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2021–22 NHL season
League National Hockey League
Sport Ice hockey
Duration October 12, 2021[1][2] – June 2022
Number of games TBD
Number of teams 32
Draft
Regular season
Playoffs
Stanley Cup
NHL seasons
2022–23 →

The 2021–22 NHL season is the 105th season of operation (104th season of play) of the National Hockey League (NHL). The league expanded to 32 teams with the addition of the Seattle Kraken.

The league returned to its normal October-to-April scheduling and a full 82-game regular season since the 2018–19 NHL season as the previous two NHL seasons were shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The season began on October 12, 2021.[1][2][3]

League business[]

Expansion[]

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

The 2021 NHL Expansion Draft is scheduled to be held on July 21, 2021, to fill out the Kraken roster.

Realignment[]

The NHL returned to the previous alignment with Eastern and Western conferences.[3] As planned before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Seattle Kraken were placed in the Pacific Division and the Arizona Coyotes were moved to the Central Division.[4]

If the cross-border travel restrictions had continued for another year, the league would have been forced to use a temporary alignment with an all-Canadian division for a second year.[2]

Entry draft[]

The 2021 NHL Entry Draft was held July 23–24, 2021, with Owen Power being selected first overall by the Buffalo Sabres.

For the second consecutive year, the draft was conducted in a remote format due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hosted from the NHL Network studios in Secaucus, New Jersey.[8]

Coaching changes[]

Off–season
Team 2020–21 coach 2021–22 coach Story / Accomplishments
Arizona Coyotes Rick Tocchet Andre Tourigny On May 9, 2021, Tocchet and the Coyotes mutually agreed to part ways at the end of Tocchet's contract, one day after the team's final game of the 2020–21 season. Tocchet coached the Coyotes for four seasons, compiling a 125–131–34 record, with one playoff appearance in 2020.[9] On July 1, Tourigny was named head coach.[10]
Buffalo Sabres Ralph Krueger
Don Granato*
Don Granato Krueger was fired on March 17, 2021, after parts of two seasons with Buffalo, with the team suffering a 6–18–4 start and a 12-game losing streak. Krueger totaled a 36–49–12 record during his short tenure, and failed to lead the team to the playoffs in his lone complete season. Assistant coach Granato was named interim head coach.[11] Granato was named the permanent head coach on June 29.[12]
Columbus Blue Jackets John Tortorella Brad Larsen On May 9, 2021, one day after the Blue Jackets' last game of the 2020–21 season, Tortorella and the team agreed to mutually parts ways after Tortorella's contract expired.[13] Tortorella coached the Blue Jackets since the 2015–16 season and registered a 227–166–54 record, with four playoff appearances. On June 10, assistant coach Larsen was named head coach.[14]
Montreal Canadiens Claude Julien
Dominique Ducharme*
Dominique Ducharme Julien was fired on February 24, 2021, after parts of five seasons during his second stint as head coach of the Canadiens, which had registered a 9–5–4 record to start the season. Julien compiled a 129–123–35 record during his second stint and the team reached the playoffs twice during his tenure, never advancing past the first round. Assistant coach Ducharme was named interim head coach.[15] On July 13, Ducharme was named the permanent head coach and signed a three-year extension with the team.[16]
New York Rangers David Quinn Gerard Gallant Quinn was fired on May 12, 2021, after serving as team's head coach for three seasons. The Rangers went 96–87–25 under Quinn and made the playoffs once.[17] On June 16, Gallant was named head coach.[18]
Seattle Kraken Expansion team Dave Hakstol On June 24, 2021, the Kraken named Hakstol, who previously served as head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers, as the franchise's first head coach.[19]
In–season
Team Outcoming coach Incoming coach Story / Accomplishments
Chicago Blackhawks Jeremy Colliton Derek King* Colliton was fired on November 6, 2021 after parts of four seasons with Chicago, with the team starting the season 1–9–2. In his tenure, Colliton compiled a 87–92–26 record and led the team to the first round of the playoffs in 2020. King, previously the head coach of the Blackhawks' American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate Rockford IceHogs, was promoted to interim head coach.[20]
Florida Panthers Joel Quenneville Andrew Brunette* Quenneville resigned on October 28, 2021, after the results of an internal investigation revealed that he had improperly handled an accusation of sexual assault during his tenure as head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010.[21] Quenneville totaled a 79–40–13 record in just over two seasons with the Panthers, reaching the playoffs twice but failing to advance past the first round.[22] Assistant coach Brunette was named interim head coach.[23]

(*) Indicates interim.

Sponsorships[]

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

Arena changes[]

Regular season[]

The NHL returned to its normal October-to-April, 82-game regular season.[2] The entire schedule was released on July 22, with October 12 planned for opening night.[1][54]

The league plans to hold the following outdoor games:

Postponed games[]

COVID-19-related[]

Olympics[]

Main article: Ice hockey at the 2022 Winter Olympics – Men's tournament

The collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that the league and the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) signed on July 10, 2020, included a provision opening the possibility for the NHL to explore participation at the 2022 and Milan-Cortina 2026 Winter Olympics.[64] By the time the league released the regular schedule on July 22, discussions were still ongoing with the International Olympic Committee on sending players to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, particularly in regards to COVID-19 health protocols and insurance issues.[65][66] Two working schedules were thus created that were not released to the public, one with an Olympics break and one without.[3]

The schedule released on July 22, 2021 included an Olympics break from February 7 to 22,[66][67] with the intention that the other schedule without the Olympics break would be used instead if the league and the IOC could not reach a deal, and some teams would have to reschedule up to 16 of their home dates.[68]

On September 3, 2021, a deal was officially reached to send players to the Olympics, with an opt-out clause should COVID-19 health conditions worsen.[69]

All-Star Game[]

The 2022 NHL All-Star Game will take place for the first time at T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada, home of the Vegas Golden Knights, on the weekend of February 4–5.[67]

During seasons when the NHL sends players to the Olympics (most recently in 2014), the All-Star Game is not normally held. On June 28, 2021, with still no deal signed with the IOC, the league announced that it had decided to schedule an All-Star Game anyway.[55][70][71] It is scheduled as the last event before the Olympic break, allowing players to fly straight to Beijing after the game.[54][72]

Media rights[]

Canadian media[]

National[]

This is the eighth season of the NHL's 12-year Canadian national broadcast rights deal with Sportsnet. This includes Sportnet's sub-licensing agreements to air Saturday Hockey Night in Canada games on CBC Television and French-language broadcasts on TVA Sports, and games streamed on Sportsnet Now, CBCSports.ca (for games televised by CBC), or the subscription service NHL Live.[73] This season NHL Live will be available at no extra cost to subscribers of Sportsnet Now+.[74] After a one-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hometown Hockey games have returned to Sportsnet's schedule, moving to Monday nights.[75]

Personnel[]

On September 21, 2021, Hockey Night in Canada/Sportsnet lead play-by-play announcer Jim Hughson announced his retirement from broadcasting.[76]

U.S. media[]

National[]

The 2021–22 season is the first of the NHL's new national media rights agreements in the United States,[77][78] following the expiration of the league's contract with NBC Sports after the previous season. In negotiating its media rights, the NHL aimed to surpass the US$2 billion total that NBC paid over the life of their 2011–21 contract.[79] The league explored splitting its media rights between multiple broadcasters,[80] and over-the-top services (such as DAZN, ESPN+, and Peacock).[81]

On March 10, 2021, the NHL announced that ESPN would serve as one of the new rightsholders under a seven-year contract, with games airing on ESPN, ESPN+, and ABC. The contract marks ABC and ESPN's return to NHL broadcasting for the first time since the 2003–04 season. On April 27, 2021, the NHL announced that Turner Sports would serve as the second rightsholder, with options to air games on TBS and/or TNT, and over-the-top rights to all of its telecasts for HBO Max. The structure of the two new contracts heavily resemble ESPN and TNT's current broadcast rights to the NBA,[77][78] although with the caveat of ABC and TNT also having exclusive, alternating rights to the Stanley Cup Finals (unlike the NBA contract, where the NBA Finals are exclusive to ABC).[82][83]

ESPN's contract allows up to 25 exclusive games per season on ABC or ESPN, 75 exclusive games streamed on ESPN+ (also simulcast on Hulu), exclusive rights to the opening night games, the All-Star Game, and other "special events". NHL.tv, the NHL's digital out-of-market package, will be discontinued in the United States, with all out-of-market games moving to ESPN+,[84] at no extra cost to subscribers. Most of ESPN+'s 75-game slate in 2021–22 will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with a select amount of games on Fridays. ESPN's 2021–22 schedule includes four Tuesday night games in October, six Thursday night games in January, February and March, and eight Tuesday or Thursday night games in April. ABC's 2021–22 schedule includes the Thanksgiving Showdown on November 26, the All-Star Game, and eight Saturday afternoon and one Saturday primetime "Game of the Week" contests during the later months of the regular season.[85]

TNT's contract includes exclusive rights to up to 72 exclusive games per-season, and the Winter Classic. The network also may stream its games on HBO Max, and Bleacher Report will have extended highlights.[83] For the 2021-22 season, TNT will air 50 games, primarily on Wednesday nights (with 15 doubleheaders), seven weeks of games on Sundays in March and April 2022, and all three outdoor games.[86] Due to TNT's prior commitments to air AEW Dynamite, the network will only air a single, west coast game on Wednesday nights from October 27 through December 29. Dynamite is scheduled to move to TBS in January 2022, after which TNT will resume its Wednesday doubleheaders on January 5.[86][87]

NHL Network will continue to nationally televise selected regular season games not broadcast by either ESPN or TNT.[88] NHL Network and TNT games will not be available to stream live on ESPN+, but will be available on-demand 24 hours after they end.[89]

Coverage of the first three rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs will be split between ESPN and Turner, with each televising half of the first two rounds of playoff games and one conference final per season. ESPN/ABC will have first choice of which Conference Finals series to air. Coverage of the Stanley Cup Finals will alternate annually, with ABC airing it during even-numbered years (marking the first time that it will be broadcast entirely on American network television; under past contracts, two games aired on cable) and TNT televising it during odd-numbered years (marking the first time since 1994 that national coverage will be exclusively on cable television).[83]

The league renewed its national radio agreement with Sports USA, which had taken over NHL Radio the previous season on a one-year deal, for an additional four seasons, taking the company's rights through the 2025 Stanley Cup Finals.[90]

Local[]

  • The Buffalo Sabres' radio agreement with Audacy and flagship station 550 WGR expired in the 2021 offseason.[91] On September 1, 2021, the Sabres and Audacy renewed their agreement for an undisclosed number of years, largely because none of the other ownership groups in Buffalo were prepared to take on sports commitments.[92]
  • The Seattle Kraken's inaugural regional TV broadcaster will be Root Sports Northwest.[93] Seattle's radio rights will be held by iHeartMedia, with 950 KJR as flagship station, and some games on 96.5 Jack FM KJAQ.[94]

Personnel[]

On May 26, 2021, it was announced that TNT's lead broadcast team will be current Rangers radio voice Kenny Albert and current Blackhawks analyst Eddie Olczyk — a pairing carried over from NBC, and that Turner Sports had signed Oilers and hockey legend Wayne Gretzky to be their lead studio analyst.[95][96][97][98][99][100]

TNT announced the rest of their personnel on September 14, 2021, naming current Islanders and former NBC play-by-play man Brendan Burke,[101] and current Blues analyst Darren Pang as their second broadcast team. Current Flyers lead analyst Keith Jones, also from NBC, will serve as the lead "Inside-the-Glass" reporter, joining Albert and Olczyk on the lead team.[102] Liam McHugh, was named as TNT's lead studio host, continuing that role from NBC, with his colleague Anson Carter, most recent Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet, and former Penguin and Coyote Paul Bissonnette joining McHugh and Gretzky as studio analysts. Hockey Night’s Jennifer Botterill, and NHL Network’s Jackie Redmond, and Tarik El-Bashir will also appear as contributors.[103] On September 29, 2021, TNT announced that they added former NHL referee Don Koharski as a rules analyst.[104] TNT later added former Blackhawk Jamal Mayers to their broadcast team as an “Inside the Glass” reporter for select games.

ESPN announced their personnel on June 29, 2021, naming their #2 college football play-by-play voice Sean McDonough as lead play-by-play commentator, while Monday Night Football’s Steve Levy leads studio coverage and will call select games as well. SportsCenter’s John Buccigross, former Flames studio host Leah Hextall, who will also work as a reporter for select games, and ESPN’s #4 college footbal play-by-play man Bob Wischusen were tapped as their other play-by-play announcers. Joining Levy in studio as analysts will be ESPN legend Barry Melrose, six-time Cup Champion Mark Messier, and three-time Cup Champion Chris Chelios. ESPN's analysts include former NBC analysts Brian Boucher, Ryan Callahan, and A. J. Mleczko, Sportsnet/Hockey Night’s Cassie Campbell-Pascall, TSN’s Ray Ferraro, who makes his return to ESPN, 2018 Gold medalist Hilary Knight, ESPN Radio New York’s Rick DiPietro, and NHL Network’s Kevin Weekes.[105] Also on that list includes SportsCenter LA anchor Linda Cohn, who will host “In the Crease”, ESPN+’s nightly show, and work as an extra studio host and reporter. ESPN insiders Emily Kaplan and Greg Wyshynski will be joined by 2016 Isobel Cup champion Blake Bolden as reporters, along with Cohn and Hextall. On August 4, 2021, ESPN announced that they added former head coach John Tortorella as a studio analyst.[106] On October 2, former referee Dave Jackson joined the coverage as rules analyst.[107] ESPN later added SportsCenter anchor and social host Arda Ocal as an extra studio host. Early into the season, ESPN later added former NBC analyst Dominic Moore, who hosted the NHL Expansion Draft in the off-season with Chris Fowler and Weekes.

Buffalo play-by-play announcer Rick Jeanneret, after initially stating he expected to retire after his 50th season in 2021,[108][109] announced he would return for one final season in 2021–22.[110]

On June 23, 2021, Chicago TV play-by-play announcer Pat Foley announced he would retire at the end of this season. Foley, who has served as the Blackhawks' voice for 39 seasons, will call an undisclosed amount of games this season, with the remainder to be filled by a substitute announcer.[111]

Seattle's inaugural local commentators will include play-by-play announcer John Forslund and analyst J. T. Brown on TV, and Everett Fitzhugh on radio.[93][112]

Uniforms[]

League changes[]

  • The 2021–22 NHL season will be the first for Adidas' new Primegreen jerseys across the league; the new line is intended to be more environmentally-friendly, being manufactured with a minimum of 50 percent of recycled materials. These jerseys will be used in-game and sold commercially.[113]

Wholesale team changes[]

  • The Arizona Coyotes changed their road uniform to the original Kachina design from 1996 to 2003, replacing the road uniform they wore from 2015.[114]
  • The Los Angeles Kings changed their alternate uniform to a modernized white version of the Wayne Gretzky-era uniforms they wore from 1988 to 1998. This set replaced the silver alternate uniforms they wore from 2016.[115]
  • The New Jersey Devils unveiled their first full-fledged alternate uniform,[Notes 9] featuring a black base with white stripes and red accents. The uniform was designed by Devils legend Martin Brodeur and was largely influenced by the history of ice hockey in New Jersey.[116]
  • For its inaugural season, the Seattle Kraken are wearing home deep sea blue and road white uniforms with ice blue, boundless blue, shadow blue and red accents.[117]
  • The Winnipeg Jets changed their alternate uniform to the throwback design they wore in the 2019 Heritage Classic, replacing the aviator blue script uniform they wore from 2018.[118]

Major milestones reached[]

  • On October 13, 2021, Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin scored his 732nd goal, surpassing Marcel Dionne for fifth in all-time goals scored.[119]
  • On October 13, 2021, Washington Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette surpassed John Tortorella for the most NHL wins by an American-born head coach, with 674 total.[120]
  • On October 21, 2021, Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky recorded his 300th win, becoming the 38th goaltender to reach the mark.
  • On November 6, 2021, New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello became the third general manager to reach 1,500 NHL wins (regular season and playoffs).[121]
  • On November 15, 2021, New York Islanders defenceman Andy Greene played his 1,000th NHL game, becoming the 358th player to reach the mark.
  • On November 16, 2021, Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf recorded his 1,000th NHL point, becoming the 92nd player to reach the mark.
  • On November 26, 2021, Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy became the second-fastest goaltender to reach 200 wins, accomplishing the milestone in 318 games.[122]
  • On November 27, 2021, Edmonton Oilers defenseman Kris Russell blocked his 1,999th shot, becoming the all-time leader in blocked shots since the stat began to be tracked; later in the same night, Russell became the first player to block 2,000 shots.[123]

See also[]

  • 2021–22 NHL transactions
  • 2021 in sports
  • 2022 in sports

References[]

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  117. "Driedger, Eberle first to model Kraken's home, away jerseys", National Hockey League, July 22, 2021. 
  118. "Jets announce tribute to Hawerchuk on 40th anniversary of first contract", National Hockey League, August 13, 2021. 
  119. Ovechkin gets career goal 732, now 5th all time (en) (14 October 2021).
  120. Capitals' Peter Laviolette 'Thankful' to Become Winningest American NHL Coach.
  121. NHL Public Relations [@PR_NHL] (November 6, 2021). Lou Lamoriello of the NY Islanders became the third general manager in NHL history to reach 1,500 wins (regular season & playoffs). He needs six to tie Glen Sather for the second-highest combined total in League history. (en).
  122. Faiello, Mari (November 27, 2021). Lightning’s Andrei Vasilevskiy gets 200th regular-season win. Tampa Bay Times.
  123. Oilers' Kris Russell breaks record for most blocked shots (November 27, 2021).
NHL Seasons

2017-18 | 2018-19 | 2019-20 | 2020-21 | 2021-22 | 2022-23 | 2023-24 | 2024-25 | 2025-26

This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at 2021-22 NHL season. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Ice Hockey Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA).



  1. Sponsor retained from previous season. Not to be confused with Canadian parent company Toronto-Dominion Bank which sponsors the Vancouver Canucks' helmets
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Sponsor retained from previous season.
  3. Sponsor retained from previous season. For the first 13 games of the season, the Avalanche's helmets featured the team logo.
  4. The away helmets featured the "Nashville – Music City" logo representing the NCVC.
  5. Sponsor retained from previous season. For 13 games this season, advertisements from Black-owned businesses would appear on the Devils' home black helmets.
  6. The home blue helmet will feature the Amazon "smile" logo, while the road white helmet will feature Amazon's Climate Pledge initiative.
  7. Sponsor retained on road helmets, replaces previous sponsor DEX Imaging on home helmets.
  8. Not to be confused with American subsidiary TD Bank which sponsors the Boston Bruins' helmets and holds naming rights to TD Garden.
  9. The Devils have worn their classic red and green uniforms since 2010, but not as full-time alternate uniforms.
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