The month of October was the opening act for the 2017-2018 NHL season. After one month of play, here is what we have learned over the past month…
Tampa Bay’s trio
The Tampa Bay Trio has been scary and helping the Lightning take over the Atlantic Division. Steven Stamkos is at the center point of the trio as the top line center 13 games played in October; 6 goals and 18 assists totaling 24 points. Nikita Kucherov had a month to remember recording a goal in seven straight games in the middle of the month. Kucherov ended the month of October with 13 goals and 8 assists totaling 21 points. Finally, the last member of the trio, Brayden Point. Point is not on the top forward line with Stamkos and Kucherov, however, he has finished the month with 6 goals and 8 assists totaling 14 points. These three players have a combined point total of 59 points, highest in the league among any trio combination. These three were a huge part of Tampa’s success within the first month of play.
Hockey is back in Jersey
Time to welcome good quality hockey back in New Jersey. On paper to begin the year, the Devils roster had a lot of question marks resulting in experts doubting the Devils in pre-season predictions. The Devils have ended the first month with a record of 8-2-0. Young gun players like first overall pick Nico Hischier, Jesper Bratt, and Will Butcher have been key reasons why this team is having early success. The Devils in the month of October have shown they never give up mentality during every game. Multiple times in the first month of play, the Devils would be down in games and come back to tie it and win. It has been one month of play in a long season so for the Devils, they need to prove to everyone that this was not a one-month phenomenon and that they can continue their success for the remainder of the season.
Winnipeg goalie situation
The Winnipeg Jets came into this season expected to return to the playoffs again. The Jets have the roster to do it with a lot of young firepower up front and a steady D-core to hold their own on the backend. The Jets entered their first couple of games in the year looking very shaky and drew a lot of attention to what is wrong with the team. Free agent signing Steve Mason was supposed to be the veteran goalie to come in to help mentor young gun Connor Hellebuyck, as the month went on the tables have turned. Hellebuyck has taken over command and is the guy the Jets need to start in order to have success this season.
After one month of play:
Connor Hellebuyck: 6-0-1 record, 1.91 GGA, .940 save percentage.
Steve Mason: 0-3-1 record, 4.84 GGA, .872 save percentage.
Vegas, Vegas, Vegas!
Who would’ve thought that the Vegas Golden Knights, the new expansion franchise would be over .500 after a month of play? The Knights have been playing great hockey with a roster that many predicted was too weak to compete in a tough western conference. Gerard Gallant has been a great fit for this team, he has already established himself as a respected coach in the league. The Knights played a majority of their games at home in October which has helped them in their victories due to the electric crowds are drawn to each game. Now they will be in the same boat as the Devils, a team who has surprised many through one month of play, however, it is a long season and everyone will have an eye on them to see if they can continue their success throughout the whole season.
St. Louis Blues
The Blues have been another surprise in the month of October ending their month with a record of 10-2-1 sitting at the top of the central division. The Blues lost a key forward in Robby Fabbri before the season started and experts believed that Fabbri would have been a big loss that would affect their play. The Blues have had success from their top guns like Tarasenko of course, but in their role players as well. Jaden Schwartz has had a great start to the year leading the team in points with 17. Schwartz is taking on a bigger role it seems this year to support Tarasenko in the scoring department. Another huge support is Jake Allen playing very well between the pipes. Look for the Blues to continue success as they have a very well sized and well skilled blue line along with a forward group who are all clicking and can bury the puck at will.