NHL Check-In: Who is Hot and Who is Not to Start Season

Nathan+MacKinnon

Nathan MacKinnon

Jack Breitowich, Maroon-News Staff

The National Hockey League (NHL) is back in full swing. This week, we take a look at who is hot and who is not three weeks into the season.

 

Hot: Colorado Avalanche

The Colorado Avalanche are off to a terrific start, going 7-1-1 in their first nine games. Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen currently lead the team with 12 points and 11 points in their first handful of games, respectively. 

Despite being ranked fifteenth in the league in power play percentage, the Avs are ranked sixth in penalty kill, killing off 87 percent of their penalties. Despite a dominant penalty kill and being ranked first in the league in points, Colorado has the worst faceoff win percentage in the NHL, only winning 45.5 percent of their faceoffs. 

Goaltending has been the difference maker for the Avalanche. Colorado is ranked thirtieth in the league out of thirty one teams in shots against per game, averaging 36.5 shots against per game. 

However, between Phillipp Grubauer’s five wins and backup goaltender Pavel Francouz’s .951 save percentage, the Avs remain the top team in the league.

 

Hot: Edmonton Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers are also on a roll to start the season, with a record of 7-1-1, with their only loss coming after a five game win streak to start the season. 

The two stars of the Oilers, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, have not skipped a beat from last season. 

Last year, McDavid and Draisaitl both finished top five in scoring, along with Nikita Kucherov, Patrick Kane and Brad Marchand. The Oilers duo currently are in the top three in points. 

Despite the dominance from McDavid and Draisaitl, James Neal leads the team and the league in goals. 

The Oilers look to continue their offensive dominance for the rest of the season.

Not Hot: Ottawa Senators

The Ottawa Senators unfortunately picked up right where they left off last season, at the bottom of the league. 

Part of Ottawa’s struggles come from their power play production, or lack thereof. The Senators currently have a 4.3 percent power play percentage. 

The Sens have averaged 3.29 goals against per game. Only the New Jersey Devils and Minnesota Wild have a worse goals against average. 

Ottawa currently has a -11 goal differential, with their only win coming on October 12, in a 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

There is still a lot of season left in the NHL, but teams are already looking to continue their success or turn around their struggles. When watching hockey, one thing is for sure: no team is safe. Last season is a perfect example of this. 

The Tampa Bay Lightning won the President’s Trophy by a landslide as the team with the most points at the end of the regular season. However, they were then swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Columbus Blue Jackets. 

In January of last season, the St. Louis Blues sat at the bottom of the league, but after a few roster tweaks and goaltending dominance, the Blues won the Stanley Cup. That’s hockey.