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The Six most Surprising NHL teams of 2021-22

Here are six NHL teams that have been surprising so far in their 2021-22 campaign.

6. San Jose Sharks (21-17-2, 4th Pacific)

Nobody thought the San Jose Sharks would be holding down a second wild-card spot this late in the season, and this is partly due to the all-star performances of forwards Timo Meier and Tomas Hertl.

As we approach the half-way mark in the season, Hertl currently has 20 goals and 35 points in 40 games. Putting him on pace for 41 goals which surpasses his previous career-high 35 goals in 2017-18.

Meanwhile, Meier leads the team with 45 points in 35 games, and many more surprises have emerged from the Sharks thus far.

Aging defensemen William Karlsson and Brent Burns continue to contribute offensively on the blue-line and Logan Couture continues to be a consistent contributor.

Jonathan Dahlen, recently acquired from the Vancouver Canucks, has shown his capabilities and has been fantastic in his rookie campaign with 8 goals and 16 points.

Sports Illustrated had the Sharks ranked 27th in their pre-season power ranking.


5. LA Kings (20-14-5, 2nd Pacific)

The Los Angeles Kings have been one of the most surprising teams this season, mostly due to the amount of depth that the team possesses. Captain Anze Kopitar has stayed consistent with 11 goals and 35 points in 39 games, while having one of the best face-off %'s in the entire NHL.

Adrian Kempe has been a surprise so far, with 17 goals and 24 points in 38 games. He has already surpassed his career-high 16 goals back in 2017-18.

The additions of Phillip Danault and Viktor Arvidsson sure have helped too.

Sports Illustrated had the Kings ranked 18th in their pre-season power ranking.


4. Anaheim Ducks (19-15-7, 3rd Pacific)

One of the biggest surprises of the 2021-22 season has been the Anaheim Ducks who have been a very consistent team all season.

They went into the season expecting plenty of challenges and with zero expectations. Now it appears that the Ducks could hold on to a playoff spot come april, and it's all thanks to emerging super star Troy Terry, who now has 22 goals and 36 points in 38 games so far this season.

The young rookie Trevor Zegras is exceeding all expectations, and has been actively involved in the Calder trophy race awarded to the best rookie at the end of the season. He currently has 10 goals and 29 points in 35 games during his rookie campaign. Ducks fans can expect big things from the young player in the coming seasons.

At 36-years-old, Ryan Getzlaf holds the leadership role and sets examples for the young players surrounding him. He has 24 points in 33 games at the moment.

The Ducks have been up-and-down during the 2021-22 season so far. Only a couple of weeks ago they were in the top spot in the Pacific division. However, they are now 2-6-2 in their past 10 games with losses to some red-hot teams such as the Rangers, Golden Knights, Wild, Canucks, Penguins and Avalanche.

Sports Illustrated had the Ducks ranked 30th in their pre-season power ranking, making it even more unbelievable that they're holding onto 3rd in their division.


3. Minnesota Wild (22-10-3, 4th Central)

The Minnesota Wild have been nothing short of impressive in their 2021-22 campaign. Their .671 winning % put's them 7th in the NHL through 34 games this season. They went on a 5-game skid that lasted throughout mid-December and after the extended holiday break, and have since won 3 in-a-row to pick up where they left off.

They've been one of the most consistent teams in the NHL as we approach the halfway mark in the season, and this is thanks to all-star performances from some of their top level talent's in Kirill "Krill the Thrill" Kaprizov, Ryan Hartman, Mats Zuccarrello and Marcus Foligno.

Kaprizov, 24, is currently 9th in the NHL in scoring with 14 goals and 44 points in 35 games. This is only his second season in the NHL, after winning the Calder trophy as the league's best rookie last season.

They score on average 3.66 goals / game which is the third-best in the NHL, behind only Florida (4.13) and Colorado (4.25).

Sports Illustrated had the Wild ranked 8th in their NHL power rankings prior to the start of the 2021-22 campaign.


2. Nashville Predators (24-13-3, 3rd Central)

Another team that received virtually no love before the season began was the Nashville Predators, who currently hold onto 8th place in the NHL.

Superstar defenseman Roman Josi is on pace for an outstanding 87 points, which will surpass his previous career-high (65 points in 69 GP) back in the shortened 2019-20 season. He is currently tied for second in scoring in the NHL among defensemen (40 points in 38 GP).

Their roster is not only filled with top-level offensive talent, but they're also getting great goaltending from Juuse Saros who has a .923 SV% and 2.43 GAA.

Being tied for third-most wins in the NHL, watch out for these Predators as they make a potential run for Lord Stanley in 2022.

Sports Illustrated had the Predators ranked 23rd in their NHL power rankings prior to the season starting, making them yet another great team that was underrated early on.


1. New York Rangers (25-10-4, 1st Metro)

The Ranger's look unstoppable right now, and it's all thanks to their world-class goaltending from Igor Shesterkin, their star studded offense and their elite defenseman Adam Fox.

The 30-year-old Chris Kreider already has 24 goals in 35 games this season. His previous career-high was 28 which happened twice. Once in 2016-17 and again in 2018-19. This is his break-out year and he currently sits 4th in the league in scoring.

The reigning Norris-trophy winning defenseman Adam Fox is ranked third in the NHL among defensemen with 39 points in 39 games.

Igor Shesterkin is right there near the top of all goaltenders with a 1.99 GAA (3rd) and a .939 SV% (2nd). He's been a brick wall in net for New York this season, posting two shutouts in his last three games.

Sports Illustrated had the Rangers ranked 17th, and just out of a playoff position in their NHL power rankings prior to the season starting.



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