Parker Cane and Will Kelley
The beginning of the 2016-2017 NHL season has been quite shocking. In the very first game, rookie sensation Auston Matthews scored four goals.The Columbus Blue Jackets, who haven’t been close to the top of the Eastern Conference in almost a decade, have found themselves in 6th place through one fourth of the season. Another shocking team in the East is the Ottawa Senators, led by star defensemen Erik Karlson. Karlson is a former two time Norris Trophy Winner (NHL’s Best defensemen) and has really put almost all the weight on his shoulders with the help of Young forwards Bobby Ryan and Mark Stone. Another unexpected team that has really proven themselves is the New York Rangers. Last offseason the Rangers traded away arguably their best forward, Chris Kreider. Most hockey fans thought they were going to be a disappointment this year but New York proved them wrong. The Rangers find themselves 5th in the league overall. Also doing well, the Philadelphia Flyers made the playoffs last season and find themselves off to an average start. The progress of a dynamic duo Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux hasn’t slowed down at all. They combine for 61 points so far. 2nd in the league only behind Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby from the Pittsburgh Penguins, defending Stanley Cup Champs.
The young Tampa Bay Lightning are set for the future, as they are built around the sharp shooting center Steven Stamkos, fast dynamic forward Nikita Kucherov and 6’6 defensemen from Sweden Victor Hedman. The Western Conference is looking weak this year. NHL analytics say the only teams in the Western Conference that can compete with the East are the Chicago Blackhawks, built around last year's MVP Patrick Kane and young Russian Artemi Panarin. The St.Louis Blues don’t have many solid players but veteran Defensemen Alex Pietrangelo has controlled the blue line for the Blues. Vladimir Tarasenko who also plays for the Blues is considered the most dynamic sharpshooter in the league, coming in third place for last year’s MVP race. The Edmonton Oilers are a rising young team. Connor McDavid is currently the NHL point leader has carried his team to 3rd in the Western conference. McDavid, the 1st overall selection in the 2015 entry draft has lived up to his expectations. McDavid is not only good for himself, but he also makes the players around him better.
This NHL season is one to look forward to. The season is going to be action packed with all the young teams. Bone crushing hits are common from big hard hitting defensemen. The NHL season flies by, and we are already over a fourth into the season. Before you know it we will be weeks away from the playoffs, and the playoffs are the most exciting part of the season. All of the best teams from the East and West all compete during a seven game series and all play their hearts out for the ultimate goal. The Stanley Cup will soon be decided.