The NHL has been successfully underway for almost three weeks. Some teams have gotten off to spectacular starts. So what teams look the most promising so far?
The Washington Capitals experienced a big blow early in the season. Four of Washington’s players were suspended and placed on the Covid-19 list. These players include Alex Ovechkin, Dmitry Orlov, Ilya Samsonov, and Evgeny Kuznetsov. It was expected that they would struggle during this span of time. However, they have played exceptionally. They have one regulation loss through their first ten games. They currently hold a 6-1-3 record. Their early success has led to a top-two place in the division. The absence of some core players has led Washington to call upon some depth. Washington proved that they could still perform under tough circumstances. Since their depth was battle-tested early on, the Capitals are in a good spot so far this season.
The Montreal Canadiens have made continued strides since the return to play over the summer. They have the best point percentage in the North. Their offseason additions of Josh Anderson and Tyler Toffoli have been instrumental in the team’s success. The two have a combined sixteen points through nine games. They also hold the best goal differential in the North to their name. Also, their new goaltender, Jake Allen, has been one of the best backup goaltenders in the NHL. Allen had a sub-two goals-against average and a .933 save percentage. The Canadiens look like one of the more well-constructed teams to this point which shows in their record.
The 2019 champs, the St. Louis Blues, are yet again one of the most formidable teams. They are first in the West. The Blues have capitalized when playing weaker teams like the Anaheim Ducks. They rocked the Ducks 4-1 and 6-1 in their two-game series. Despite the absence of superstar Vladimir Taresenko, they have been the best in the West. Goaltender, Jordan Binnington, has gotten off to an exceptional start so far. Currently, Binnington has a 2.49 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage. Even with the departure of former captain, Alex Pietrangelo, the Blues have been dominant. Also, Pietrangelo’s replacement, Torey Krug, has experienced some early success and has filled Pietrangelo’s void exceptionally.
The Florida Panthers have gotten off to a somewhat surprising start. With the Capitals’ regulation loss yesterday, the Panthers are the only team in the league who are undefeated in regulation. Aleksander Barkov has been key to their early success. Barkov is above a point per game on the season at this point. While Sergei Bobrovsky continues to overwhelm in Florida, Chris Driedger has compensated for Bobrovsky’s lackluster performance in the net. Driedger holds a goals-against average below two and a .937 save percentage. Driedger has provided Florida with a chance to win every night which improves their chance of making the playoffs. The Panthers’ hot start puts them in a premiere position to contend in 2021.
Which of these teams will experience the most success over the full 56-game season. Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.