With the first regular season National Hockey League game only days away, many questions are circulating around the league and among fans.
Will the Las Vegas Golden Knights capture the Stanley Cup this year? Is Erik Karlsson a good fit in San Jose? Has Ovechkin sobered up after a very fun and exciting offseason, and what is with the new Philadelphia Flyers Mascot?
These questions will all be answered soon enough. There are many exciting players and teams to look forward to this season.
Of all the new players making it through training camp, the 2018 first overall draft pick, defenseman Rasmus Dahlin of the Buffalo Sabres, is one to watch. Dahlin dominated the Swedish Hockey League as one of the league’s top defenseman and also lead Team Sweden to a silver medal in the International Ice Hockey Federation World Juniors Championship. With the addition of Dahlin on the blue line with Jack Eichel at center, the Sabres have a lot of young talent to be excited about.
Will this be the season they become a real playoff threat? We will find out soon enough. The Sabres play their first regular season game Thursday, October 4, against the Boston Bruins, in Buffalo at 7 p.m.
Another team looking to make their way back to the playoffs is the Chicago Blackhawks. After a disappointing season filled with injury, the Hawks are look- ing to return to the dynasty they created in 2010. The 2017-2018 season was the worst season the Blackhawks have had since the Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane era began in 2007. Some say the poor season was due to the loss of the league veteran, Marian Hossa, due to a skin condition that sidelined him for the season.
Meanwhile, others say it was the loss of forward Artemi Panerin to Columbus that cursed the Blackhawks.
With goaltender Corey Crawford hopefully making his return after a concussion sidelined him for about all of 2018, the Hawks plan to return to their former glory.
The Blackhawks play their first regular season game Thursday, October 4, against the Ottawa Senators in Ottawa at 7:30 p.m.
Of the many free agency signings that occurred this offseason, one of the most exciting shake ups was center John Tavares signing with the Toronto Maple Leafs and leaving the New York Islanders.
Tavares spent eight seasons playing for the Islanders where he was drafted first overall. Tavares is a five-time NHL all-star, a gold medalist in the 2014 Winter Olympics and captain of the Islanders for five seasons.
With Tavares at center, young speedster Austin Matthews on the wing, and head coach Mike Babcock behind the bench, the Maple Leafs will be a strong contender for the Stanley Cup this season going forward.
The Maple Leafs played their first regular season game Wednesday, October 3, against the Montreal Canadiens in Toronto.
With many exciting trades, young players and sleek new jerseys developing this offseason, NHL fans have a lot to feel excited about. It seems like ages ago that the Capitals topped the Golden Knights to capture their first Stanley Cup in franchise history, ending the 2017-2018 NHL season.
However, the wait is almost over, and fans will soon be able to put to rest their famous hashtag, #IsItOctoberYet, until June.
Fans looking for hockey can tune in tonight to watch the NHL’s first full night of games as 20 teams begin their quest for Lord Stanley once again.
Contact Jack Breitowich at [email protected]