Out of the four NHL divisions, we take a look at where all of the teams stand and how they compare to where they were at the end of last years’ regular season. We have some unexpected teams in some unexpected standings. Why are they there and will they have a chance to stay there or recover?
Last year, the Oilers were second in their division. Now they’re sitting on the bottom of their division with a much lower record than expected. In addition, their star player, Connor McDavid, is playing and scoring much less than he was expected to. The Pacific division has had a dry start to their seasons, all except for the new team, the Vegas Golden Knights. There haven’t been any outstanding games shown by the other teams. The Pacific division has been stirred up in comparison to last year and any expected outcomes haven’t been produced yet. There are a lot of games left to be played and all it will take is a couple teams to hit a hot streak to change the standings in the Pacific division. One team that I was hoping to see a better turnout for their season was the Arizona Coyotes. They had a very rough year last season and now they aren’t seeing much of an improvement. The only team that has one less win than them right now are the Buffalo Sabres. The Coyotes are 7-18-5 and the Sabres are 6-17-4. They are fighting to not be in the last place slot in the entire NHL. It’s tough to watch these teams struggle, I don’t like watching professional teams look so uncoordinated. I hope their seasons start producing success for the players and the club as a whole!
On a different note, the Blackhawks came in first in the central division last year and now they are second to last this year. The Blackhawks have many skilled players but they just seem to be under-performing. Another team in the central division that isn’t doing nearly as well as they were doing at the end of last season is the Minnesota Wild. The Blackhawks and the Wild finished in the top two spots in the central division last year but aren’t playing like they did at the end of the regular season. Right now these two teams are sitting in two of the three last place slots. The team that is in last in the central division is the Avalanche. They had a horrible season last year and although they are doing much better now, they are still the team that was expected to be in last place. A team that was quiet last year and in first place in the central division is the Winnipeg Jets. Right now, the Blues and Jets are competing for first place and it should be interesting to see what the product of further competition should produce.
Following the Central division, there is the Metropolitan division. The biggest changeup that we have witnessed in this division thus far is the surprising grit that the New Jersey Devils have shown. They had a poor season last year coming in last place and right now they hold second place in the Metropolitan division just two games from being tied for first place. The other teams in the division aren’t too far off from what has been expected. The Pittsburgh Penguins have been doing mediocre for being a Stanley Cup team and have had some great losses to teams with large deficits. Usually, the Stanley Cup team poses a challenge to the rest of the league, but there hasn’t been anything extraordinary yet.
Lastly, we have the Atlantic division which hasn’t surprised us too much. There are two teams in this division that have been a lot of fun to watch. These two teams hold the first and second place in the division and have some great players. The Lightning are in first with the Maple Leafs trailing by one game in the win category but 3 points to tie. On the Lightning, they have Stamkos and Kucherov which are the dynamic duo. These two players have had some great passes, plays, and goals that you find yourself watching over and over again. On the Maple Leafs, you have Auston Matthews who is 20 years old and has had an amazing season. He is a top contender for points and he has incredible goals. These top two teams other than the Vegas Golden Knights are some of the best teams to watch right now. The bottom teams in the Atlantic division do not come at much of a surprise. The only team that comes at a surprise for being low in the standings are the Ottawa Senators which are in third to last but were in second place last year. They have had an unfortunate season but they have the ability to make a strong comeback. The Sabres and Panthers are the bottom of this division and haven’t been a top contender for a while now.