At first of each NHL season, we publish NHL Rank, a undertaking the place ESPN’s hockey analysts vote to find out one of the best 100 gamers for the upcoming season.
Now that each crew has accomplished its 82-game marketing campaign they usually’ve been whittled right down to our 16-team Stanley Cup playoff bracket, it is time to redo the rankings, limiting the checklist to the highest 50 gamers on playoff groups.
This is the playoff version of ESPN NHL Rank, which seeks to establish the highest forwards, defensemen and goaltenders within the upcoming playoffs. Dozens of voters participated, selecting one winner in a sequence of head-to-head voting matchups created from the gamers on the 16 postseason qualifiers.
The next checklist options NHL award winners, earlier Stanley Cup champions and stars who’re in search of that first style of championship glory. As you will see, our voters made some attention-grabbing calls on the high concerning which gamers they imagine are one of the best of one of the best within the 2023 NHL postseason.
2022-23 stats: 64 G | 89 A | 153 PTS
Preseason rank: 1
How does the participant thought of to be essentially the most dominant on the earth additional cement his place inside the recreation? Easy: By main the NHL in objectives (64), assists (89) and factors (153). These career-high figures are why McDavid is the front-runner for his third Hart Trophy.
Final postseason, McDavid broke by way of for 10 objectives and led the league with 33 factors over a 16-game run that noticed the Oilers attain the Western Convention finals. If McDavid carries his profession regular-season exploits into this 12 months’s playoffs, we may see the Oilers go even additional. — Ryan S. Clark
2022-23 stats: 42 G | 69 A | 111 PTS
Preseason rank: 4
Every part MacKinnon achieved in final 12 months’s playoffs performed an element within the Avs’ successful their third championship in crew historical past. So usually lauded for his pure tempo, energy and scoring means, MacKinnon confirmed he could be an all-around risk to these not accustomed to his recreation.
Accidents had been an enormous issue for the Avs this season, with MacKinnon lacking 11 contests. Nevertheless it didn’t stop the 27-year-old from notching his first 100-point marketing campaign whereas additional reinforcing why the Avs may repeat as champions. — Clark
2022-23 stats: 43 G | 56 A | 99 PTS
Preseason rank: 45
There are a number of explanations for the way the Devils ended a four-year playoff drought. Having Hughes is one in every of them. The 21-year-old’s gradual enchancment exploded right into a 99-point marketing campaign that might have reached the century mark if not for his lacking 4 video games as a result of harm.
Hughes was a significant motive the Devils reached the playoffs and fell some extent shy of successful the Metropolitan Division. Now it’s a matter of seeing what Hughes will do subsequent in his first postseason look. — Clark
2022-23 stats: 52 G | 76 A | 128 PTS
Preseason rank: 6
As a result of having just one participant with a Hart Trophy and a number of 100-point seasons simply is not sufficient in at this time’s financial system. Draisaitl used this season to notch his third 50-goal marketing campaign whereas additionally reaching the century membership for the fourth time in his profession, ending with a personal-best 128 factors.
His means to create for himself and his teammates allowed Draisaitl to steer all gamers in assists whereas ending second in factors final postseason (32). It reaffirms the notion that these playoffs have an opportunity to be particular for the Oilers. — Clark
2022-23 stats: 40-6-1 | 1.89 GAA | .938 SV%
Preseason rank: NR
Seven. That is what number of mixed regulation and extra time losses Ullmark had in what was one of many strongest particular person campaigns within the NHL. Ullmark’s second season with the Bruins confirmed his significance to a crew that is attempting to parlay a historic common season into one that might finish with a Stanley Cup.
Ullmark went 0-2 with a 4.17 goals-against common and a .860 save share in final 12 months’s playoffs. But when Ullmark can carry his regular-season exploits into this postseason? It may end result within the Bruins’ seventh Stanley Cup in crew historical past. — Clark
2022-23 stats: 61 G | 52 A | 113 PTS
Preseason rank: 21
Pastrnak continued to strengthen his place within the dialogue as essentially the most harmful winger within the NHL. His 61 objectives are proof that he is an much more deadly scorer, whereas his 52 assists present he is an issue when he is creating for others.
All of it quantities to Pastrnak being a Hart Trophy hopeful who has been one of many largest causes the Bruins are a reliable Stanley Cup challenger. For his profession, he’s averaging greater than some extent per recreation over 70 playoff contests, numbers he may enhance this postseason. — Clark
7. Cale Makar, D, Colorado Avalanche
2022-23 stats: 17 G | 49 A | 66 PTS
Preseason rank: 2
He is the reigning Conn Smythe and Norris Trophy winner who does every part required of a recent top-four defenseman — he can facilitate play, log heavy minutes, orchestrate an influence play and be a trusted member of a penalty kill. Accidents performed an enormous half within the dip in Makar’s regular-season statistics.
However when he was wholesome, he led the league in common ice time and was compelled to tackle an expanded function to assist the Avs circumvent their perpetual harm woes. Seeing what Makar does for a follow-up act could possibly be the important thing within the Avs’ quest for a second consecutive Stanley Cup. — Clark
2022-23 stats: 9 G | 40 A | 49 PTS
Preseason rank: 8
It is arduous to argue any defenseman is extra very important to his crew’s success than Hedman. The Lightning have performed extra hockey than anybody the previous three seasons — three straight journeys to the Stanley Cup Closing will try this — and Hedman has been the identical stalwart presence main Tampa Bay from the again finish.
This season he has crushed main top-pairing minutes (23:43 per night time) once more, and added offensively (49 factors in 76 video games). At 32, Hedman continues adjusting his recreation to work smarter, not more durable, so he can preserve shutting down the following wave of snipers hoping to knock Tampa Bay off monitor. — Kristen Shilton
2022-23 stats: 40 G | 45 A | 85 PTS
Preseason rank: 3
Even a so-called down 12 months for Matthews remains to be superior. The Maple Leafs’ high heart did not method the 60-goal mark once more this season, however he did notch 40 for the fifth time in his seven NHL campaigns, whereas averaging 1.15 factors per recreation. Matthews has the power to raise these round him and is at his finest bringing a robust two-way recreation nightly for the Leafs.
The 25-year-old additionally possesses one of many league’s most deadly, unpredictable photographs, and when he is rolling, he stays a goalie’s worst nightmare and a matchup drawback in opposition to any opponent. — Shilton
2022-23 stats: 12 G | 60 A | 72 PTS
Preseason rank: 23
Fox gained the Norris Trophy in his second season within the NHL and has gotten even higher since then. The 25-year-old drives play at 5-on-5, quarterbacks the crew’s highly effective energy play and is efficient in his personal finish as nicely.
Fox had 72 factors in 82 video games for the Rangers; whereas these aren’t bonkers Erik Karlsson numbers, they could possibly be ok to get Fox again into the Norris high three. — Greg Wyshynski
2022-23 stats: 30 G | 83 A | 113 PTS
Preseason rank: 5
The NHL is rife with playmakers — however few can contact Kucherov in that class. The Lightning winger was second solely to McDavid in assists this season (83), racked up a cool 113 factors and saved Tampa Bay’s offense buzzing in a difficult season of ups and downs for the crew. Kucherov is the form of difference-maker who can take over a complete recreation, single-handedly throw an opponent astray or come by way of with that well timed play to safe a playoff end result.
He has accomplished all of it earlier than, and it is why Kucherov perennially stays a feared, fierce presence on the ice. — Shilton
2022-23 stats: 34-22-4 | 2.65 GAA | .915 SV%
Preseason rank: 10
It appears unimaginable Vasilevskiy is simply 28 years outdated. Tampa Bay’s starter has gained every part from Vezina Trophies to Stanley Cups to Conn Smythe honors. Since 2018-19, Vasilevskiy has paced the NHL in playoff wins (48) with a .925 SV% and a pair of.18 GAA and has carried the Lightning to loftier heights than the franchise may need ever imagined.
Vasilevskiy always reveals a capability to flip the swap even throughout troublesome stretches, and when victory is on the road — notably within the postseason — Tampa Bay’s No. 1 is thought to ship the knockout, shutout punch his crew requires to remain on high. — Shilton
2022-23 stats: 7 G | 45 A | 52 PTS
Preseason rank: 34
McAvoy brings all of it for the Bruins. Elite, top-pairing defensive pedigree with shutdown functionality? Examine. Capability to log vital minutes at 5-on-5, on the facility play and penalty kill? You guess. Contributions on the rating sheet? No query (52 factors in 67 video games this season).
If Boston has a jack-of-all-trades, it is McAvoy. At 25 years outdated, he already has proved to be a top-10 — if not top-5 — blueliner within the NHL, and even nice years just like the one teammate Hampus Lindholm is having on the Bruins’ again finish cannot overshadow how vital McAvoy is to Boston’s success. — Shilton
2022-23 stats: 36 G | 31 A | 67 PTS
Preseason rank: 22
There is a motive Aho is Carolina’s MVP season after season. The 25-year-old hardly ever appears to be rattled. His 36 objectives this season marked the fourth time he has handed the 30-goal plateau and his 26 even-strength scores had been a profession finest. Aho is constant (averaging practically 20 minutes of ice time per recreation), however he may wield sufficient flash to rank with any of the NHL’s different dynamic performers.
When the Hurricanes want somebody to return by way of, they will as a rule depend on Aho to create a game-changing second. — Shilton
2022-23 stats: 21 G | 46 A | 67 PTS
Preseason rank: 43
Everybody likes to hate Marchand, however any participant within the league would need the winger on his facet. Marchand could be each a get-under-your-skin pest and a first-class scoring risk, bowling a man over earlier than blowing previous a goaltender.
It is a distinctive line few gamers within the league can or would even attempt to stability on. Marchand has made a profession in that twin house, and it is a key to the 34-year-old’s longevity, as he is nonetheless amongst Boston’s finest performers (second in factors this season). — Shilton
2022-23 stats: 34 G | 50 A | 84 PTS
Preseason rank: 20
Stamkos hit a pair of profession milestones this season in recording his five hundredth aim and 1,000th level. His manufacturing declined from final season, however that is all relative whenever you’re Steven Stamkos: The 33-year-old captain had 84 factors in 81 video games because the Lightning push for a fourth straight journey to the Stanley Cup Closing. — Wyshynski
2022-23 stats: 55 G | 50 A | 105 PTS
Preseason rank: 24
The Avalanche noticed their lineup ravaged by accidents after successful the Stanley Cup final postseason, with gamers like Makar lacking time and captain Gabriel Landeskog out for the season.
Solely 4 Colorado gamers appeared in all 82 video games, and Rantanen clearly had the best affect. The winger set a brand new profession excessive for objectives (55) and factors (105), breaking the century mark for the primary time. He scored 42 of these objectives at even energy, buoyed by a rise in shot quantity (306 on the season). The Avs gained the Central once more, and Rantanen was a main motive. — Wyshynski
18. Brayden Level, C, Tampa Bay Lightning
2022-23 stats: 51 G | 44 A | 95 PTS
Preseason rank: 26
Level is a soft-spoken participant, so it is solely acceptable that his career-best offensive season seemingly flew below everybody’s radar. The 27-year-old heart had 51 objectives and 95 factors, enjoying all 82 video games for the Lighting. His days as a burgeoning Selke candidate have handed, however Level reestablished himself as an offensive power this season. — Wyshynski
2022-23 stats: 31 G | 49 A | 80 PTS
Preseason rank: NR
Hischier’s rise has been a gradual burn. Earlier than this season, the Devils’ captain was a stable two-way skater and dependable playmaker. This season, Hischier turned up the warmth.
In his sixth NHL marketing campaign, New Jersey’s high pivot began taking pictures extra and producing offense from high quality areas to be a bona fide risk on each side of the puck. Hischier is spectacular on the cycle, too, including dimension for a Devils crew that loves scoring off the push. The more durable Hischier stays to match up in opposition to, the higher for New Jersey. He is exhibiting that functionality increasingly. — Shilton
2022-23 stats: 37-13-8 | 2.48 GAA | .916 SV%
Preseason rank: 11
Shesterkin adopted his Vezina Trophy win with one other sturdy season for the Rangers. The 27-year-old netminder posted a .916 save share and a 2.48 goals-against common to backstop the Rangers again to the postseason after main them to the Jap Convention finals. He was fifth within the NHL in objectives saved above common. One of many few goalies within the playoffs who may win a sequence on his personal. — Wyshynski
Who’s the Bruins’ largest risk to hoisting the Stanley Cup?
P.Okay. Subban factors to the Oilers because the Bruins’ largest Stanley Cup risk and speaks to the greatness of Connor McDavid.
2022-23 stats: 46 G | 63 A | 109 PTS
Preseason rank: 30
2022-23 stats: 10 G | 43 A | 53 PTS
Preseason rank: 76
2022-23 stats: 40 G | 35 A | 75 PTS
Preseason rank: 7
2022-23 stats: 11 G | 62 A | 73 PTS
Preseason rank: 28
2022-23 stats: 40 G | 69 A | 109 PTS
Preseason rank: 19
2022-23 stats: 37-25-2 | 2.49 GAA | .920 SV%
Preseason rank: 46
27. Mitch Marner, RW, Toronto Maple Leafs
2022-23 stats: 30 G | 69 A | 99 PTS
Preseason rank: 12
2022-23 stats: 17 G | 21 A | 38 PTS
Preseason rank: 42
2022-23 stats: 39 G | 52 A | 91 PTS
Preseason rank: 16
2022-23 stats: 27 G | 31 A | 58 PTS
Preseason rank: 51
2022-23 stats: 31-22-7 | 2.34 GAA | 0.924 SV%
Preseason rank: 82
2022-23 stats: 22 G | 52 A | 74 PTS
Preseason rank: 63
2022-23 stats: 29 G | 63 A | 92 PTS
Preseason rank: 18
2022-23 stats: 40 G | 47 A | 87 PTS
Preseason rank: 89
35. Jack Eichel, C, Vegas Golden Knights
2022-23 stats: 27 G | 39 A | 66 PTS
Preseason rank: 25
36. Jaccob Slavin, D, Carolina Hurricanes
2022-23 stats: 7 G | 20 A | 27 PTS
Preseason rank: 69
37. Patrick Kane, RW, New York Rangers
2022-23 stats: 21 G | 36 A | 57 PTS
Preseason rank: 40
38. Shea Theodore, D, Vegas Golden Knights
2022-23 stats: 8 G | 33 A | 41 PTS
Preseason rank: HM
2022-23 stats: 37-11-11 | 2.37 GAA | .919 SV%
Preseason rank: 88
2022-23 stats: 37 G | 38 A | 75 PTS
Preseason rank: NR
2022-23 stats: 23 G | 49 A | 72 PTS
Preseason rank: 57
2022-23 stats: 29-14-5 | 2.75 GAA | .914 SV%
Preseason rank: NR
43. Timo Meier, RW, New Jersey Devils
2022-23 stats: 40 G | 26 A | 66 PTS
Preseason rank: NR
2022-23 stats: 23 G | 55 A | 78 PTS
Preseason rank: 9
2022-23 stats: 37 G | 67 A | 104 PTS
Preseason rank: NR
2022-23 stats: 10 G | 54 A | 64 PTS
Preseason rank: 75
47. Evander Kane, LW, Edmonton Oilers
2022-23 stats: 16 G | 12 A | 28 PTS
Preseason rank: 100
2022-23 stats: 12 G | 31 A | 43 PTS
Preseason rank: 62
49. Morgan Rielly, D, Toronto Maple Leafs
2022-23 stats: 4 G | 37 A | 41 PTS
Preseason rank: 79
50. Anze Kopitar, C, Los Angeles Kings
2022-23 stats: 28 G | 46 A | 74 PTS
Preseason rank: 91
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