Shoot and Score an NHL Season Update!

My personal favorite sports season of the year is hockey season. The NHL season started around a month ago, and all 32 teams are actively competing for a top spot on the standings. What teams are most likely to come out on top?

Los Angeles Kings players Anze Kopitar, Adrian Kempe, and Sean Durzi celebrate a goal scored. If you can, go see the LA Kings play at Arena! Tickets mostly start at $20 and the experience is so fun! (Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports)

The National Hockey League is widely appreciated by all people in all places. However, some people are mostly out of touch with the sport and all of its aspects.Until it’s the Stanley Cup Finals, a lot of people just don’t care. The playoffs are exciting, I’ll admit. But the playoffs wouldn’t be here without the regular season!

The NHL currently has 32 teams in the league, scattered all over North America. The season officially started on October 11th and it’s been nothing but exciting since, for players and fans alike!

The Anaheim Ducks are currently at 28th place in the league. Troy Terry and Trevor Zegras keep the excitement going in the Duck’s games with their exceptional talent. Terry leads the team in points (16) and assists (11) and Zegras leads the team in goals (7). Although they have some good moments, the Ducks will probably end up back at the middle to bottom territory of the standings this season. 

The Arizona Coyotes currently hold 26th spot in the standings. Nick Ritchie currently leads the team in goals scored (6) and Clayton Keller leads the team in assists (8) and points (11). They likely won’t make it to the playoffs this season and will ultimately end up back at the bottom of the standings, so another year of rebuilding it is!

Onto a brighter side of the league, the Boston Bruins have been absolutely dominating their season so far! The team is 2nd place in the league and all of their players have been showing up and out, especially David Pastrnak, who leads the team in all aspects with 8 goals and 11 assists for 19 points. Based on their record setting start, the Bruins will likely remain in the top 10 throughout the whole season. 

The Buffalo Sabres have had a surprisingly strong start to the season! The club is known for gravitating near the bottom of the standings, but are currently near the middle at 17th place in the league. The team’s offense is kept alive by their young and fast forwards. It’s unclear if they’ll stay at the top of the standings, but at this rate it’s likely they’ll clinch a playoff spot in the spring.  

The Calgary Flames have had an interesting start. Over the summer, they lost multiple core players in trades and free agent signings. The Flames, however, signed Nazem Kadri and acquired Jonathan Huberdeau, two NHL stars. Even though the team has heaps of talent, nothing has worked out for them so far. The Flames currently hold 21rd place in the league, but playoffs are definitely likely if they keep pushing for it.

Another top team, the Carolina Hurricanes, have had a blazing hot start, holding 5th place in the league with a record of 8-3-1. The team is held up by the talented trio of Andrei Svechnikov, Sebastian Aho, and Martin Necas, who have a combined 46 points in just 12 games played! The team has always known to be good, especially during the last few seasons, and are definitely solid playoff contenders. 

The Chicago Blackhawks likely won’t make it to the playoffs for the next couple of years and are at the 19th spot in the league. Many doubts circled surrounding the two veteran players Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. The two, especially Toews, have bounced back from their slump last season and fans are hopeful they’ll keep it up. 

The reigning Stanley Cup champions, the Colorado Avalanche, are lower in the league this year than anyone thought they would be. The team sits in the 18th spot, after losing many core players that contributed to their playoff run. Their roster is still talented, with players like Mikko Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar, so they will definitely make a solid push for the playoffs!

The Columbus Blue Jackets have had the slowest start to the season out of all 32 teams. They are at rock bottom of the league in the 32nd spot. They acquired star player, Johnny Gaudreau, during the off-season but have barely had any success with his presence. Coming up from last in the league is an incredibly tough battle, so they’ll likely be tanking this year in efforts to get a high draft pick. 

The fourth place Dallas Stars entered the league this year with a new fire that hasn’t presented itself in past seasons. Jason Robertson and Roope Hintz have made incredible contributions to the team’s success. The team made it into the playoffs last year as a wildcard seed, but will likely make it this year as a 1st to 3rd place team in the central division. 

In past seasons, the Detroit Red Wings have never found much success, being in the bottom of the standings. This year is a totally different story, as they’re currently in 6th place in the league. The Red Wings made a huge splash in free agency this summer, acquiring many talented players like David Perron, Dominik Kubalik, Andrew Copp, Ben Chiarot. These players have made a definite impact in the team’s development and we could even see them entering the playoffs this year for the first time since 2016. 

Coming off a defeat in the Western Conference Finals last season, the Edmonton Oilers are striving to be a top team. They currently occupy the 16th spot in the league and are carried by star players Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. The pair leads the team in goals, assists, and points and are the definition of an NHL power duo. I could definitely see the Oilers being in a top 10 spot throughout the season and making a deep playoff run. 

The Florida Panthers dominated most of their games last year and were an incredibly dangerous team in the regular season, but got eliminated in the first round of playoffs. They’re sitting at the 11th spot in the league and trying to make their way up. The recently acquired Matthew Tkachuk leads the Panthers in goals, assists, and points. They have a lot of star players on their roster, so there’s no reason why they should miss the playoffs.

The Los Angeles Kings (my personal favorite team) completely surprised fans last year by making the playoffs, resulting in high hopes for this season. Gabriel Vilardi leads the team in goals and points, after returning from a back injury that didn’t allow him to play well or at all for the last few seasons. The Kings also acquired forward Kevin Fiala in a trade with the Minnesota Wild during the summer and he leads the team in assists. The Kings have talent in every aspect, like forward Adrian Kempe, who just came off a career high season and young defenseman Brandt Clarke who was drafted 8th overall in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. The Kings will make a push for playoffs this season and will likely make it, but it’s unclear if they’ll make a deep run, but I sure hope they do. 

The Minnesota Wild occupy the 22nd place in the league. The team has exceptional talent in Kirill Kaprizov, Matt Boldy, and Mats Zuccarello. The team is likely headed to the playoffs this year, as they did last year. Their fast offense and solid goaltending with NHL legend Marc-Andre Fleury is enough to make them go past the first round if they can make it work. 

With young talent like Nick Suzuki, Kirby Dach, and Cole Caufield, you would think the Montreal Canadiens would be in a higher position on the standings. However, the club is in the 23rd spot. They’ve been stuck in the bottom ten and missing playoffs for the past few seasons, so it’s unlikely they will make playoffs or even make a real attempt to. 

The Nashville Predators had a great regular season last year before getting wiped out in the first round of playoffs. They’re in the bottom ten of the league currently, but will probably work their way up. Filip Forsberg, Matt Duchene, and Mikael Granlund are their top scoring trio and they’ll do everything in their power to make sure they climb up in the standings.

Talk about a comeback with the New Jersey Devils, as they are in the top three of the league! The Devils have frequented the bottom of the league for the last couple of years, so nobody expected them to be so high up in the standings. Led by 1st overall pick, Jack Hughes, the team has been picking up the pieces from their past seasons and turning it into success. I love the newfound passion and drive from the team and they’re certainly not giving it up anytime soon.

The New York (really Long Island) Islanders are 15th in the league, carried by top players like Mathew Barzal and Noah Dobson. They missed the playoffs last year and it’ll be tough to get in based off of how they’ve played recently. With a record of 7-5-0, there are definitely things they’re working on improving.

The real New York team, the Rangers, sits at 12th place in the league currently. They’re a team I could see being at the top of at the end of the season. They have talent in all parts of their game and know what they have to do to win. 

The Ottawa Senators acquired some stars Alex DeBrincat and Claude Giroux this offseason, but haven’t had anything to really show for it as a team. Of course, the duo is putting in as much as they can, but the team still is 28th place in the league. They haven’t made the playoffs since 2017 and won’t this year either. 

Equipped with a new coach, the Philadelphia Flyers have shown some good play so far this season. They tanked last year, but have a record of 6-3-2 this season for 14th place in the league. With a great goalie in Carter Hart and a fast forward in Travis Konecny, they have some pieces to stay in the top, but they will probably fall soon. 

With the incredibly talented Sidney Crosby in your lineup, there’s no reason why you should be at the bottom of the league. However, the Pittsburgh Penguins are. They’re at 25th place, but they’re such a bounce-back and powerful team that they won’t stay there long. 

The final California team, the San Jose Sharks are in the bottom of the league at 29th place. Defenseman Erik Karlsson has had a revival in his performance, leading the team with 10 goals and 9 assists for 19 points. However, Karlsson’s performance can’t speak for the whole team, as they’re 3-8-3. The Sharks are trying their best, to win, but nothing has been in their favor.

The newest team in the league has had a complete 180 from how they played last season. The Seattle Kraken hold 7th spot in the league and are showing the NHL what they meant to show last season. They have young and veteran talent helping them be a more threatening team and that’s been working for them and will likely continue to. 

The 3-6-0 St. Louis Blues have not been performing like they were last season. The team made it to the second round of playoffs last year, but now have fallen to 31st in the league. They have a lot of talent all over the board, but nothing has been working. Since they’re so low and haven’t had any luck, I can’t see them coming close to making the playoffs. 

The dangerous Tampa Bay Lightning have a record of 7-4-1 and are 10th place in the league. For this team, their place in the standings doesn’t matter. They’re still incredibly fast, skilled, and powerful. The Lightning will for sure be in the top five before we know it. 

The Toronto Maple Leafs are one of the teams with the most eyes on them. They have a highly criticizing fan base that will get on them for everything, even though they always play well. The Maple Leafs haven’t even been performing badly, at 8th in the league and a record of 7-4-2. William Nylander, John Tavares, Mitchell Marner, and Auston Matthews are among a few who makes the teams offense flourish. They struggle on the back end of things with defense and goaltending, but so far so good. 

The Vancouver Canucks definitely haven’t had the easiest season. The team is 3-6-3 and it took them 7 games until they got their first win. They have a talented roster, so they shouldn’t be doing this bad, but it is what it is. Fans are praying for a 180 in their play, but I doubt it will come. 

The first place Vegas Golden Knights have been dominating the league. They missed the playoffs last year and are so far taking their revenge for it. They’ve only lost 2 games out of the 13 that they’ve played and are for sure going to keep winning. 

The season for the Washington Capitals so far has been disappointing for their fans. They have only had 5 wins and are at 20th place in the league. With exceptional talent in Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetzov, and Dylan Strome on the offense, they should definitely be doing better. 

The Winnipeg Jets have had a sudden revival in their play. The team takes the 9th spot in the league and are working hard to make sure they stay there. They have an extremely talented offense who makes the team what it is. At this rate, they will for sure make the playoffs after missing them last year.

It’s a little difficult to predict how the end of the season and playoffs will look, but the standings right now are certainly a taste of it. Whatever the standings end up looking like, one of the best sports seasons is in full swing, so give hockey a chance and tune in! You won’t regret it!