Which team having a good first month will fade as the season progresses?
Sean Leahy, NHL Editor: Nashville. The Predators had a solid first month-plus with a 10-7-1 record and a fourth-place finish in the Central Division. The points accumulated in October and November are important when these climbs and descents affect every team during the season. What could catch up with Nashville is when Colorado and Dallas turn things around and the current outrageous shooting percentages of top scorers Matt Duchene (12 goals, 21.4 SH%), Ryan Johansen (6 goals, 23.1 SH%) ), and Tanner Jeannot (5 goals, 16.1% SH) returns to earth. Juuse Saros picked up where their Vezina-worthy 2020-21 season left off with a .932 5-on-5 save percentage in 15 games. He took them to the playoffs last season, but he can’t be counted on to take on so much responsibility for another five months of the regular season.
NHL Writer James O’Brien: New York Rangers. It also seems dangerous to say as Artemi Panarin is in an open space, but Rangers are only riding an outrageous chance so far this season. They’re absolutely putrid in just about every category of fancy stats. Not just in defense as many expected, but even in the deepest elements of the offense. From a talent standpoint, they could figure things out. Their coach is still newly installed. But it’s like cheating to name a team that just isn’t miserable, like the Sharks or the Blue Jackets. Ranger Square is swollen, and if they don’t correct their process, they’ll flatten out in the crowded subway.
(Note: also, can’t we risk drawing the wrath of Ducks Nation ™ even more, can we?)
Jake Abrahams, Editor-in-Chief, NHL Content: Detroit. The Red Wings were a pleasant surprise, but I don’t see them as a playoff team when all is said and done. They are porous defensively and their early season success was supported by a strong record against the Western Conference; against the Atlantic – the teams Detroit will face the most this year – the Wings have won just 2 of 8 games, going out 34-21.
Adam Gretz, NHL Writer: Anaheim. I think the Ducks finally have some long term hope with guys like Trevor Zegras, Jamie Drysdale and Mason McTavish these guys have the potential to be cornerstones of the franchise and something you can build around. The Ducks didn’t have those long-term basics and it really dampened their long-term outlook. But I’m not sure I’m fully convinced they’re a playoff team right now. Maybe John Gibson transforms into Superman John Gibson and hauls them over there, but I still think they’re a year or two away from reaching that point.
Michael Finewax, Senior Hockey Writer / Editor NBC Sports Edge: Anaheim. I don’t see the Ducks continuing to play as well. While most predicted the Ducks would end up in the Pacific Division basement, even behind the Seattle Kraken expansion, Anaheim got off to a 10-5-3 start on Sunday night, good for third place in the Pacific. While Troy Terry and Ryan Getzlaf have been exceptional offensively, I don’t see them staying close to their production early on. John Gibson has been outstanding at net, but he won’t be able to keep up with the onslaught that will come. Still, they’ve been a big story so far.
Which major NHL awards race is most intriguing to begin with?
Adam Gretz, NHL screenwriter: Vézina. For me it’s the Vézina because there are not so many unexpected players at the top. Frederik Andersen’s rebound amazes me, and what about Sergei Bobrovsky? You feel like this performance isn’t getting enough attention and if he continues to play his part in this discussion, you could be talking about a potential three-time Vezina Trophy winner. Only 12 goalies have ever done so, and 11 of them are in the Hall of Fame.
James O’Brien, NHL Writer: Vezina. Lots of interesting races, but the Vezina’s mix of variety and novelty is a thing to see. Ahead of Sunday’s action, Jacob Markstrom already has five shutouts, easily his career-high. Sergei Bobrovsky could go from albatross to finalist in Vézina. Former Maple Leafs starter Frederik Andersen is a favorite, as is the goaltender (Jack Campbell) who backed him up. It’s not strange that John Gibson is in the game, but it’s unexpected that the Ducks are good enough not to waste his efforts. Goalkeepers aren’t much more predictable than tornadoes, so don’t be surprised if we come back in a month and Vezina’s roster is drastically different.
[NHL Awards races: Calder Trophy / Norris Trophy]
Jake Abrahams, Editor-in-Chief, NHL Content: Vezina. Even though Andrei Vasilevskiy ultimately run away with this price, there have been some intriguing performances so far. Does Jack Campbell become the first Maple Leaf to win the Vezina in over half a century? What about former Toronto number one Frederik Andersen, who led Carolina to the top of the standings? Or another former Campbell teammate Jonathan Quick who is enjoying a career rebirth for LA at 35? We will not forget either Igor Shesterkin or Ilya Sorokin, Russian compatriots who keep the nets of rival teams in New York.
Michael Finewax, Senior Hockey Writer / Editor NBC Sports Edge: Calder. All the rewards should be nice, but the Calder should be the most. Right now Detroit has the top two contenders with Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider, but New Jersey’s Dawson Mercer’s game really surprised me. Raymond was selected fourth overall in 2020 and has 19 points, which is tied for ninth on Sunday morning in the NHL. Mercer was selected 14 picks later and wasn’t supposed to be NHL-ready this season. He was also seen as a two-way cross who had a second line on the rise, but he surprised so many early on with his offensive production as he has six goals and 12 points in 16 games. I think Seider will win because he was one of the main reasons the Red Wings are off to such a good start. There aren’t many rookie defensemen out there who will lead their team in power-play on the ice, but that’s exactly what Seider is doing as he’s racked up 13 points so far in 20 games. I think at the end of the season it will be Seider, Raymond and Mercer with Seth Jarvis who will finish fourth.
NHL Writer Sean Leahy: Calder. It’s not a crazy thought that Three The Red Wings could end up as finalists for the award. Certainly, three of them could be worthy at this end of the season between Moritz Seider, Lucas Raymond and Alex Nedeljkovic, who was finalist in 2020-21. There could also be a good crop of goaltenders vying outside of the Detroit stoppage. Jeremy Swayman and Spencer Knight might have some games to play in the conversation. But the number of skaters with good starts will make it a fun race to watch. Dawson Mercer and Trevor Zegras are hot, while Cole Sillinger, Bowen Byram, Jonathan Dahlen and Tanner Jeannot could make some noise if their production continues.
Which scenario has caught your attention the most so far?
Michael Finewax, Senior Hockey Writer / Editor NBC Sports Edge: The story that intrigued me the most is the Seattle Kraken game. So many people thought it would be a near repeat of the Vegas Golden Knights in their debut season in 2017, but the Kraken struggled mightily in the first six weeks of the season and found themselves solid behind most of the Pacific. . and in last position with a score of 4-12-1. They should have good goalies with Philipp Grubauer and Chris Driedger, but both have found that playing with the Kraken is not the same as playing behind. the defense of Colorado and Florida respectively. I thought at the start of the season that the Kraken would finish last due to a lack of offense, but their defensive play was worse than I could have expected.
James O’Brien, NHL Writer: Sorry to go with the obvious, but how can you outdo “What will Connor McDavid do next?“Every other game he’s doing things that you just aren’t supposed to be able to do in the modern NHL. Add to that the fact that Leon Draisaitl arguably has an even bigger impact, and the Oilers are becoming so inescapable they could create a popcorn shortage.
(Add all that to the way Connor McDavid seems to drive some fans crazy the same way Alex Ovechkin did before the Stanley Cup, and you even win Following entertainment.)
Jake Abrahams, Editor-in-Chief, NHL Content: The Continuing History by Alex Ovechkin. Ovi has Wayne Gretzky’s career goalscoring record in his sights, and he’s showing no signs of slowing down at 36, dropping from 7th to 4th on the all-time roster in month one. An unexpected subplot this season is that he also accumulates assists and is among the league’s top scorers. Beating Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl for Art Ross (an award he hasn’t won since 2008) would be another big feather in his cap.
Sean Leahy, NHL Writer: Although we do not know the full long lists of 50 to 55 people for countries participating in the 2022 Men’s Olympic Tournament, watching the play of some players who are not sure to make their respective lists has been fun. Andrew Mangiapane had a solid world championship and is making his way to Canada; With long lists expected in mid-October, can Troy Terry potentially replace an injury after his fiery start? ; Andrei Vasilevskiy was one of the first three Russian players named to the squad. Who will join him? Two from Igor Shesterkin, Sergei Bobrovsky, Ilya Samsonov or Ilya Sorokin will complete their trio of goalkeepers in Beijing.
Adam Gretz, NHL Writer: I think it’s probably Vancouver, just because this team is such a constant disappointment. You look at the top of the list, and it should be a team with a good base that is ready to compete right now. But they absolutely wasted so much salary cap space on bad complementary players and bad defense that it’s just this perpetual state of mediocrity and they keep letting the same people guide them through it.