You may have not noticed, but the NHL season started this past week. While it’s too early to tell the difference between the pretty good teams and the pretty bad teams, here are a few of the main story-lines going into the season:
Chicago faces a lose-lose situation
It wasn’t long ago that the Blackhawks won their third title in this decade. They’re built around superstars like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith and will be good for at least the next couple of years.
Their only problem is that Kane is being investigated for a rape charge that started in the offseason. The investigation is still pending, but the Blackhawks are keeping Kane on the team and trying to downplay all of it.
It’s understandable to have confusion when dealing with this situation, but to have Kane being showcased with things like raising their Stanley Cup banner and doing PR work for the team is very ignorant of the Blackhawks.
Balance of power shifts to the East
For years, the majority of the NHL’s top contenders were battling it out in the Western Conference playoffs, while the Eastern playoffs were almost an afterthought. That may have changed this year.
The East is loaded with stacked teams like Pittsburgh, Montreal, Tampa Bay, Washington, plus both New York teams, and still has consistent stalwarts like Boston and Detroit. Several of the West teams on the other hand have not made huge improvements.
Some teams out west like Anaheim, Chicago and St. Louis will still be very good, but it seems like this is the season that the East will be on display.
A new generation of superstars
The NHL Draft last year featured two of the newest young superstars that the league has to offer since Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin.
Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel will be battling for the Rookie of the Year award and soon will be playing for the MVP. Their teams, Edmonton Oilers for McDavid and Buffalo Sabres for Eichel, are not good right now, but drafting these two guys will definitely turn them the right direction.