[edit]

First games[edit]

The following is a list of notable players who played their first NHL game during the 2021–22 season, listed with their first team.

Player Team Notability

Last games[edit]

The following is a list of players of note who played their last NHL game in 2021–22, listed with their team:

Player Team Notability

Major milestones reached[edit]

  • On October 13, 2021, Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin scored his 732nd goal, surpassing Marcel Dionne for fifth in all-time goals scored.[139]
  • On October 13, 2021, Washington Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette surpassed John Tortorella for the most NHL wins by an American-born head coach, with 674 total.[140]
  • On October 21, 2021, Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky recorded his 300th win, becoming the 38th goaltender to reach the mark.[citation needed]
  • On November 6, 2021, New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello became the third general manager to reach 1,500 NHL wins (regular season and playoffs).[141]
  • On November 15, 2021, New York Islanders defenceman Andy Greene played his 1,000th NHL game, becoming the 358th player to reach the mark.
  • On November 16, 2021, Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf recorded his 1,000th NHL point, becoming the 92nd player to reach the mark.
  • On November 26, 2021, Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy became the second-fastest goaltender to reach 200 wins, accomplishing the milestone in 318 games.[142]
  • On November 27, 2021, Edmonton Oilers defenseman Kris Russell blocked his 1,999th shot, becoming the all-time leader in blocked shots since the statistic began to be tracked; later in the same night, Russell became the first player to block 2,000 shots.[143]
  • On November 30, 2021, Dallas Stars head coach Rick Bowness became the first coach in NHL history to reach 2,500 games coached (as head coach or assistant).[144]
  • On November 30, 2021, Dallas Stars goaltender Braden Holtby recorded his 293rd win in his 500th game, surpassing Jacques Plante for the most goaltender wins through their first 500 games.[145]
  • On December 5, 2021, Winnipeg Jets forward Blake Wheeler played his 1,000th NHL game, becoming the 359th player to reach the mark.[146]
  • On December 6, 2021, Arizona Coyotes forward Loui Eriksson played his 1,000th NHL game, becoming the 360th player to reach the mark.[147]
  • On December 7, 2021, Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury played his 900th NHL game, becoming the eighth goaltender to reach the mark.[148]
  • On December 9, 2021, Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury recorded his 500th win, becoming the third goaltender to reach the mark.[149]
  • On December 31, 2021, Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin scored his 275th power play goal, becoming the all-time leader in power play goals, and surpassing the record previously held by Dave Andreychuk.[150]
  • On January 6, 2022, Columbus Blue Jackets forward Jakub Voracek played his 1,000th NHL game, becoming the 361st player to reach the mark.[151]
  • On January 17, 2022, San Jose Sharks forward Timo Meier scored 5 goals in one game, becoming the 47th player in NHL history to do so.[152]

Broadcast rights[edit]

Canadian media[edit]

National[edit]

This is the eighth season of the league's 12-year Canadian national broadcast rights deal with Sportsnet. This includes Sportnet's sub-licensing agreements to air Saturday Hockey Night in Canada games on CBC Television and French-language broadcasts on TVA Sports, and games streamed on Sportsnet Now, CBCSports.ca (for games televised by CBC), or the subscription service NHL Live.[153] This season NHL Live will be available at no extra cost to subscribers of Sportsnet Now+.[154] After a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Hometown Hockey games have returned to Sportsnet's schedule, moving to Monday nights.[155]

Personnel[edit]

On September 21, 2021, Hockey Night in Canada/Sportsnet lead play-by-play announcer Jim Hughson announced his retirement from broadcasting.[156]

U.S. media[edit]

National[edit]

The 2021–22 season is the first of the NHL's new national media rights agreements in the United States,[157][158] following the expiration of the league's contract with NBC Sports after the previous season. In negotiating its media rights, the NHL aimed to surpass the US$2 billion total that NBC paid over the life of their 2011–21 contract.[159] The league explored splitting its media rights between multiple broadcasters,[160] and over-the-top services (such as DAZN, ESPN+, and Peacock).[161]

On March 10, 2021, the NHL announced that ESPN would serve as one of the new rightsholders under a seven-year contract, with games airing on ESPN, ESPN+, and ABC. The contract marks ABC and ESPN's return to NHL broadcasting for the first time since the 2003–04 season. On April 27, 2021, the NHL announced that Turner Sports would serve as the second rightsholder, with options to air games on TBS and/or TNT, and over-the-top rights to all of its telecasts for HBO Max. The structure of the two new contracts heavily resemble ESPN and TNT's current broadcast rights to the NBA,[157][158] although with the caveat of ABC and TNT also having exclusive, alternating rights to the Stanley Cup Finals (unlike the NBA contract, where the NBA Finals are exclusive to ABC).[162][163]

ESPN's contract allows up to 25 exclusive games per season on ABC or ESPN, 75 exclusive games streamed on ESPN+ (also simulcast on Hulu), exclusive rights to the opening night games, the All-Star Game, and other "special events". NHL.tv, the NHL's digital out-of-market package, will be discontinued in the United States, with all out-of-market games moving to ESPN+,[164] at no extra cost to subscribers. Most of ESPN+'s 75-game slate in 2021–22 will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with a select amount of games on Fridays. ESPN's 2021–22 schedule includes four Tuesday night games in October, six Thursday night games in January, February and March, and eight Tuesday or Thursday night games in April. ABC's 2021–22 schedule includes the Thanksgiving Showdown on November 26, the All-Star Game, and eight Saturday afternoon and one Saturday primetime "Game of the Week" contests during the later months of the regular season.[165]

TNT's contract includes exclusive rights to up to 72 exclusive games per-season, and the Winter Classic. The network also may stream its games on HBO Max, and Bleacher Report will have extended highlights.[163] For the 2021-22 season, TNT will air 50 games, primarily on Wednesday nights (with 15 doubleheaders), seven weeks of games on Sundays in March and April 2022, and all three outdoor games.[166] Due to TNT's prior commitments to air AEW Dynamite, the network only aired a single, west coast game on Wednesday nights from October 27 through December 29, after which Dynamite moved to TBS beginning January 5.[166][167]

NHL Network will continue to nationally televise selected regular season games not broadcast by either ESPN or TNT.[168] NHL Network and TNT games will not be available to stream live on ESPN+, but will be available on-demand 24 hours after they end.[169]

Coverage of the first three rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs will be split between ESPN and Turner, with each televising half of the first two rounds of playoff games and one conference final per season. ESPN/ABC will have first choice of which Conference Finals series to air. Coverage of the Stanley Cup Finals will alternate annually, with ABC airing it during even-numbered years (marking the first time that it will be broadcast entirely on American network television; under past contracts, two games aired on cable) and TNT televising it during odd-numbered years (marking the first time since 1994 that national coverage will be exclusively on cable television).[163]

The NHL renewed its national radio agreement with Sports USA, which had taken over NHL Radio the previous season on a one-year deal, for an additional four seasons, taking the company's rights through the 2025 Stanley Cup Finals.[170]

Local[edit]

Personnel[edit]

On May 26, 2021, it was announced that TNT's lead broadcast team will be current Rangers radio voice Kenny Albert and current Blackhawks analyst Eddie Olczyk — a pairing carried over from NBC, and that Turner Sports had signed Oilers and hockey legend Wayne Gretzky to be their lead studio analyst.[175][176][177][178][179][180]

TNT announced the rest of their personnel on September 14, naming current Islanders and former NBC play-by-play man Brendan Burke,[181] and current Blues analyst Darren Pang as their second broadcast team. Current Flyers lead analyst Keith Jones, also from NBC, will serve as the lead "Inside-the-Glass" reporter, joining Albert and Olczyk on the lead team.[182] Liam McHugh, was named as TNT's lead studio host, continuing that role from NBC, with his colleague Anson Carter, most recent Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet, and veteran Paul Bissonnette joining Gretzky as studio analysts. Hockey Night's Jennifer Botterill, and NHL Network's Jackie Redmond, and Tarik El-Bashir will also appear as contributors.[183] On September 29, 2021, TNT announced that they added former NHL referee Don Koharski as a rules analyst.[184] TNT later added former Blackhawk Jamal Mayers to their broadcast team as a contributor, Rangers legend Henrik Lundqvist, who also joined MSG, as a studio analyst, former referee Stephane Auger to their team, as another rules analyst, joining Koharski, and Nabil Karim, formerly of ESPN, as a fill-in studio host and reporter.

ESPN announced their personnel on June 29, 2021, naming their No. 2 college football play-by-play voice Sean McDonough as lead play-by-play commentator, while Monday Night Football's Steve Levy leads studio coverage and will call select games as well. SportsCenter's John Buccigross, former Flames studio host Leah Hextall, who will also work as a reporter for select games, and ESPN's No. 4 college football play-by-play man Bob Wischusen were tapped as their other play-by-play announcers. Joining Levy in studio as analysts will be ESPN legend Barry Melrose, six-time Cup Champion Mark Messier, and three-time Cup Champion Chris Chelios. ESPN's analysts include former NBC analysts Brian Boucher, Ryan Callahan, and A. J. Mleczko, Sportsnet/Hockey Night's Cassie Campbell-Pascall, TSN's Ray Ferraro, who makes his return to ESPN, 2018 Gold medalist Hilary Knight, ESPN Radio New York's Rick DiPietro, and NHL Network's Kevin Weekes.[185] Also on that list includes SportsCenter LA anchor Linda Cohn, who continues to host “In the Crease”, ESPN+'s nightly show, and work as an extra studio host and reporter. ESPN insiders Emily Kaplan and Greg Wyshynski will be joined by 2016 Isobel Cup champion Blake Bolden as reporters, along with Cohn and Hextall. On August 4, 2021, ESPN announced that they added former head coach John Tortorella as a studio analyst.[186] On October 2, former referee Dave Jackson joined the coverage as rules analyst.[187] ESPN later added SportsCenter anchor and social host Arda Ocal as an extra studio host. Early into the season, ESPN later added former NBC analyst Dominic Moore, who hosted the NHL Expansion Draft in the off-season with Chris Fowler and Weekes.

Buffalo play-by-play announcer Rick Jeanneret, after initially stating he expected to retire after his 50th season in 2021,[188][189] announced he would return for one final season in 2021–22.[190] Jeanneret was assigned to call 20 home games (all on the TV/radio simulcast) during his final season, with Dan Dunleavy working the remaining 62 games (52 on the TV/radio simulcast).[191]

Chicago TV play-by-play announcer Pat Foley announced he would retire at the end of this season. Foley, who has served as the Blackhawks' voice for 39 seasons, will call an undisclosed amount of games this season.[192] In games where Foley was off TV, either John Wiedeman, Stephen Nelson, Chris Vosters or Mike Monaco would fill in. In addition, Colby Cohen replaced Steve Konroyd as the substitute TV analyst for Eddie Olczyk. In games where Wiedeman calls TV games, Alan Fuehring, Jason Ross Jr. and Joey Zakrewski would take over on the radio side.[193]

Seattle's inaugural local commentators will include play-by-play announcers John Forslund (TV) and Everett Fitzhugh (radio), and analysts J. T. Brown (TV) and Dave Tomlinson (radio).[173][194][195]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Sponsor retained from previous season. Not to be confused with Canadian parent company Toronto-Dominion Bank which sponsors the Vancouver Canucks' helmets
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Sponsor retained from previous season.
  3. ^ Sponsor retained from previous season. For the first 13 games of the season, the Avalanche's helmets featured the team logo.
  4. ^ The away helmets featured the "Nashville – Music City" logo representing the NCVC.
  5. ^ Sponsor retained from previous season. Initially, Prudential allowed advertisements from Black-owned businesses to appear on the Devils' helmets for 13 games. On December 8, Prudential and the Devils announced that Razu, a New Jersey-based networking and digital platform for musicians, would become the team's road helmet sponsor for the rest of the season.
  6. ^ The home blue helmet will feature the Amazon "smile" logo, while the road white helmet will feature Amazon's Climate Pledge initiative.
  7. ^ Sponsor retained on road helmets, replaces previous sponsor DEX Imaging on home helmets.
  8. ^ Not to be confused with American subsidiary TD Bank which sponsors the Boston Bruins' helmets and holds naming rights to TD Garden.
  9. ^ The Devils have worn their classic red and green uniforms since 2010, but not as full-time alternate uniforms.

References[edit]

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