The National Hockey League’s regular season will start on Oct. 12
The 2021-22 NHL season is upon us, marking the start of another promising run at the Stanley Cup for some franchises and their fanbases, and continued suffering and anguish for others.
Here are the teams you should keep an eye out for in the exciting weeks of hockey to come, for better or worse.
Of course, I have to start things off with the local band. I just wish I had an inkling of a clue of what to expect from them.
The Montreal Canadiens are coming off their most successful postseason in over two decades, ultimately losing in the finals back in early July to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Stanley Cup champions of the last two seasons. Their regular season, however, was the epitome of inconsistency and turmoil.
That’s easy to forget, given how well the team performed come playoff beard-oil time, but the Habs were scrapping for a playoff spot — an absurd notion considering the Canadiens started the season off incredibly hot.
Cinderella runs like last season are few and far between, but there’s still reason to believe their chemistry last postseason wasn’t a fluke. That being said, the Habs will be relying heavily on their young guns Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki to take the reins and produce on a consistent basis.
I don’t need to remind Maple Leafs fans about last season, right?
Since the emergence of Mitch Marner, the acquisition of John Tavares in free agency in 2018, and the drafting of Auston Matthews in 2016, the pressure has been on for Toronto. They have an undeniably skilled core that most NHL franchises would kill for, and the results have been fairly positive in the regular season.
But the postseason has been riddled with annual disappointments, and now is the time to translate their regular season success into postseason accolades. For the sake of my father — a long-time Leafs fan who has never seen them win it all — I’m admittedly rooting for them to return to glory. Yikes.
On paper, the newest expansion team’s roster looks to be average at best. After all, the Seattle Kraken should be near the bottom of the league in their inaugural season.
But remember when the Las Vegas Golden Knights made a historic run to the finals in their inaugural season under similar circumstances? Nobody had them pegged as contenders.
Seattle has some sneaky good depth at defense and should have an invigorated fanbase that could swing the momentum of games in their favour. Las Vegas’ feat in the 2017-18 season may never happen quite the same way again, but there’s a world where Seattle finds success right away while preserving their cap space for the future.