NHL Musings Early in the Season
The Blackhawks finally have a little seperation between games right now. They next play on Thursday against the Los Angeles Kings. It's time to take a quick look around the league to see how other teams are faring.
1. The Columbus Blue Jackets are Currently the Worst Team in the NHL.
With a .250 winning percentage to start the season, the CBJ faithful have to be perplexed. They spent big money resigning Patrik Laine as well as signing prized UFA Johnny Gaudreau. That's $18.55 million tied up between the two players (4 years for Laine, 7 years for Gaudreau). This was suppose to be the year that Columbus made the jump back into playoff contention. It's early, but so far it's not looking good for the Jackets.
2. Surprise Teams Playing Well
The Devils, Kraken, and Flyers are my surprise teams to start the season. The Devils are an outstanding 9-3 and it has come on the heels of beating some of the league's best teams. Wins over the Avalanche, Oilers, Flames, and Islanders highlight New Jersey's renaissance.
3. VGK is Scary Good
The Knights are the league's best team. With 22 points in just 13 games that marks an outstanding .846 point percentage. Jack Eichel appears to be fully healthy and on top of his game. Mark Stone has returned to form as well and both of these factors means trouble for the NHL. The true story is Logan Thompson though, the young goalie has been outstanding so far and looks like a Vezina candidate. Thompson is posting a 2.01gaa with a .934 save percentage in 8 starts including a shutout against Chicago.
4. Connor McDavid on Pace for 82 goals.
McDavid has always been the fastest and most skilled forward in hockey. Pretty much since day 1, however it's typically been his playmaking and passing that has made the headlines. Not this year, Connor McDavid is lighting it up and has 12 goals in as many games. Could he beat Matthew's 60 from last year? It looks that way right now.
5. The Avalanche are Waiting, but for How Long?
Colorado, the defending champs, are right in the middle so far this year. 6-4-1 through 11 games. They have some injuries (namely their captain Landeskog) they are working through as well as trying to figure out their lines after losing some key pieces (Burakovsky and Kadri). Make no mistake though, GM Chris MacFarland and Joe Sakic will make a move and the Avalanche will be one of the teams contending by season's end. Will they make some small bottom 6 moves or go all in on a veteran center? Our own Jonathan Toews perhaps?