Jesse Puljujarvi is the player you want to trade for

It seems quite likely that Jesse Puljujarvi has played his last game as a member of the Edmonton Oilers.

There are a number of factors at play here including Edmonton’s salary cap crunch, his status as a restricted free agent, as well as the fact there seems to be an equal amount of mutual frustration from both sides.

When there is this much smoke, there is usually a reason for it.

Assuming the Oilers do move him in the coming days, weeks, or months, it has the potential to be a regrettable move for them and a nice win for the team that acquires him on the cheap. Just how cheap? According to Sportsnet’s Mark Spector this past week, the market for Puljujarvi seems to range somewhere between a second-or third-round pick, which is a price that almost any team in the league should be willing to gamble on.

They should be willing to do that even if the price is higher.

For starters, the odds of a second-or third-round pick (or even a mid-late first-round pick) turning into a player as good as Puljujarvi currently is are low.

[Related: NHL Power Rankings: Top offseason trade candidates]

There is also the very real possibility that Puljujarvi has much more to give a team than the Oilers have been able to get out of the No. 4 overall pick from the 2017 draft.

The biggest knock against Puljujarvi at this point is that he simply does not score enough given his draft spot, talent, and the fact he has gotten a lot of ice time with the likes of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

He is coming off of a 14-goal, 22-assist, 36-point season in 65 game for the Oilers this past season, which is actually a slight per-game increase in his scoring from the prior year. His scoring over the past two seasons projects out to around 20 goals and 40 points over an 82 game season. Not great, but definitely useful.

There is also the fact that after an outstanding start to the 2021-22 season through 28 games (10 goals, 13 assist, 23 total points) he missed time due to COVID and then was injured in February, so he was rarely at 100 percent in the second half of the season.

All of this is especially useful when you also factor in that he offers more than just his own personal point production.

He is a play driver and a very good two-way player that, statistically speaking, improves the overall play of his team. When he is on the ice, good things happen for the Oilers even if he is not the one actually putting the puck in the net. Edmonton’s two superstars, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, both see their production increase when Puljujarvi is on their line. That is not to suggest that Puljujarvi is the one driving the success of the line or those two players (because that would insane). But it does help illustrate what skills he does possess that can help make his team better when he is on the ice.

[Related: 2022 NHL Free Agency Tracker]

So while his overall production right now might look disappointing for a No. 4 overall pick, his play-driving ability and still untapped scoring potential make him well worth the (presumably) low cost it would require to trade for him.

But there was also a lesson in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs that teams should be paying attention to when it comes to Puljujarvi.

That lesson was Valeri Nichushkin.

Nichushkin became a force for the Avalanche this postseason, completing a pretty steady rise after signing with the Avalanche a couple of years ago. His play has reached the point where he is going to be one of the most sought after unrestricted free agents on the open market and almost certainly cash in with a huge contract.

[Related: Valeri Nichushkin making star turn during 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs]

But his career did not start off that way, and there are a ton of parallels to Puljujarvi.

Like Puljujari, Nichushskin was a top pick in his draft class (No. 10 overall), and consistently posted strong play-driving and possession numbers without the individual goal scoring or point production to back them up. He even went an entire season without scoring a goal (or recording a penalty minute) over 57 games. In four seasons with Dallas he scored just 23 goals, 51 assists, and 74 total points over 223 regular season games. But his underlying and possession numbers kept pointing to a player that was more useful than the goals and points might suggest and just needed the right role.

Despite that, Dallas ended up buying him out of the final year of his contract, he became an unrestricted free agent, and the Avalanche snapped him up for a bargain price in free agency. Over the following three years he received Selke consideration each year, developed into a strong middle-six scorer that was a key part of one of the league’s best teams, and this season with increased ice time and the biggest offensive role of his career finally blossomed offensively.

The way we analyze hockey is completely devoid of logic sometimes.

When we have an all-offense superstar that is never part of a winning team (usually for reasons beyond their control) they get chided for not doing enough little things right to make their team better. The discussion is usually centered around a narrative that says something like “maybe they need to have their Steve Yzerman moment and sacrifice some offense to be better defensively and improve the little things!” 

[Related: Oilers facing an offseason puzzle]

That, of courses, is nonsense. Yzerman’s offense dropped because he got older and his team started to win because the Red Wings surrounded him with Hall of Famers.

But when we have a player like Puljuarvi (or Nichushskin before him) that was a top pick and does do the little things, and is good defensively, and does make the hidden plays that lead to success, they get chided for not scoring enough. Not ever good player is going to score 35 goals. Not every top pick is going to be an immediate star.

Sometimes it can all be completely illogical.

Puljuarvi is already a very good player. He might not score enough goals to make you feel warm and fuzzy about a No. 4 overall pick, and he might frustrate you when he does not capitalize on every chance, but he makes his team better and helps create more chances and goals for his team. And that is really all that should matter. Some smart team will realize that.

If the Oilers were smart they would realize what they have before they give it away.

There might be bigger names and more impactful players on the move this offseason (Alex DeBrincat and J.T. Miller come to mind), but in terms of asset cost, salary cap cost, and potential reward there might not be a better bargain that can be had in a trade than Puljujarvi.

In fact, any team considering signing Nichushkin in free agency should probably give Ken Holland a call and make an offer first. They might just end up getting a younger and cheaper version.

Avalanche offseason questions: Injuries, free agents, salary cap future

During the 2022 Stanley Cup Final, the Lightning drew a lot of attention for the injuries they fought through. The Avalanche weren’t exactly skipping trips to the trainers’ room, either, though.

That wear-and-sometimes-literal-tear can be used to glorify taking health risks that are maybe ill-advised.

Beyond that discussion, the Avalanche face a more practical question. How might lingering injuries affect offseason plans as the Avalanche already need to weigh big questions regarding free agents, possible franchise-altering contract extensions, and the salary cap in general?

After witnessing their dominant run to a Stanley Cup win, a thought lingered: the Avalanche have the pieces in place to win more. Even so, you need a lot of skill, luck, and foresight to go from having the potential to do something, to actually pulling it off.

Avalanche faced painful playoff injuries on way to Stanley Cup win

Altitude’s Vic Lombardi tweeted out a daunting Avalanche playoff injury list, covering Darcy Kuemper‘s process recovering from an eye injury, plus issues for Valeri Nichushkin, Andre Burakovsky, Nazem Kadri, Samuel Girard, and Darren Helm:

Kuemper celebrated his journey from that scary injury to Stanley Cup win:

This photo of Valeri Nichuskin’s possibly broken foot is especially gnarly.

These situations also bleed (figuratively, hopefully) into the free agent/salary questions for the Avalanche this offseason.

Darcy Kuemper, or a different goalie?

Before the playoffs, pending unrestricted free agent goalie Darcy Kuemper already loomed as an interesting Avalanche free-agent question.

At 32, Darcy Kuemper isn’t exactly a baby. We’ve also already seen an example of the Avalanche balking on risky term with a goalie.

After all, Philipp Grubauer left town after ending up being a 2021 Vezina Trophy finalist. As shocking as that was, it’s the Kraken who likely carry regrets from that exchange.

So, the Avalanche were already likely aware of the inherent risks of signing Darcy Kuemper instead of allowing him to become a free agent. Now stack on his eye injury as an other risk factor. What if Kuemper struggles to read plays and track the puck going forward?

(While Kuemper’s at a higher level than where Carter Hutton was, I can’t help but think of Hutton’s eye/tracking issues.)

[Avalanche pulled off a rare feat by overcoming bumpy playoff netminding]

Considering Kuemper’s challenges, it’s all the more surprising that the Avalanche didn’t turn to Pavel Francouz more often. The Avs re-upped Francouz, 32, for two years at a $2M cap hit back in March.

Do the Avs view Francouz as a pure backup, or a 1B goalie in a “platoon?”

To an extent, the Avalanche showed that you can win a Stanley Cup even with iffy playoff goaltending. It’s not necessarily a magic trick you want to attempt year after year, though.

Avalanche must balance salary cap with threat of free agent departures of Kadri, Burakovsky, Nichushkin

According to Cap Friendly, the Avalanche enter an important offseason with an impressive $25.685 million in salary cap space. That’s unusual wiggle room for a team coming off such a dominant run.

Of course, the goalie situation alone tells you how quickly that money can start to evaporate. Cap Friendly’s salary structure projection only covers 14 Avalanche roster spots.

Josh Manson, Andrew Cogliano, Darren Helm, and Nico Sturm rank among veteran free agents. Artturi Lehkonen‘s the most interesting pending RFA.

But, if you’re looking at the toughest non-Darcy-Kuemper conundrums regarding Avalanche free agents, the trio of Nazem Kadri, Andre Burakovsky, and Valeri Nichushkin all present riddles.

Evolving Hockey’s contract projections spit out some possibilities for those four prominent Avalanche free agents:

  • Kadri, 31: seven years, $8.469M (average term: about five years (4.9), average cap hit: $7.74M).
  • Burakovsky, 27: seven years, $6.903M (average term: 5.3 years, average AAV: $6.415M).
  • Nichushkin, 27: seven years, $6.357M (average term: 5.6 years, average AAV: $6.05M).
  • Kuemper, 32: six years, $3.15M (average term: 4.4 years, average AAV: $5.998M).

Frankly, Kadri might be in line for an even bigger raise than that.

That said, the Avalanche at least have a chance to bring back some of those free agents thanks to that relatively robust salary cap space. But should they?

Can they find “the next” Valeri Nichushkin, or is the ferocious forechecker too precious?

These decisions will really test this team and its pro scouts. Just look at this xGAR chart from the past three seasons to see how much Burakovsky, Kadri, and Nichushkin meant to the Avalanche (via Evolving Hockey):

Avalanche offseason questions: Injuries, free agents, salary cap future Evo
via Evolving Hockey

So, the Avalanche face the immediate questions of keeping or losing those free agents.

It goes deeper, too. They also must weigh keeping players like Nichushkin vs. the risk of losing others down the line.

Avalanche salary cap management: contract extensions for MacKinnon, Byram?

For years, the Avalanche have clearly set aside salary cap space to keep core players in place. As Elliotte Friedman mentioned in a recent “32 Thoughts Podcast,”  that may have meant offering less term to star free agents such as Artemi Panarin.

From Cale Makar to Gabriel Landeskog, there are players with big term. There’s also medium term to core pieces such as Mikko Rantanen and Devon Toews.

As early as this offseason, the Avalanche could settle one of their biggest questions: how much will Nathan MacKinnon‘s next contract cost? If they’re wise (and if the interest is there), they’d be wise to sign Bowen Byram to a contract extension, too.

Really, MacKinnon (26, in the last year with a bargain $6.3M cap hit) can essentially name his own price. Whatever the number is, at least Colorado would gain some cost certainty.

Buy low on Byram

Signing MacKinnon to a contract extension won’t be cheap, but it’s basically a no-brainer. To some, it might be less obvious to extend 21-year-old defenseman Bowen Byram.

But forward-thinking teams tend to sign (or at least try to sign) players before their value skyrockets. With Byram, you almost expect Houston to count down his lift off.

Quietly, Bowen Byram managed promising regular-season stats (17 points in 30 games, or 46-47 over a full season) despite dealing with frightening concussion issues. Yet, it was his playoff breakthrough that turned many heads.

Through eight games, Byram averaged a modest 15:49 TOI. Yet, the Avalanche unleashed Byram once Samuel Girard was injured. For the next 12 playoff games, Byram averaged 21:43, only trailing Cale Makar and Devon Toews as Avalanche ice time leaders. Rather than shrinking in the big time, Byram only become more prominent. He logged 28:25 TOI in Game 4 and 25:48 in a tight Stanley Cup-clinching Game 6. Remarkably, Byram topped all Avalanche players period with 24:52 TOI at even-strength in Game 6.

He wasn’t just killing time, either. Byram’s underlying stats jumped off the page.

Imagine if Bowen Byram hit the net instead of the crossbar or post on some key chances. Even with bad puck luck (zero goals) Byram generated nine useful assists in 20 playoff games.

In 2022-23, Byram could really put up the sort of numbers that gain him more mainstream attention. A smart team like the Avalanche will be proactive.

… At least, if they can. It’s up to Byram and/or his reps to actually want a contract extension instead of betting on himself.

Just look at the breakthrough for Valeri Nichushkin, and you’d think the Avalanche would kick themselves if they don’t at least ask Byram about a contract extension. If the Avs pulled that off, then look out.

Overall, a slew of questions for Avs, but they’re not in a bind

As you can see, there’s a long to-do list for the Avalanche offseason. Naturally, there’s room for swerves. Maybe the Avalanche could convince a key free agent or two to take less term. Priorities can shift — extensions for MacKinnon and/or Byram fall closer to “best practices” than absolutely mandatory.

Overall, there are a lot of tough decisions. That being said, the Avalanche are in an unusually flexible position to read and react.

It’s not all that different from the Avalanche’s brilliant breakout. Sure, there are risks — ones that other teams would flinch away from. Yet, the Avs might just find all the right angles to make their opponents sweat.

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 schedule, TV info

The 2022 Stanley Cup Final featured the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning, with the Avalanche winning the series in six games.

In the Eastern Conference Final, the Lightning dispatched the New York Rangers in six games as they will now vie for their third consecutive title. The Avalanche swept the Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference Final and are playing in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2001.

In the Cup Final, the Avalanche won the first two games before the Lightning made it a series by taking Game 3. The teams traded wins in Games 4 and 5, setting the stage for Colorado to win its third championship in franchise history and first since the 2000-01 NHL season.

2022 NHL playoff schedule: Stanley Cup Final

COLORADO AVALANCHE v. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (COL wins series 4-2)

Game 1 – Avalanche 4, Lightning 3 (OT)
Game 2 – Avalanche 7, Lightning 0
Game 3 – Lightning 6, Avalanche 2
Game 4 – Avalanche 3, Lightning 2 (OT)
Game 5 – Lightning 3, Avalanche 2
Game 6 – Avalanche 2, Lightning 1

2022 NHL playoff schedule: Eastern Conference Final

NEW YORK RANGERS v. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (TB wins series 4-2)

Game 1 – Rangers 6, Lightning 2
Game 2 – Rangers 3, Lightning 2
Game 3 – Lightning 3, Rangers 2
Game 4 – Lightning 4, Rangers 1
Game 5 – Lightning 3, Rangers 1
Game 6 – Lightning 2, Rangers 1

2022 NHL playoff schedule: Western Conference Final

EDMONTON OILERS v. COLORADO AVALANCHE (COL wins series 4-0)
Game 1 – Avalanche 8, Oilers 6
Game 2 – Avalanche 4, Oilers 0
Game 3 – Avalanche 4, Oilers 2
Game 4 – Avalanche 6, Oilers 5 (OT)

2022 NHL playoff schedule: Second Round – Eastern Conference

NEW YORK RANGERS v. CAROLINA HURRICANES (NYR wins series 4-3)
Game 1 – Hurricanes 2, Rangers 1 (OT)
Game 2 – Hurricanes 2, Rangers 0
Game 3 – Rangers 3, Hurricanes 1
Game 4 – Rangers 4, Hurricanes 1
Game 5 – Hurricanes 3, Rangers 1
Game 6 – Rangers 5, Hurricanes 2
Game 7 – Rangers 6, Hurricanes 2

FLORIDA PANTHERS v. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (TB wins series 4-0)

Game 1 – Lightning 4, Panthers 1
Game 2 – Lightning 2, Panthers 1
Game 3 – Lightning 5, Panthers 1
Game 4 – Lightning 2, Panthers 0

2022 NHL playoff schedule: Second Round – Western Conference

COLORADO AVALANCHE v. ST. LOUIS BLUES (COL wins series 4-2)
Game 1 – Avalanche 3, Blues 2 (OT)
Game 2 – Blues 4, Avalanche 1
Game 3 – Avalanche 5, Blues 2
Game 4 – Avalanche 6, Blues 3
Game 5 – Blues 5, Avalanche 4 (OT)
Game 6 – Avalanche 3, Blues 2

CALGARY FLAMES v. EDMONTON OILERS (EDM wins series 4-1)
Game 1 –
Flames 9, Oilers 6
Game 2 – Oilers 5, Flames 3
Game 3 – Oilers 4, Flames 1
Game 4 – Oilers 5, Flames 3
Game 5 – Oilers 5, Flames 4 (OT)

First Round – Eastern Conference

FLORIDA PANTHERS v. WASHINGTON CAPITALS (FLA wins series 4-2)
Game 1: Capitals 4, Panthers 2
Game 2: Panthers 5, Capitals 1
Game 3: Capitals 6, Panthers 1
Game 4: Panthers 3, Capitals 2 (OT)
Game 5: Panthers 5, Capitals 3
Game 6: Panthers 4, Capitals 3 (OT)

CAROLINA HURRICANES v. BOSTON BRUINS (CAR wins series 4-3)
Game 1: Hurricanes 5, Bruins 1
Game 2: Hurricanes 5, Bruins 2
Game 3: Bruins 4, Hurricanes 2
Game 4: Bruins 5, Hurricanes 2
Game 5: Hurricanes 5, Bruins 1
Game 6: Bruins 5, Hurricanes 2
Game 7: Hurricanes 3, Bruins 2

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS v. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (TBL wins series 4-3)
Game 1: Maple Leafs 5, Lightning 0
Game 2: Lightning 5, Maple Leafs 3
Game 3: Maple Leafs 5, Lightning 2
Game 4: Lightning 7, Maple Leafs 3
Game 5: Maple Leafs 4, Lightning 3
Game 6: Lightning 4, Maple Leafs 3 (OT)
Game 7: Lightning 2, Maple Leafs 1

NEW YORK RANGERS v. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (NYR wins series 4-3)
Game 1: Penguins 4, Rangers 3 (3OT)
Game 2: Rangers 5, Penguins 2
Game 3: Penguins 7, Rangers 4
Game 4: Penguins 7, Rangers 2
Game 5: Rangers 5, Penguins 3
Game 6: Rangers 5, Penguins 3
Game 7: Rangers 4, Penguins 3 (OT)

First Round – Western Conference

COLORADO AVALANCHE v. NASHVILLE PREDATORS (COL wins series 4-0)
Game 1: Avalanche 7, Predators 2
Game 2: Avalanche 2, Predators 1 (OT)
Game 3: Avalanche 7, Predators 3
Game 4: Avalanche 5, Predators 3

CALGARY FLAMES v. DALLAS STARS (CGY wins series 4-3)
Game 1: Flames 1, Stars 0
Game 2: Stars 2, Flames 0
Game 3: Stars 4, Flames 2
Game 4: Flames 4, Stars 1
Game 5: Flames 3, Stars 1
Game 6: Stars 4, Flames 2
Game 7: Flames 3, Stars 2 (OT)

EDMONTON OILERS vs. LOS ANGELES KINGS (EDM win series 4-3)
Game 1: Kings 4, Oilers 3
Game 2: Oilers 6, Kings 0
Game 3: Oilers 8, Kings 2
Game 4: Kings 4, Oilers 0
Game 5: Kings 5, Oilers 4 (OT)
Game 6: Oilers 4, Kings 2
Game 7: Oilers 2, Kings 0

MINNESOTA WILD v. ST. LOUIS BLUES (STL wins series 4-2)
Game 1: Blues 4, Wild 0
Game 2: Wild 6, Blues 2
Game 3: Wild 5, Blues 1
Game 4: Blues 5, Wild 2
Game 5: Blues 5, Wild 2
Game 6: Blues 5, Wild 1

Lightning’s playoff injuries: Point’s quad tear, a ‘mangled finger,’ more

In learning about Brayden Point‘s injuries and other gnarly issues Lightning players fought through to try to three-peat as Stanley Cup champions, two questions come to mind.

Are players going too far in playing injured — not just hurt — during the Playoffs? And how hurt will the Tampa Bay Lightning be as they enter the 2022-23 regular season?

Point, Kucherov, other Lightning players fought through nasty playoff injuries

The Athletic’s Joe Smith listed off the Lightning’s array of injuries, including what ailed Brayden Point and limited Nikita Kucherov:

Ryan McDonagh‘s “mangled finger” is one of those phrases that can dance around the brain for years.

The thought of hockey culture maybe instilling some pressure to fight through injuries too regularly comes to mind when Brayden Point … compared his tears.

After gaping in awe at the strangeness of grading different muscle tears, consider that Brayden Point was on-point. While he courageously suited up for Game 1 and 2 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final, his mobility was severely limited. Point’s high hockey IQ was intact, but the Lightning had their hands full (and needed to keep their legs moving) against the speedy Avalanche.

Following the end of the Lightning’s push for a Stanley Cup in Game 6, Jon Cooper offered early perspective on their injuries. He opined that, if it was a regular season game, “half of their AHL team” would have been called up.

As you can see from the list above, Point (quad tear), Kucherov (knee), Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (knee), Anthony Cirelli (shoulder/collarbone), Corey Perry (shoulder), Brandon Hagel (foot) and Ryan McDonagh (finger) all were especially noted. It sounds like Cirelli suffered multiple shoulder injuries, and will need surgery.

Considering all of the shot-blocking, there may be other Lightning players with lingering playoff injuries. Erik Cernak seemed increasingly doubtful as the 2022 Stanley Cup Final went along. Steven Stamkos started to really pile up shot blocks.

As far as the Avalanche go, we might get playoff/Stanley Cup Final injury updates later this week. In the meantime, speculate about what gnarly thing happened to Valeri Nichushkin‘s foot.

(Sorry.)

Free agent losses could threaten absences, not just injuries; Annual Lightning salary cap questions

Combine injuries with flat-out fatigue, and you wonder if the Lightning may begin the 2022-23 season on a slow start.

The Lightning also could be without some key players, depending upon free agent decisions.

  • Ondrej Palat, 31, continued to pile up “clutch” goals. Can the Lightning continue their run of “How did they keep that free agent?” signings with Palat? Evolving Hockey’s contract projections spit out a possible three-year contract with a $5.56M cap hit. Would Palat take even less to stay with the Lightning? Would another team offer quite a bit more (in years and/or term) to get a first-line Lightning asset?
  •  While the Lightning traded for someone under team control in Brandon Hagel, they also landed a great trade in Nicholas Paul. After playing for some bad Senators teams, Paul clearly valued this Lightning run. That said, this run also likely put Paul on plenty of extra radars. He said the right things about coming back, but who knows?

[Palat and other players who drove up their value during the playoffs]

To their credit, the Lightning don’t just look at the short-term when making salary cap decisions. That’s key, as the Lightning could extend three enormously important players as soon as this offseason: Anthony Cirelli (24, $4.8M cap hit), Mikhail Sergachev (24, $4.8M), and Erik Cernak (25, $2.95M).

Each one of those players is worth a lot more than those cap figures. With the Lightning eternally scraping the salary cap ceiling, it’s tough to imagine them keeping Cirelli, Sergachev, and Cernak without losing one or more of Palat and Paul.

It all shapes up to be a real challenge for the Lightning to climb that playoff mountain once again. They very well might be taking those first steps quite gingerly.

Nichushkin, Palat, Lehkonen among players whose stock rose this postseason

There are few things that seem to have a bigger impact on an NHL player’s contract negotiation than a strong playoff showing.

It shows that players can perform in the clutch on the brightest stage, and when things get to be their toughest. It may not be the only factor in a contract, but it’s not meaningless, either. It gets noticed, and it often gets rewarded. It is also not just something that is important to unrestricted free agents. Restricted free agents can benefit as well.

So let’s take a look around the NHL at eight pending free agents (unrestricted and restricted) that helped their contract cases with big postseason showings.

Valeri Nichushkin (Colorado Avalanche, unrestricted free agent)

There is probably no player that did more for their contract case this postseason than Nichushkin. Ever since joining the Avalanche a couple of years ago he has been a strong, under-the-radar forward that can play great defense, drive possession, and chip in some nice complementary offense.

This year his game (and value) reached an entirely new level during the regular season and then had a rocket ship attached to it in the playoffs.

He was one of the Avalanche’s best players in all phases of the game, causing havoc on the forecheck, playing Selke caliber defense, and also adding an even stronger offensive/production aspect to his game than we have ever seen from him. He should be one of the most sought after free agents on the open market and get a massive contract. And he might be worth it.

It is a drastic change from three years ago when the Dallas Stars actually bought him out.

[Related: Even with free agency questions Avalanche are built to last]

Ondrej Palat (Tampa Bay Lightning, unrestricted free agent)

Palat has been a key piece of the Lightning’s rise to the top of the NHL over the past eight seasons. He has never been a star, never been the most productive player on the team, and never the most impactful. But he has still been a vital cog and the type of complementary player that every championship caliber team needs.

He is going to be 31 years old this offseason and when his new contract begins, and that can be a danger zone for free agent contracts, but he showed this season and postseason that he can still be a top player on a contending team.

He averaged nearly a point per game in the playoffs (11 goals, 10 assists, 21 total points in 23 games) and scored some of Tampa Bay’s biggest goals on their way to the Stanley Cup Final.

The Lightning have a bit of a salary cap crunch and may not be able to retain him given what he could get on the open market. And this will be his last chance to get a significant contract on the open market. He should take it.

Artturi Lehkonen (Colorado Avalanche, restricted free agent)

Reminder: Do not trade with the Colorado Avalanche. Or at least do so at your own risk.

The addition of Lehkonen was one of the best trades of the season and played a big role in helping the Avalanche become an unstoppable monster in the playoffs.

He is still a restricted free agent this offseason, so Colorado still controls his free agency rights, but he earned himself a pretty significant contract. If offer sheets were more widely used a smart team would try to snag him and take advantage of Colorado’s need to re-sign several other key players.

The most likely scenario: Colorado re-signs him and he becomes their new version Nichushkin after he moves on to a new team in free agency.

Jake Oettinger (Dallas Stars, restricted free agent)

The Stars opened the season with four NHL caliber goalies on their roster, and it was Oettinger who ended up being the last one standing by the team the playoffs rolled around.

And what a show he put on once he got there.

Oettinger was one of the top players in the First Round and nearly dragged the Stars past the Calgary Flames by himself.

He is still only 23 years old, was a first round pick by the team, and even though his NHL resume consists of just 84 games (regular season and playoffs) he is off to a great start in his career. He is not going to consistently play the way he did in the playoffs this year, but he has started to show the Stars he can be their franchise goalie moving forward.

[Related: NHL Power Rankings: Top performances from 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs]

Andrew Copp (New York Rangers, unrestricted free agent)

Over the past two regular seasons Copp has scored at a 25-goal, 60-point pace over 82 games while playing really strong defense. He is a heckuva two-way player and was a huge addition for the New York Rangers at the trade deadline. He followed that up with an outstanding playoff run that saw him add six goals and eight assists in 20 games on their run to the Eastern Conference Final. Re-signing him might be a challenge for the Rangers given their salary cap situation and the fact they have a few other contracts to worry about, while also needing to improve.

[Related: Rangers took big step forward but more work needed]

Evander Kane (Edmonton Oilers, unrestricted free agent)

There are more reasons to avoid signing Evander Kane than there are to sign him. But as the Oilers showed this season it only takes one team with an interest to make it happen, and Kane’s play in the playoffs (13 goals in 16 games) is going to be more than enough to get somebody (maybe Edmonton again) to look past everything else.

Nazem Kadri (Colorado Avalanche, unrestricted agent)

Kadri proved to be a perfect fit in Colorado over the past three years and followed up a career-best regular season performance with a big-time showing in the playoffs to help the Avalanche win the Stanley Cup.

The big issue with Kadri in recent years was the fact he always seemed to take himself out of playoff series’ with a suspension. That obviously did not happen this postseason, and he was outstanding with seven goals, eight assists, and 15 total points in 16 games. That includes a hat trick in the Second Round series against St. Louis and two-game winning goals, including an overtime game-winning goal in the Stanley Cup Final.

His all-around two-way play and top-line offense, combined with his playoff performance, will make him a top free agent on the market.

Frank Vatrano (New York Rangers, unrestricted free agent)

This trade is still baffling to think about months later.

The Florida Panthers traded Vatrano to New York to create enough salary cap space to add players like Ben Chiarot, Robert Hagg, and Claude Giroux to their roster for their playoff run. While the Giroux addition was fine, the other two never made any sense at the time or after the fact.

And it cost them a really good goal scorer in Vatrano, a player they really could have used in the playoffs when their goal-scoring dried up.

The Rangers, meanwhile, got a really strong depth piece that scored some big goals and provided them with their own much-needed depth boost.

He is not a perfect player, but he averages about a 25-goal pace over 82 games and just had a strong playoff run for an Eastern Conference Finalist. There is a a lot of value there.

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 schedule, TV info

The 2022 Stanley Cup Final featured the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning, with the Avalanche winning the series in six games.

In the Eastern Conference Final, the Lightning dispatched the New York Rangers in six games as they will now vie for their third consecutive title. The Avalanche swept the Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference Final and are playing in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2001.

In the Cup Final, the Avalanche won the first two games before the Lightning made it a series by taking Game 3. The teams traded wins in Games 4 and 5, setting the stage for Colorado to win its third championship in franchise history and first since the 2000-01 NHL season.

2022 NHL playoff schedule: Stanley Cup Final

COLORADO AVALANCHE v. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (COL wins series 4-2)

Game 1 – Avalanche 4, Lightning 3 (OT)
Game 2 – Avalanche 7, Lightning 0
Game 3 – Lightning 6, Avalanche 2
Game 4 – Avalanche 3, Lightning 2 (OT)
Game 5 – Lightning 3, Avalanche 2
Game 6 – Avalanche 2, Lightning 1

2022 NHL playoff schedule: Eastern Conference Final

NEW YORK RANGERS v. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (TB wins series 4-2)

Game 1 – Rangers 6, Lightning 2
Game 2 – Rangers 3, Lightning 2
Game 3 – Lightning 3, Rangers 2
Game 4 – Lightning 4, Rangers 1
Game 5 – Lightning 3, Rangers 1
Game 6 – Lightning 2, Rangers 1

2022 NHL playoff schedule: Western Conference Final

EDMONTON OILERS v. COLORADO AVALANCHE (COL wins series 4-0)
Game 1 – Avalanche 8, Oilers 6
Game 2 – Avalanche 4, Oilers 0
Game 3 – Avalanche 4, Oilers 2
Game 4 – Avalanche 6, Oilers 5 (OT)

2022 NHL playoff schedule: Second Round – Eastern Conference

NEW YORK RANGERS v. CAROLINA HURRICANES (NYR wins series 4-3)
Game 1 – Hurricanes 2, Rangers 1 (OT)
Game 2 – Hurricanes 2, Rangers 0
Game 3 – Rangers 3, Hurricanes 1
Game 4 – Rangers 4, Hurricanes 1
Game 5 – Hurricanes 3, Rangers 1
Game 6 – Rangers 5, Hurricanes 2
Game 7 – Rangers 6, Hurricanes 2

FLORIDA PANTHERS v. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (TB wins series 4-0)

Game 1 – Lightning 4, Panthers 1
Game 2 – Lightning 2, Panthers 1
Game 3 – Lightning 5, Panthers 1
Game 4 – Lightning 2, Panthers 0

2022 NHL playoff schedule: Second Round – Western Conference

COLORADO AVALANCHE v. ST. LOUIS BLUES (COL wins series 4-2)
Game 1 – Avalanche 3, Blues 2 (OT)
Game 2 – Blues 4, Avalanche 1
Game 3 – Avalanche 5, Blues 2
Game 4 – Avalanche 6, Blues 3
Game 5 – Blues 5, Avalanche 4 (OT)
Game 6 – Avalanche 3, Blues 2

CALGARY FLAMES v. EDMONTON OILERS (EDM wins series 4-1)
Game 1 –
Flames 9, Oilers 6
Game 2 – Oilers 5, Flames 3
Game 3 – Oilers 4, Flames 1
Game 4 – Oilers 5, Flames 3
Game 5 – Oilers 5, Flames 4 (OT)

First Round – Eastern Conference

FLORIDA PANTHERS v. WASHINGTON CAPITALS (FLA wins series 4-2)
Game 1: Capitals 4, Panthers 2
Game 2: Panthers 5, Capitals 1
Game 3: Capitals 6, Panthers 1
Game 4: Panthers 3, Capitals 2 (OT)
Game 5: Panthers 5, Capitals 3
Game 6: Panthers 4, Capitals 3 (OT)

CAROLINA HURRICANES v. BOSTON BRUINS (CAR wins series 4-3)
Game 1: Hurricanes 5, Bruins 1
Game 2: Hurricanes 5, Bruins 2
Game 3: Bruins 4, Hurricanes 2
Game 4: Bruins 5, Hurricanes 2
Game 5: Hurricanes 5, Bruins 1
Game 6: Bruins 5, Hurricanes 2
Game 7: Hurricanes 3, Bruins 2

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS v. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (TBL wins series 4-3)
Game 1: Maple Leafs 5, Lightning 0
Game 2: Lightning 5, Maple Leafs 3
Game 3: Maple Leafs 5, Lightning 2
Game 4: Lightning 7, Maple Leafs 3
Game 5: Maple Leafs 4, Lightning 3
Game 6: Lightning 4, Maple Leafs 3 (OT)
Game 7: Lightning 2, Maple Leafs 1

NEW YORK RANGERS v. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (NYR wins series 4-3)
Game 1: Penguins 4, Rangers 3 (3OT)
Game 2: Rangers 5, Penguins 2
Game 3: Penguins 7, Rangers 4
Game 4: Penguins 7, Rangers 2
Game 5: Rangers 5, Penguins 3
Game 6: Rangers 5, Penguins 3
Game 7: Rangers 4, Penguins 3 (OT)

First Round – Western Conference

COLORADO AVALANCHE v. NASHVILLE PREDATORS (COL wins series 4-0)
Game 1: Avalanche 7, Predators 2
Game 2: Avalanche 2, Predators 1 (OT)
Game 3: Avalanche 7, Predators 3
Game 4: Avalanche 5, Predators 3

CALGARY FLAMES v. DALLAS STARS (CGY wins series 4-3)
Game 1: Flames 1, Stars 0
Game 2: Stars 2, Flames 0
Game 3: Stars 4, Flames 2
Game 4: Flames 4, Stars 1
Game 5: Flames 3, Stars 1
Game 6: Stars 4, Flames 2
Game 7: Flames 3, Stars 2 (OT)

EDMONTON OILERS vs. LOS ANGELES KINGS (EDM win series 4-3)
Game 1: Kings 4, Oilers 3
Game 2: Oilers 6, Kings 0
Game 3: Oilers 8, Kings 2
Game 4: Kings 4, Oilers 0
Game 5: Kings 5, Oilers 4 (OT)
Game 6: Oilers 4, Kings 2
Game 7: Oilers 2, Kings 0

MINNESOTA WILD v. ST. LOUIS BLUES (STL wins series 4-2)
Game 1: Blues 4, Wild 0
Game 2: Wild 6, Blues 2
Game 3: Wild 5, Blues 1
Game 4: Blues 5, Wild 2
Game 5: Blues 5, Wild 2
Game 6: Blues 5, Wild 1

NHL Power Rankings: Top individual performances from 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs

The 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs came to an end on Sunday night with the Colorado Avalanche defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning, 2-1, in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. It capped off a dominant run by the Avalanche to give them their first Cup in two decades, and ending the Lightning’s bid for a third consecutive championship.

It also ended what was a sensational playoffs over the past two months.

The postseason was filled with drama, storylines, series comebacks, and great individual performances from a number of the NHL’s top players.

In this week’s NHL Power Rankings we take a look back at the 10 best individual performances from the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Which players made the cut?

To this week’s NHL Power Rankings!

1. Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche. What a dominant season from start to finish. Makar won the Norris Trophy as the top overall defenseman during the regular season, and then followed it up with one of the best playoff runs we have seen from a defenseman in the history of the league to win his first Conn Smythe Trophy. It is just the fourth time a defenseman has won the Norris and Conn Smythe in the same season, putting him on a list that includes only Bobby Orr (who did it twice) and Nicklas Lidstrom (who did it once). Pretty elite company.

He also finished the playoffs with 29 points in 20 games, giving him a 1.45 points per game average. As a defenseman.

Among defenders that played at least 15 games in a single postseason, that 1.45 average is the fourth best in league history, trailing only Paul Coffey (2.06 in 1984-85), Orr (1.60 in 1971-72), and Brian Leetch (1.48 in 1993-94).

Along the with the offense he also posted absolutely dominant possession and scoring chance numbers and was one of the best play-drivers in the league. When he and Devon Toews were on the ice together the Avalanche were unstoppable.

[Related: Makar wins Conn Smythe Trophy]

2. Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers. McDavid did everything he could to drag the Oilers as far as possible, and it resulted in a run to the Western Conference Final where they just simply ran into a buzzsaw of an Avalanche team. McDavid finished the playoffs with 33 total points, leading the league, despite the fact he only played in 16 games. That is a 2.06 per game average, one of the best in NHL history. Only twice over the past 25 years did a player have more than 33 points in an entire postseason: Nikita Kucherov had 34 in 2019-20 with the benefit of the play-in/round-robin round to add some games to his postseason, and Evgeni Malkin had 36 in 2009 while playing in 24 games.

McDavid, again, played in only 16 games.

Every time he was on the ice he was a one-man wrecking crew for opposing teams.

[Related: Avalanche win Stanley Cup, end Lightning repeat bid]

3. Igor Shesterkin, New York Rangers. The Rangers are a very good team with a lot of top-tier players and a strong young core. But given how they actually played as a team in the playoffs? They had no business being within two wins of the Cup Final.

Igor Shesterkin was the reason.

Despite the fact the Rangers were badly outshot, out chanced, and mostly out played in every round and every game, they still put together a run to the Eastern Conference Final and even had a 2-0 series lead before the Lightning stormed back for four consecutive wins. Shesterkin was a force all postseason. He finished with a .929 save percentage despite facing more expected goals against (74.9) than any other goalie in the playoffs and playing behind a team that had some of the worst possession and scoring chance numbers we have ever seen from a conference finalist.

[Related: Rangers took big step forward but more work needed]

4. Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche. He may not have had the most goals or points, but if your team was playing the Avalanche the fear of god was put into you every time he stepped on the ice. Every game, every shift he looked like he was shot out of a cannon and was all over the ice. He still ended up scoring 13 goals with 24 total points in 20 games (awesome numbers) and also had 117 shots on goal. That is just an absurd number. It is also the most shots on goal any player has ever had in a single postseason since shots started officially being tracked, besting the 116 that Henrik Zetterberg had during the 2007-08 playoffs. Zetterberg reached his mark in 22 games. MacKinnon played only 20 games.

5. Jake Oettinger, Dallas Stars. We only saw Oettinger play seven games over one series, but they were a dominant seven games. He finished with a .954 save percentage and nearly dragged the Stars out of their First Round series with Calgary. The Flames just absolutely bombarded him the entire series, dramatically outplaying the Stars, only to have Oettinger build a wall around his net. Do not let the First Round loss take away from the way he played. He deserved better.

Jake Oettinger
Cooper Neill/Getty Images

6. Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers. He nearly matched McDavid point-for-point, and did so while playing most of the playoffs at less than 100 percent. He does get put a little bit lower because his best production came while on a line with McDavid. His play, and the Oilers’ play, dropped off when he was running his own line. Most likely due to a combination of health and linemates. Still an amazing run as he and McDavid carried the Oilers on their best playoff run in more than 15 years.

7. Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning. He is one of the best goalies (and especially big game) goalies in league history, and it was another dominant run for him. The Lightning were not as good overall as they were the past two years, and needed to rely on Vasilevskiy a bit more. Especially early in the playoffs. He was more than up to the challenge, going 4-1 when the Lightning were facing elimination and finishing the playoffs with a .922 save percentage in 23 games.

[Related: Even with free agency questions Avalanche are built to last]

8. Mika Zibanejad, New York Rangers. He had a slow start in the First Round, but then caught fire in Game 5 to help the Rangers overcome a 3-1 series deficit to start their run. He was money on the power play and had a 12-game stretch in the middle of the playoffs where he scored 10 goals and 20 points. That included a seven goals in eight-game stretch through the second and third rounds.

9. Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning were extremely top heavy this postseason and relied almost exclusively on their top line of Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, and Ondrej Palat to carry the offense. Kucherov was, again, their top offensive force and not only led the team in scoring (while being one of the top scorers in the league) scored and set up some of their biggest goalies.

10. Jake Guentzel, Pittsburgh Penguins. Like Oettinger in Dallas, we only saw him in one round, but what a round it was. Guentzel not only scored eight goals in the seven games, he finished the postseason 14th in goals, 25th in expected goals, and 35th in shots on goal despite playing in only one round. He is the only player to rank in the top-40 of each category to not play at least two full rounds. He was dominant.

11. Kirill Kaprizov, Minnesota Wild. The Wild did not get the result they wanted in the playoffs, but you can not blame Kaprizov for that. He scored seven goals in the Wild’s six games and was the most dominant player on the ice in that series. A true superstar. Minnesota’s first since Marian Gaborik.

David Berding/Getty Images

12. Carter Verhaeghe, Florida Panthers. The Panthers’ postseason may have been a massive disappoint, but he was not. He had 12 points in 10 games and was their best offensive player. He almost single handedly pulled the Panthers through the first round series against Washington.

13. Valeri Nichushkin, Colorado Avalanche. He not only had a great regular season and postseason, he made himself a ton of money this offseason in free agency.

14. Adam Fox, New York Rangers. He is going to lead the Rangers’ blue line for years to come and had a great postseason offensively, while also playing top minutes on defense.

15. Evander Kane, Edmonton Oilers. He finished as one of the top goal scorers in the playoffs. Somebody, whether it be Edmonton or another team, is going to look past all of the red flags and concerns and sign him because of that.

Despite Cup Final loss, Lightning confident in contending in 2022-23

The three-peat dreams were dashed but the Tampa Bay Lightning as an elite NHL team will continue on.

After losing the 2022 Stanley Cup Final to the Colorado Avalanche, the Lightning enter another offseason that will see a bit of change to their roster. But it won’t be change that impacts them to a level where they could drop a peg among the NHL’s  top teams and move out of Cup contender status. That’s not how that organization works, and it’s certainly not something the players are believing.

“Who said we’re done?” said Lightning captain Steven Stamkos afterward. “This core is here. We’ve battled. We’ve been through everything you can think of and, for the most part, we’ve found a way to come out on top.”

Since Jon Cooper replaced Guy Boucher in March 2013, the franchise has reached four Cup Finals, six conference finals/Stanley Cup Semifinals, and won two titles. You could say this was the first time in three seasons they were not the better team in a playoff series.

[MORE: Avalanche win Stanley Cup, end Lightning repeat bid in Game 6]

“It’s not like we lost to some powder puff,” Cooper said. “That’s a baller team over there. We never had home ice. We played all these star-studded teams. They found a way. We just ran into one more brick wall, and we just couldn’t get through this one.”

What should give Lightning fans hope is that the roster isn’t aging, and when it’s time to move on, the organization finds replacements in-house through their development system or via shrewd moves in free agency.

General manager Julien BriseBois heads into the summer with some more salary cap gymnastics to perform, per Cap Friendly, but that’s nothing foreign to him. Ondrej Palat and Nicholas Paul are among the unrestricted free agents on the roster. Meanwhile, BriseBois has to keep an eye on summer 2023 when Anthony Cirelli, Erik Cernak, Mikhail Sergachev, and Ross Colton are the key restricted free agents who will be looking for extensions, while Alex Killorn, Pierre-Édouard Bellemare, and Corey Perry might be saying goodbye after their contracts expire.

Those are decisions that will be handled and there won’t be any surprise if the Lightning enter the next season even stronger than they were in 2021-22. They may have failed at winning three Cups in a row, but three in four seasons? Sure, why not?

“The playoff streak, that ended, but it’s not the end of our run,” said Stamkos.

————

Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

MacKinnon shines in clinching win, helps Avs win Stanley Cup

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Andrew Cogliano shouted at Nathan MacKinnon in the midst of the Colorado Avalanche’s Stanley Cup celebration.

“87!” he bellowed.

It was a reference to the final two numbers of MacKinnon’s hotel room, which Colorado’s star forward thought was a great omen when he checked in ahead of Sunday night’s Game 6 in Tampa. Sidney Crosby, like MacKinnon a native of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, is known for being No. 87.

Now MacKinnon is a Stanley Cup champion, just like Crosby.

“We just felt like it was fate,” MacKinnon said. “We just knew we were going to win when I got that room number.”

Fate didn’t help MacKinnon sneak a perfect shot past 2021 playoff MVP Andrei Vasilevskiy for Colorado’s first goal or help him set up Artturi Lehkonen for the second. And fate didn’t make him slide his body in front of shots to keep them from getting to the net or take a big hit from Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos that knocked him to the ice.

No, it was skill and sheer determination for a player seeking a championship that had eluded him for several years amid playoff disappointments. He was at his best in the Cup-clinching 2-1 victory Sunday night. After a relatively quiet performance in the series until that point, MacKinnon picked the perfect time to be a difference-maker and drove the bus for the Avalanche.

General manager Joe Sakic, who drafted MacKinnon with the first pick in 2013, said this means everything to his first-line center.

“He’s one of the best players in the world, and he wanted this more than anyone, and you can tell,” Sakic said. “He’s open about it how much he wants to win, and I was really proud for him. He’s been tremendous right from when he started as a rookie. He’s gotten better and better every year. A dynamic player, and you saw it today. He checked as hard as when he had the puck.”

MacKinnon at times played like a man possessed during this run, leading the Avalanche with 13 goals, tied for the playoff lead.

“The maturity of his game over the last couple of seasons and in going through what we went through in the playoffs last year has kind of driven him to a different point this year,” coach Jared Bednar said. “He has a better understanding and a growing understanding of everything that’s happening around him and that other guys play an important role in our team’s success and it doesn’t have to always just come back on him.”

MacKinnon blazed and bulldozed through and dangled around plenty of opponents to win his first championship, adding a goal in the title-clinching win.

“Nate’s like a bull in a china shop,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper, whose team came two victories away from the NHL’s first three-peat since in the early 1980s. “He plays the power game. He’s kind of got that double-edged sword because he’s really fast and he’s really strong, so it’s hard to neutralize him when you really let him go.”

The Avalanche unleashed MacKinnon on Nashville, St. Louis and Edmonton before that — sweeping the Predators in the first round and the Oilers in the Western Conference final sandwiched around beating the rival Blues in six. And then came the Lightning, who were vanquished in a terrific series that saw four one-goal games (two won by Colorado in overtime) and a blowout win for each team.

At the end, Colorado had the Cup and MacKinnon this time didn’t have to answer questions about what went wrong or whether he’d need to change his approach to win in the playoffs.

Instead of doing that, MacKinnon ratcheted up his game. Even before he scored his first goal of the final, he danced around defenders with moves more reminiscent of video game hockey than real life.

Facing noted Tampa Bay shutdown center Anthony Cirelli in the final, MacKinnon was more than up to the challenge.

“He embraces some of those matchups,” Bednar said. “Nate, he’s not afraid or intimidated to go against anybody.”

As a result, MacKinnon now trails Crosby by two Stanley Cup titles, giving the 26-year-old even more to shoot for beyond this championship.

“It’s crazy,” MacKinnon said. “Can’t wait to hug my family. It’s hard to describe. I didn’t really know what it would be like to actually win it, just seeing all these warriors battle, it just feels unbelievable.”

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 schedule, TV info

The 2022 Stanley Cup Final featured the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning, with the Avalanche winning the series in six games.

In the Eastern Conference Final, the Lightning dispatched the New York Rangers in six games as they will now vie for their third consecutive title. The Avalanche swept the Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference Final and are playing in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2001.

In the Cup Final, the Avalanche won the first two games before the Lightning made it a series by taking Game 3. The teams traded wins in Games 4 and 5, setting the stage for Colorado to win its third championship in franchise history and first since the 2000-21 NHL season.

2022 NHL playoff schedule: Stanley Cup Final

COLORADO AVALANCHE v. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (COL wins series 4-2)

Game 1 – Avalanche 4, Lightning 3 (OT)
Game 2 – Avalanche 7, Lightning 0
Game 3 – Lightning 6, Avalanche 2
Game 4 – Avalanche 3, Lightning 2 (OT)
Game 5 – Lightning 3, Avalanche 2
Game 6 – Avalanche 2, Lightning 1

2022 NHL playoff schedule: Eastern Conference Final

NEW YORK RANGERS v. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (TB wins series 4-2)

Game 1 – Rangers 6, Lightning 2
Game 2 – Rangers 3, Lightning 2
Game 3 – Lightning 3, Rangers 2
Game 4 – Lightning 4, Rangers 1
Game 5 – Lightning 3, Rangers 1
Game 6 – Lightning 2, Rangers 1

2022 NHL playoff schedule: Western Conference Final

EDMONTON OILERS v. COLORADO AVALANCHE (COL wins series 4-0)
Game 1 – Avalanche 8, Oilers 6
Game 2 – Avalanche 4, Oilers 0
Game 3 – Avalanche 4, Oilers 2
Game 4 – Avalanche 6, Oilers 5 (OT)

2022 NHL playoff schedule: Second Round – Eastern Conference

NEW YORK RANGERS v. CAROLINA HURRICANES (NYR wins series 4-3)
Game 1 – Hurricanes 2, Rangers 1 (OT)
Game 2 – Hurricanes 2, Rangers 0
Game 3 – Rangers 3, Hurricanes 1
Game 4 – Rangers 4, Hurricanes 1
Game 5 – Hurricanes 3, Rangers 1
Game 6 – Rangers 5, Hurricanes 2
Game 7 – Rangers 6, Hurricanes 2

FLORIDA PANTHERS v. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (TB wins series 4-0)

Game 1 – Lightning 4, Panthers 1
Game 2 – Lightning 2, Panthers 1
Game 3 – Lightning 5, Panthers 1
Game 4 – Lightning 2, Panthers 0

2022 NHL playoff schedule: Second Round – Western Conference

COLORADO AVALANCHE v. ST. LOUIS BLUES (COL wins series 4-2)
Game 1 – Avalanche 3, Blues 2 (OT)
Game 2 – Blues 4, Avalanche 1
Game 3 – Avalanche 5, Blues 2
Game 4 – Avalanche 6, Blues 3
Game 5 – Blues 5, Avalanche 4 (OT)
Game 6 – Avalanche 3, Blues 2

CALGARY FLAMES v. EDMONTON OILERS (EDM wins series 4-1)
Game 1 –
Flames 9, Oilers 6
Game 2 – Oilers 5, Flames 3
Game 3 – Oilers 4, Flames 1
Game 4 – Oilers 5, Flames 3
Game 5 – Oilers 5, Flames 4 (OT)

First Round – Eastern Conference

FLORIDA PANTHERS v. WASHINGTON CAPITALS (FLA wins series 4-2)
Game 1: Capitals 4, Panthers 2
Game 2: Panthers 5, Capitals 1
Game 3: Capitals 6, Panthers 1
Game 4: Panthers 3, Capitals 2 (OT)
Game 5: Panthers 5, Capitals 3
Game 6: Panthers 4, Capitals 3 (OT)

CAROLINA HURRICANES v. BOSTON BRUINS (CAR wins series 4-3)
Game 1: Hurricanes 5, Bruins 1
Game 2: Hurricanes 5, Bruins 2
Game 3: Bruins 4, Hurricanes 2
Game 4: Bruins 5, Hurricanes 2
Game 5: Hurricanes 5, Bruins 1
Game 6: Bruins 5, Hurricanes 2
Game 7: Hurricanes 3, Bruins 2

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS v. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (TBL wins series 4-3)
Game 1: Maple Leafs 5, Lightning 0
Game 2: Lightning 5, Maple Leafs 3
Game 3: Maple Leafs 5, Lightning 2
Game 4: Lightning 7, Maple Leafs 3
Game 5: Maple Leafs 4, Lightning 3
Game 6: Lightning 4, Maple Leafs 3 (OT)
Game 7: Lightning 2, Maple Leafs 1

NEW YORK RANGERS v. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (NYR wins series 4-3)
Game 1: Penguins 4, Rangers 3 (3OT)
Game 2: Rangers 5, Penguins 2
Game 3: Penguins 7, Rangers 4
Game 4: Penguins 7, Rangers 2
Game 5: Rangers 5, Penguins 3
Game 6: Rangers 5, Penguins 3
Game 7: Rangers 4, Penguins 3 (OT)

First Round – Western Conference

COLORADO AVALANCHE v. NASHVILLE PREDATORS (COL wins series 4-0)
Game 1: Avalanche 7, Predators 2
Game 2: Avalanche 2, Predators 1 (OT)
Game 3: Avalanche 7, Predators 3
Game 4: Avalanche 5, Predators 3

CALGARY FLAMES v. DALLAS STARS (CGY wins series 4-3)
Game 1: Flames 1, Stars 0
Game 2: Stars 2, Flames 0
Game 3: Stars 4, Flames 2
Game 4: Flames 4, Stars 1
Game 5: Flames 3, Stars 1
Game 6: Stars 4, Flames 2
Game 7: Flames 3, Stars 2 (OT)

EDMONTON OILERS vs. LOS ANGELES KINGS (EDM win series 4-3)
Game 1: Kings 4, Oilers 3
Game 2: Oilers 6, Kings 0
Game 3: Oilers 8, Kings 2
Game 4: Kings 4, Oilers 0
Game 5: Kings 5, Oilers 4 (OT)
Game 6: Oilers 4, Kings 2
Game 7: Oilers 2, Kings 0

MINNESOTA WILD v. ST. LOUIS BLUES (STL wins series 4-2)
Game 1: Blues 4, Wild 0
Game 2: Wild 6, Blues 2
Game 3: Wild 5, Blues 1
Game 4: Blues 5, Wild 2
Game 5: Blues 5, Wild 2
Game 6: Blues 5, Wild 1