Ranking the biggest surprises (and non-surprises) of the 2021 NHL season

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With the 2021 NHL season structured as it is, and being played when it is, hockey fans were preconditioned to expect the unexpected before it started.

Oh, it's already been a ride. Well over 100 players listed on the coronavirus-related absences list. Thirty-five games being postponed and rescheduled due to positive tests. Four more games being rescheduled due to heavy snowfall ... in Texas. One game being suspended and then restarted due to the sun melting the rink's ice. Did we mention that that last game was played at Lake Tahoe? Surprise!

On the ice, the season has been filled with surprises both great and small. We've collected 20 of them and grouped them into handy tiers, to best define their unpredictability.

It's the NHL surprise tiers ranking, as the season rolls on into March.