Around The National Hockey League: Week 1

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Views, opinions, and comments on teams in the National Hockey League –

Weekly updates, news, rumours and opinions from around the National Hockey League.

Anaheim Ducks

The Ducks came one game from making it to the Stanley Cup finals this past year. Bob Murray, is a general manager who I believe has done a remarkable job building this team. What amazes me is he has done it with over 7 million dollars in cap space available. They will again be a very difficult team to play against this season with a good chance to make it to the Stanley Cup final.

Calgary Flames

While only seeing Dougie Hamilton play one preseason game, he didn’t jump out at me as a 5.75 million dollar defenceman. Maybe Boston’s general manager, Bob Sweeney knew something most National Hockey League fans didn’t know.  Time will tell if it is money well spent.

Edmonton Oilers

Will general manager, Peter Chiarelli find himself in a similar position with the Oilers as he was with the Boston Bruins concerning cap space issues?  He was fired last season by the Bruins.  Chiarelli is managing the Oilers who have just a bit over 3 million dollars in cap space now.  Three years from now this could be a vastly different Oilers team when Connor McDavid’s contract is renewed.

Vancouver Canucks

A month and a half ago I was in the camp of writing off the Canucks and their chances of making the playoffs this season.  Part of the reason was the trade of Eddie Lack to the Carolina Hurricanes.  I was questioning general manager, Jim Benning’s logic on the trade, but after watching Ryan Miller play in a couple of preseason games I am having second thoughts.  This is a fast skating team that has a nice mix of veterans and young players.  I also would never underestimate coach, Willie Desjardins who has had success at every level in hockey he has coached.

Winnipeg Jets

Will the Jets make it back to the playoffs this season?  I think they will because of coach Paul Maurice.  Maurice is a great coach who has a knack of putting the right line combinations together that have chemistry.  The signing of Alexander Burmistrov at a salary of 1.55 million a year I believe will turn out to be a steal of a deal.

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Buffalo Sabres

From the preseason games I have watched they will not be as bad as last year but defence and goaltending are big question marks. The fans were booing goaltender, Robin Lehner during a preseason loss and perhaps wondering if he was worth a first round pick in the 2015 Entry Draft.  To be fair to Lehner, the Sabres were missing veteran defencemen Zach Bogosian and Josh Gorges with injuries.

Columbus Blue Jackets

This could be the season the Blue Jackets make some upward movement in the Metropolitan Division.  Last year injuries early in the season killed any hope of them making the playoffs.  General manager, Jarmo Kekalainen has slowly built a team that has the ingredients to get into the playoffs and make a serious playoff run.  The key will be if they can avoid injuries similar to last season and get off to a fast start.

Montreal Canadiens

Will general manager, Marc Bergevin start the season with rookie goaltender Mike Condon as backup to Carey Price?  Goaltender, Dustin Tokarski did not have a good preseason and was sent down to the St. John’s IceCaps.  I saw Condon play in a preseason game and he looked decent but talk about pressure.  If Price is injured things will be vastly different for the Canadiens and Condon if he is still the backup goaltender.

Toronto Maple Leafs

It could be a long season for the Leafs and the Leaf’s fans.  Head coach, Mike Babcock has already voiced some frustration with how the team is responding to his coaching.  It seems they have team speed up to his level but scoring goals and goaltending are not.  This team is a far cry from his former Detroit Red Wings.  It will be interesting to see if he can make a difference this season.

Washington Capitals

Will T.J. Oshie and Justin Williams be the missing pieces that propel the Capitals to the Stanley Cup final this season?

NHL Expansion

To get into the exclusive club called the National Hockey League it costs a lot of money.  Las Vegas and Quebec want to join but it will cost 500 million in U.S. dollars!  If you are the owners of the Quebec bidding group it will be roughly 650 million dollars in Canadian dollars that fluctuate daily.  Mark Chipman, part owner of the Winnipeg Jets got off lucky paying roughly 170 million.

Player Watch

One player who has looked very good in preseason games is former London Knights forward, Bo Horvat of the Vancouver Canucks. The 6′ 205 lb. power forward is making a noticeable impact on the ice in Vancouver.  This season there is talk of him moving up and centering the second line.  He scored 25 points last season but his numbers should go up with more playing time.  This is a player I will be watching this season with interest.

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