The 2022 NHL trade deadline has come and gone, with a flurry of deals helping to shape the rush for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
While we issue a new set of Power Rankings this week, we also distill the entire season to this point into one word for each of the 32 teams.
How we rank: A panel of ESPN hockey commentators, analysts, reporters and editors rates teams against one another -- taking into account game results, injuries and upcoming schedule -- and those results are tabulated to produce the list featured here.
Note: Previous ranking for each team refers to the last edition, published on March 16. Points paces are through Tuesday's games.
Previous ranking: 1
Points percentage: 0.754
Next seven days: vs. VAN (March 23), vs. PHI (March 25), @ MIN (March 27), @ CGY (March 29)
In a word: Electric. Nazem Kadri. Cale Makar. Nathan MacKinnon. The Avalanche are packed with top-end talent, skill and raw confidence that draws fans in -- and then out of their seats. Colorado is the league's live wire, always unpredictable and maybe a little scary (especially to opponents).
Previous ranking: 3
Points percentage: 0.726
Next seven days: @ MTL (March 24), @ OTT (March 26), @ TOR (March 27), vs. MTL (March 29)
In a word: Dominant. Florida is no flash in the pan. The Panthers have won 40-plus games; have the league's highest goal differential; average the most goals per game; and boast an enviable depth of offense (now including Claude Giroux), a solid backend (now including Ben Chiarot) and an elite netminder (in Sergei Bobrovsky). Florida is all things.
Previous ranking: 8
Points percentage: 0.664
Next seven days: vs. PIT (March 25), vs. BUF (March 27), @ PIT (March 29)
In a word: Balanced. New York embodies that "even-keeled" cliché every other team loves. They get exceptional goaltending from Igor Shesterkin, of course, but otherwise, New York is just solid all around. The Rangers can score goals and defend against them well. Special teams are consistent. New York is physical but not irresponsible. It's a good equilibrium.
Previous ranking: 4
Points percentage: 0.667
Next seven days: vs. ARI (March 25), vs. EDM (March 26), vs. COL (March 29)
In a word: Entertaining. The Flames are fun to watch. They play a high-flying brand of hockey that's still defensively responsible, and the team's chemistry as a group jumps off the ice. Regardless of the final score, Calgary is always worth the price of admission.
Previous ranking: 2
Points percentage: 0.714
Next seven days: vs. DAL (March 24), @ STL (March 26), @ WSH (March 28), @ TB (March 29)
In a word: Dependable. Now, dependable is not boring. Dependable is knowing what you are and leaning into it. Carolina is sound. Until recently, it hadn't gone consecutive games without earning a point since November. The Hurricanes are good, and they show up that way each night.
Previous ranking: 5
Points percentage: 0.677
Next seven days: @ BOS (March 24), @ DET (March 26), @ NYI (March 27), vs. CAR (March 29)
In a word: Audacious. This is somewhat inspired by general manager Julien BriseBois, who gave up two (2!) first-round picks to acquire Brandon Hagel from Chicago last week. But why not? That's how Tampa rolls. Where other teams might hesitate, the Lightning strike. Who says no to a three-peat?
Previous ranking: 6
Points percentage: 0.680
Next seven days: @ BUF (March 23), @ NYR (March 25), vs. DET (March 27), vs. NYR (March 29)
In a word: Seasoned. The Penguins can handle adversity. This season alone, Pittsburgh has had key injuries pile up, COVID-19 outbreaks and extremely streaky scoring. Yet, it remains a top-10 team and legitimate playoff contender. Not much can phase this group.
Previous ranking: 9
Points percentage: 0.659
Next seven days: vs. TB (March 24), vs. NYI (March 26), vs. TOR (March 29)
In a word: Resilient. The season started slowly for Boston. Brad Marchand has been suspended twice. Patrice Bergeron has been injured a few times. Tuukka Rask returned and then retired after just four games. A lesser team might have felt sorry for itself. The Bruins just kept climbing and are now knocking on the door of third place in the Atlantic. Impressive stuff.
Previous ranking: 7
Points percentage: 0.669
Next seven days: vs. NJ (March 23), @ MTL (March 26), vs. FLA (March 27), @ BOS (March 29)
In a word: Enigmatic. Ah, the Maple Leafs. Always something of a mystery. Does Toronto play down to its competition, or just prefer proving itself against top-tier teams? Time will tell. The Leafs have enough talent to be exceptional offensively every night, and Erik Kallgren's arrival in goal has offered a needed boost of confidence everywhere else. And adding Mark Giordano to the mix should help. But it's Toronto, all eyes will be on the Leafs.
10. Edmonton Oilers
Previous ranking: 16
Points percentage: 0.586
Next seven days: vs. SJ (March 24), @ CGY (March 26), vs. ARI (March 28)
In a word: Progressing. Man, there were some dark days for Edmonton this season. Mercifully, those feel further and further away. The Oilers' goaltending has been dialed in, the defense has been increasingly stingy, and their stars are starting to come out again. Racking up the wins lately doesn't hurt anyone's confidence, either.
11. Dallas Stars
Previous ranking: 14
Points percentage: 0.589
Next seven days: @ CAR (March 24), vs. VAN (March 26), @ ANA (March 29)
In a word: Exceeding. Whether it's the Stars looking like a playoff contender at times, or Jake Oettinger's emergence, or Jason Robertson's, or Roope Hintz's, or Joe Pavelski dominating up front ... Dallas is doing more than we thought. The team is finding its way, and the seasons to come look especially bright.
12. St. Louis Blues
Previous ranking: 12
Points percentage: 0.637
Next seven days: vs. PHI (March 24), vs. CAR (March 26), vs. VAN (March 28)
In a word: Consistent. The Blues have flown under the radar despite being one of the Central Division's best all year. St. Louis doesn't have a lot of drama (other than Ville Husso unseating Jordan Binnington in net, perhaps). The Blues go about their business, don't hit too many rough spots and address issues as needed. Easy peasy.
Previous ranking: 11
Points percentage: 0.609
Next seven days: @ VGK (March 24), vs. PHI (March 27), vs. OTT (March 29)
In a word: Adaptable. These Predators can pivot. When the goals are coming, Nashville rides the wave. If the offense slows, it can buckle down defensively. Juuse Saros going from lights out to more mediocre? Nashville stays the course. Arguably no team has overreached like the Predators, and that success is all about being flexible.
Previous ranking: 10
Points percentage: 0.615
Next seven days: @ BUF (March 25), vs. NJ (March 26), vs. CAR (March 28)
In a word: Puzzling. Washington is like your daily Wordle attempt: Sometimes, it looks easy; other times, the struggle is inexplicably real. Listen, the Capitals are a veteran group, and they've got a captain making history on the regular. The lulls Washington has gone through (especially in January and February) were strange -- but they always find the other side.
15. Minnesota Wild
Previous ranking: 15
Points percentage: 0.639
Next seven days: vs. VAN (March 24), vs. CBJ (March 26), vs. COL (March 27), vs. PHI (March 29)
In a word: Striving. It's tough to sugarcoat this past month for Minnesota. At one point, the Wild had lost eight of 10 and seemed disconnected as a group. But a rough patch doesn't have to be defining. Minnesota has kept working to find its way back toward the early-season version of itself that blew past the competition. Marc-Andre Fleury should be a major help in that department, too.
Previous ranking: 13
Points percentage: 0.600
Next seven days: vs. CHI (March 24), vs. SEA (March 26), vs. SEA (March 28)
In a word: Surprising. Few thought Los Angeles would be among the Western Conference's elite teams this season, but it is. And similarly, few expected Jonathan Quick could still be an elite-level goaltender as frequently as he has been. The rise of L.A.'s young stars has helped too, and the sky's the limit for everyone from here.
Previous ranking: 18
Points percentage: 0.545
Next seven days: vs. NSH (March 24), vs. CHI (March 26)
In a word: Cursed. The Golden Knights must lead the league in most games missed by key players. Mark Stone is on LTIR. Robin Lehner is hurt. Brayden McNabb and Alec Martinez are sidelined, along with Max Pacioretty and Reilly Smith. There's some Vegas luck happening for this team, and it ain't the good kind. But hey, at least Jack Eichel is OK!
18. Winnipeg Jets
Previous ranking: 19
Points percentage: 0.547
Next seven days: vs. OTT (March 24), vs. CBJ (March 25), vs. ARI (March 27)
In a word: Unfulfilling. Winnipeg had such promise going into this season. On paper, all the pieces were in place. Then, COVID-19 and injuries hit and the poor play that followed took too long to overcome. Winnipeg hasn't stopped battling, but there's already a sense of unfinished business for a group with more potential.
Previous ranking: 17
Points percentage: 0.531
Next seven days: @ COL (March 23), @ MIN (March 24), @ DAL (March 26), @ STL (March 28)
In a word: Compelling. Struggling stars. Firings. Hirings. Rumors. Realities. The Canucks have gone in more directions than most scripted dramas. And now ... playoffs? Maybe? It seemed impossible in the fall. Today it feels like the next great plot twist this team's fascinating season deserves.
20. Anaheim Ducks
Previous ranking: 20
Points percentage: 0.500
Next seven days: vs. CHI (March 23), @ SJ (March 26), vs. DAL (March 29)
In a word: Emerging. The Ducks have put the NHL on notice: This team is coming. Anaheim's not quite there yet, evidenced by its recent struggles in losing nine of 11. But all eyes are on what's next for the Ducks. Josh Manson and Hampus Lindholm are gone. Trevor Zegras, Troy Terry and Sonny Milano are stepping up. Shades on, kids, the future looks bright.
21. San Jose Sharks
Previous ranking: 22
Points percentage: 0.508
Next seven days: @ EDM (March 24), vs. ANA (March 26)
In a word: Processing. San Jose is the pinwheel on your computer screen trying to figure out what's next. The Sharks re-signed Tomas Hertl on a monster eight-year deal, and that's great. But, then what? Most nights it's clear there are gaps between San Jose and the league's upper-tier teams. It'll take more than Hertl to close them, and the Sharks just invested much of their limited money into his contract. So, how else will they help themselves get better? Stay tuned.
Previous ranking: 21
Points percentage: 0.516
Next seven days: vs. DET (March 24), @ BOS (March 26), vs. TB (March 27), @ CBJ (March 29)
In a word: Disappointing. This was supposed to be the Islanders' year. Literally every preseason prediction said so. But 13 away games to start the year went badly. COVID-19 hit the team hard, and no one could stay healthy. And so, New York fell short of everyone's (and likely their own) lofty expectations. But there's always next year!
Previous ranking: 23
Points percentage: 0.523
Next seven days: @ WPG (March 25), @ MIN (March 26), vs. NYI (March 29)
In a word: Turbulent. If you could just get rid of the middle of Columbus' season, it would be an entirely different story. Alas, going from a 12-6-0 start to a 6-15-1 run has some lasting effects on the standings. The Blue Jackets have picked things up since late January, and Patrik Laine is a superstar once more. But is it too little, too late? We'll find out.
24. Buffalo Sabres
Previous ranking: 24
Points percentage: 0.413
Next seven days: vs. PIT (March 23), vs. WSH (March 25), @ NYI (March 27), @ CHI (March 28)
In a word: Promising. Buffalo has leaned into this new, post-Jack Eichel chapter. Tage Thompson and Rasmus Dahlin are having breakout seasons, and Alex Tuch and Peyton Krebs look like terrific additions. What's more, the Sabres have been collecting solid wins in recent weeks, over Minnesota, Calgary, Toronto (twice) and Vegas. All good.
Previous ranking: 27
Points percentage: 0.468
Next seven days: @ NYI (March 24), vs. TB (March 26), @ PIT (March 27)
In a word: Verging. Detroit is oh so close. The Red Wings' current rookie class needs no introduction (if you don't know about Moritz Seider, well, what are you doing?), and improvements coming from throughout the organization had Detroit in the playoff picture for a minute there. Even when they're not winning, the Red Wings are competitive. There's a lot more to come.
Previous ranking: 26
Points percentage: 0.405
Next seven days: @ TOR (March 23), @ WSH (March 26), vs. MTL (March 27)
In a word: Stalling. When will New Jersey turn the corner? It's a good question that needs answering. The Devils aren't without talent (Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier, Dawson Mercer, etc.) but when will it come together? New Jersey hasn't won more than three games in a row all season, making it hard to truly find positive momentum.
Previous ranking: 28
Points percentage: 0.421
Next seven days: @ ANA (March 23), @ LA (March 24), @ VGK (March 26), vs. BUF (March 28)
In a word: Direction. The Brandon Hagel trade struck a nerve in Chicago. If a 23-year-old forward like that isn't part of the team's future, who will be? The Blackhawks' have had an incredible run of success in the past decade. Where exactly this franchise is going feels more uncertain than before, though. Who stays? Who goes? There are more questions than answers with a month remaining in the regular season.
28. Arizona Coyotes
Previous ranking: 25
Points percentage: 0.349
Next seven days: @ CGY (March 25), @ WPG (March 27), @ EDM (March 28)
In a word: Developing. Yes, that was the Coyotes beating Colorado and Toronto in the same week this month. It has been a successful March all around for Arizona, where signs of the organization's continued growth have been on full display.
Previous ranking: 32
Points percentage: 0.405
Next seven days: @ STL (March 24), @ COL (March 25), @ NSH (March 27), @ MIN (March 29)
In a word: Deteriorating. There is no comeback without a setback. These Flyers are still firmly in the latter portion of that equation. Claude Giroux made his exit, and there are undoubtedly more changes to come. That's the best news Philadelphia could hope for. Fresh faces, fresh ideas, fresh results. The Flyers need to turn the page, fast, on a season that slipped away far too soon.
30. Ottawa Senators
Previous ranking: 29
Points percentage: 0.389
Next seven days: @ WPG (March 24), vs. FLA (March 26), @ NSH (March 29)
In a word: Yearning. Some teams plan for a long rebuild. Others -- like the Senators -- fall into them by accident. Everyone in Ottawa is sick of being an afterthought. Fortunately, the Senators have built a strong foundation; now all they need is to stack success on top of it. There's always next year.
31. Seattle Kraken
Previous ranking: 30
Points percentage: 0.359
Next seven days: @ LA (March 26), @ LA (March 28)
In a word: Learning. These are not the 2018 Vegas Golden Knights. Being an expansion team is actually hard, and Seattle is figuring that out daily. GM Ron Francis and company deserve some patience as they map out a fresh identity for the NHL's newest club. The massive haul of draft picks accumulated in recent days should help!
Previous ranking: 31
Points percentage: 0.349
Next seven days: vs. FLA (March 24), vs. TOR (March 26), @ NJ (March 27), @ FLA (March 29)
In a word: Rebounding. It was out with the old (Marc Bergevin, Dominique Ducharme) and in with the new (Kent Hughes, Martin St. Louis) that put Montreal back on track. Cole Caufield is thriving. Nick Suzuki is motoring. Hughes made some terrific deadline moves that should pay off down the road. Injuries have been mounting, but that's neither here nor there. The Canadiens needed to end the season on a high note, and there's still time to do it.