By: Josh Chodor
As the 2016-17 season enters its second month, several stories have made waves across the National Hockey League. Based on preseason predictions, some teams are hot, and some teams are not. Here are a few examples:
It would be impossible to talk about great storylines and not mention the Montreal Canadiens. Carey Price has returned to being the best goalie in the league, and the trade for Shea Weber has helped the Habs immensely. Montreal has surged to the best start in the league, and currently has a 12-1-1 record. One of the big surprises has been Alexander Radulov. The Russian forward who spent the last several seasons in the KHL returned to the NHL with a bang, recording twelve points. Radulov had spent time with the Nashville Predators in the past, but has not played in the U.S. since 2012. Staying inside the Eastern Conference, the New York Rangers have been one of the strongest teams out of the gate. Many believed that the Rangers “window had closed”, in reference to their playoff struggles coupled with goalie Henrik Lundqvist’s increasing age. A series of offseason moves brought New York right back into contention. Rookie Jimmy Vesey has rejuvenated a fellow Bostonian, Kevin Hayes. Hayes claimed the NHL’s third star of the week and has thirteen points overall. Prior to their recent loss against the Canucks, the Blueshirts had scored five or more goals in five straight games.
Speaking of the Canucks, it’s been a rough go of it in Vancouver. A nine-game losing streak has put coach Willie Desjardins on the hot seat, and an aging core of veterans has the team in win-now mode. Unfortunately, the wins have been hard to come by. The Calgary Flames have also struggled this season. After inking Brian Elliott to be their goaltender, the Flames have been stagnant so far. After firing coach Bob Hartley over the summer, Calgary has started dreadfully for the second consecutive year. Carolina, Arizona, and Colorado have all started their seasons slowly as well. The Avalanche may be the team with the most concern; after Patrick Roy resigned as Head Coach, there has not been a large change in Colorado’s play style.