NHL: 31 Teams, 31 Thoughts

Well start from first place to last place and I will give my honest and raw opinion on what I think of this team so far this year as well what is in store for them during the remainder of the season!

  1. Tampa Bay Lightning: What is the word for this team, um, maybe downright disgusting. Not the type of disgusting you find on an unused toolbox, I’m talking straight up, unbelievable. Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos has been lights out, not many duos compare to these two. A team that is deep from line one to four, and have three lines that can bury the puck on any given night. A Vezina type goaltender right now and a defense that honestly blows my mind. They have Victor Hedman ok, but Sergachev, where did he come from, Anton Stralman, best plus/minus in the league, Andrej Sustr, a big wall, Dan Girardi, ruthless defenseman. I mean they just a well-balanced line up filled with the right guys. The Lightning are looking at a deep playoff run, missed it last year so everyone is healthy, so I am expecting a Conference final finish and or possibly Stanley Cup run.
  2. Vegas Golden Knights: Pause. Close this. Open this again. Now close it. Open it again. Shit, I am actually writing this right now. The Golden Knights are the SECOND best team in the NHL right now and just four points behind Tampa Bay. The cat has got my tongue and he/she won’t give it back. Cause, I honestly have no idea what to say about this. The only thing I can say that I know for a fact is that they have a bunch of motivated, confident players right now. Players who were given their chance and ran with it. There is no doubt in my mind this team won’t make the playoffs, where they end up, I have no idea.
  3. Washington Capitals: Ok, now personally, I had this team as a bubble playoff team and do not even tell me you thought differently. But I guess after many seasons of disappointment, a lot of fans becoming upset, some players leaving the Capitals are performing much better. That is probably due to the fact, they are playing without so much pressure on them. The Capitals sit first in the Metropolitan division and at 5 points ahead of the Devils. From what I am seeing they are a shoe-in playoff team, with a ton of veteran experience and some young guys getting the job done the Capitals look even better than last season. The Capitals will find their way into the playoffs and as much as we think that since they will probably face a team they have in years prior, I think whoever the Capitals get the first and second round they take down.
  4. Winnipeg Jets: Finally! I was all aboard the Jets train coming into this year, I knew they had the pieces and after adding a few defensive pieces the Jets were bound for success. It’s hard not to be successful when you have Mark Scheifele(out right now), Blake Wheeler, Patrik Laine, Nikolaj Ehlers, Bryan Little, Mathieu Perrault, Kyle Connor on the front end. The Jets are seeing an amazing season from Connor Helleybuck despite spending 4.5 mil on Steven Mason, Hellebyuck has taken over the starting role and is not returning it anytime soon. The Jets will make the playoffs, and more than likely have a tough first-round matchup. Think they sneak by in seven but get knocked out in the second round.
  5. Nashville Predators: The Predators are hunger right now, do we even know what kind of animal is on their crest though? Like what are those animals usually hungry for? Anyways you look at the Predators and immediately you think depth. Well, they have three solid centers and four to five solid wingers, throw in one of the best defenses in the league and you have yourself a top 5 team in the NHL and a point behind Winnipeg in their division. The Predators will make another deep playoff run, led by Roman Josi and Kyle Turris. If they get to the Cup again, I would be devasted to see them lose again and I’m not even a Predators fan. Just the city, is such a new hockey hot-bed, back to back years, I don’t know if this young city can handle the heartbreak.
  6. St. Louis Blues: Flat out say it. The Blues got hot at the beginning of the year, rolled with it for a little and just like most things in life a downfall has to occur. Expect for the Blues it reminds me of that movie “This is the End”, the whole movie is just a slow yet dreadful end to the world. And that is what is happening to the Blues, a slow yet painful downfall. I think they make the playoffs but are an early first-round exit. They do not possess enough depth scoring and Braydon Schenn, Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz, Alex Pietrangelo cannot do everything. Plus their goaltending is extremely inconsistent.
  7. Boston Bruins: A very exciting bunch to watch right now and when healthy are extremely dangerous. Yet again, Brad Marchand, David Pasternak continue to just dominate in all facets of the game, but now the Bruins have some more depth scoring. What is that we see? An old buck, hobbling onto the ice? David Backes? Is that you? Backes has been extremely efficient for the Bruins, along with the Bruins rookies like Heinen, DeBrusk and cannot forget Calder hopeful(probably not), Charlie McAvoy. Throw into the mix the ugliest goaltender in the league Tuukka Rask, the Bruins are just about ready for any team right now. They have essentially secured a playoff spot with how bad the Atlantic is but not the place they finish. The Bruins make the playoffs but get knocked out in the second round.
  8. Dallas Stars: The Stars started off the year a little slow, maybe the Dallas whiskey got the best of this bunch, but as of recently they have been rolling. Which has found their way into the top ten in the NHL and the first wild-card spot. With an offense consisting of Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, and Alexander Radulov, all else you really need are, five to six solid peewee hockey players for this team to be good. The Stars had high expectations coming into the season and they are slowly starting to live up to it. Ben Bishop has secured himself as the number guy and gave Dallas what they have been longing for. John Klingberg is performing like a Norris candidate and has been the best player on this Stars blue line. But, anyways the Stars will make the playoffs, and I think they surprise some with a first-round win and possibly second, don’t sleep on the magic of that Texas whiskey, it has it good and bad perks.
  9. San Jose Sharks: The Sharks started off the season extremely slow, they were performing like the opposite of what their logo represents, instead of a shark attacking, they were playing like a wounded shark. The Sharks saw no goal scoring early on and struggled mightily on the back end. Now fast forward and that is the exact opposite of what the Sharks are doing. Jumbo Joe(Joe Thornton) is one of their best goal scorers right now and Brent Burns finally came alive. Anyways, I think the Sharks make the playoffs but are a first-round exit, five games at most they last.
  10. New Jersey Devils: Now, let me start by saying credit to the Devils they have been outstanding this year, but they were once a top-five team and now have fallen a ton. I’m not saying this is something to worried about, do not press the fake panic button(like Hawaii, too far, disregard that), but just be wary Devils fans. The Devils offense has been led by Taylor Hall and accompanied by, a ton of other depth guys, but it is nice to see Nico Hischier having himself a solid rookie year. Corey Schneider remembered how to stop a puck and the Devils have a much better top four now. I think the Devils squeak into the playoffs but get knocked out first round in seven games.
  11. Calgary Flames: Another team that had high hopes and have been a bit rocky this season, I think the Flames highlight of their season so far is when their head coach absolutely lost it and threw his stick to the moon seats during practice. Anyways, the Flames have been led by two guys this year, Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monohan, while everyone else just does their part. But these two guys have been unreal thus far and it is only a matter of time until Johnny Hockey wins a Hart. The only downside of Calgary is that they ruined Jaromir Jagr’s career, so automatically everyone hates them. Right now Calgary is third in the Pacific and I think they remain in the top three rest of the year, make the playoffs and have an upset first round.
  12. Toronto Maple Leafs: First round exit. That’s all I have to say. They have not been all that this year, their offensive production is too inconsistent and I feel as if they may have got a little compliance with what happened last year. First round exit.
  13. Los Angeles Kings: A FAST decline and the Kings are currently on a ride that has only one direction and that is down. The Kings got very hot to start the year, turned some heads, but now I think they are coming back to life and I truly believe they miss the playoffs this season. On a good note, Kopitar is back to his old ways. Thank god, I mean he is getting paid like $300 mil a year, might as well put it to use.
  14. Minnesota Wild: I’m unsure about this team, earlier in the year I had them as a top-three finish in the Central and a playoff team but right now it seems as if the playoffs are tough for them. They are tied for a wildcard spot but have one to two more games played than other teams around them. The Wild need to get rid of Zach Praise, I think he is their anchor, the guy can’t fight his way out of a paper bag right now. Such a solid defense and goaltending but they struggle to be consistent. I think they make the playoffs but exit the first round.
  15. Columbus Blue Jackets: I don’t even understand how this team is a top-15 team after losing Alex Wennberg, Zach Werenski and Cam Atkinson for an extended period of time. The Jackets have a very well balanced lineup and I think they have all the pieces to get the job done in the playoffs. Which they will make again this year but have a better outcome than before.
  16. Colorado Avalanche: Pizzaz, is the first word that came to mind when I see this team. And the first thought is when Spongebob says “imagination” in that one episode. This team is a real piece of work, lose their franchise player and all of sudden they win games. It could not be possible without Nathan McKinnon, he is on an absolute tear this year. Up there for the Hart right now. Throw in a few young guys, some veteran guys, that all just go out, play hockey and do their job and not worry about anything else. You have the Colorado Avalanche, a team that is two points away from a playoff spot. Don’t ask me if they can make the playoffs, I really think so but who knows.
  17. New York Rangers: A team that is extremely inconsistent, have been dealing with some top-six forward injuries all season and would be nowhere without Henrik Lundqvist. The Rangers have the weapons on the front end, but on the back end, it is scary. Nick Holden, gone, Marc Staal, retire, please. For your own sake, you have too and for the lives of millions of Rangers, just do it. Lundqvist has carried this team for awhile and he continues to do it once again. The Rangers are in the last wild card spot and only one point away from dropping out. Every game will matter to this team. I think they make it, but unfortunately, exit in the first round.
  18. Pittsburgh Penguins: First thought that comes to mind, HUH? How is this team so bad this year, yes they have been bad. Phil Kessel on the bright side has been unreal, Sidney Crosby, well, yeah and Kris Letang would not be surprised to see him walk. Anyways the Penguins have not seen production from players like Jake Geuntzel and Conor Sheary have been nowhere to be found, which is a reason the Penguins are struggling on the offensive side. It doesn’t help their defense is terrible, along with some inconsistent nights from Matt Murray. I honestly think the Penguins miss the playoffs, don’t @ me.
  19. Chicago Blackhawks: Another team I think absolutely miss the playoffs, they are last in their division and maybe without Corey Crawford rest of the year(vertigo-like symptoms). Anyways, the signing of Bradon Saad looks bad right now, same with Patrick Sharp(who has been better lately) but as much of their offense comes from one line, the Blackhawks offense along with their ill-humored defense, have found themselves in a pickle.
  20. New York Islanders: A team that is one of the most exciting teams in the leagues to watch due to Matt Barzal Calder likely season and John Tavares Hart trophy season, unfortunately, the Islanders have no goaltending. Like, they legitimately might as well not suit a goaltender up, just go the old fashion, net down thing for the Islanders and it may be better. Anyways, the Islanders are looking out on a playoff spot right now and have been bouncing around from in and out all season. I think the Islanders miss the playoffs and a lot of it is due to their goaltending.
  21. Anaheim Ducks: A team that was riddled with injuries all season and are limbing to a playoff spot right now. They have a ton of offensive depth and defensive depth but unfortunately, they have a hard time piecing together wins and making a run at a playoff spot. I personally think the Ducks miss the playoffs, but when they return healthy next year, watch out for them to be one of the best teams in their division.
  22. Philadelphia Flyers: As I am surrounded by Flyers fans, writing this is almost a death sentence. The hell with it. I am sorry Flyer fans but this team is super inconsistent, I do not know a team more inconsistent then them. It hurts too because, they definitely have the talent and with three players having career years, plus some solid goaltending from Brian Elliott, and Shane Gostisbehere’s Norris like season, they still struggle to win. I don’t know if it is the coaching, the management, the team or something but this team is more inconsistent than my 87-year-old grandmother’s bowels. Sorry, Flyer fans, better luck next year.
  23. Carolina Hurricanes: I remember writing a piece about how this team may actually have a shot at the playoffs, that got shot down quicker than Trump’s wall claims. Anyways, the Hurricanes have a very young team and also a highly skilled one as well, they have a ton of youth on the backend and so much light moving forward. They miss the playoffs this year, but next year would not be surprised if they made it. Least they are having a better season overall than years past.
  24. Detroit Red Wings: The Red Wings are better than many thought they were going to be, an explosive offense, young and hungry has been this teams identity. But without goaltending or a top-four defense what can we expect from this team. Anyways, a very hopeful future, another top draft pick and a shot at it again next season.
  25. Edmonton Oilers: Well, what a shit storm this team has been this year. Even the city of Edmonton knows they are out of it, after that banner advertisement the other day(check out Spittin Chiclets Instagram for details). Anyways, the Oilers look terrible and it stems from their backend, Darnell Nurse and Oscar Klefbom have not lived up to expectations, despite Klefbom’s numbers last season, he has been terrible this year. Plus, Connor McDavid literally cannot carry this team like a pack of wolves carrying a sleigh, some players need to chip in, which they have not and the Oilers are 1000 percent missing the playoffs. Back to the old, good draft pick days.
  26. Florida Panthers: Real disappointment, Vincent Trocheck, and Jonathan Huberdeau have been lights out but, other than that, the Panthers have not seen any scoring outside of four players. Plus Aaron Ekblad looks like he is still sitting at the signing desk ready to sign his contract. Where has this guy been this year? Absolutely irrelevant. Plus some goaltending injuries, new head coach the Panthers are struggling and I can’t say anything will turn around next year.
  27. Montreal Canadiens: Disappointment. Want to talk about goal scoring, does anyone on this team have over 30 points this season? Confirming… and nope. Alex Galchenyuk leads with 26 points. That is the story right there for the Canadiens. There is probably better depth on a High School hockey team in Minnesota then on this team. Plus they have literally no one on defense as Shea Weber has been out for a while now. Canadiens, get a good draft pick though. Let’s see if they shop Galchenyuk or Max Pacioretty that’s the only story coming out of Montreal this year.
  28. Vancouver Canucks: I had this team as a borderline playoff team about two months ago and in the blink of an eye they are ranked 28th in the league. It does not help that three of their top six forwards went down with an injury and the only player carrying some slack right now is rookie Brock “Brocketship” Boeser (Calder HOPEFUL). Anyways, the Canucks struggle with defensive depth and consistent goaltending, they are a competitive team all in all but nothing else to really say. They won’t be much different next year.
  29. Ottawa Senators: It amuses me that four out of the bottom seven teams are Canadien teams, HA! Least you have Winnipeg and the World Juniors Canada. Anyways, the Senators have been a laughing stock of the NHL, much like how ESPN is the laughing stock of the sports world now. Much like the Senators were once a good team, but they came out of nowhere and just sh*t the bed, like ESPN. It’s crazy because the Senators have five very solid scoring forwards, but only two solid defensemen and Craig Anderson would not be able to stop a beach ball at this point. They have hit the low of the low this season. The only positive is that they cannot get any lower at this moment and they also have a shot at Rasmus Dahlin.
  30. Buffalo Sabres: I don’t even know where to start with this team, I thought they would be a lot better but much like the sports franchises in Buffalo, they continue to disappoint(sorry Bills Mafia). The Sabres have one of the best young talents in the league, Jack Eichel but no one to really help him besides Evander Kane. But they are shopping Kane, most likely and Robin Lehner, wouldn’t be surprised if that manic demands a trade. The Sabres upgraded their blueline and made some major acquisitions in the offseason to only find themselves in the bottom of the pack once again. New coach, new management, things will work out in Buffalo I think, plenty of young prospects(Casey Mittlestadt) and others, don’t worry the time is near Buffalo.
  31. Arizona Coyotes: It’s possible for them to win only 25 games this season. Anyways, they are another team many thoughts were going to have a better year, but well they have not. Their goaltending has been terrible, their number one defenseman is -32 and they have virtually no goal scoring outside of Clayton Keller(feel for you Keller, hang in there). I’m not sure when this team will be good again, but it has to be soon, they are currently shopping Oliver Ekman Larsson and Nikolaj Hjalmarsson for a top-flight player and top draft picks. Let’s see how that pans out.

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