The 2015-2016 hockey season ended much differently than expected when the Pittsburgh Penguins who, earlier that same season, found themselves not qualifying for the playoffs and got a new coach mid-season, won the Stanley Cup.
With primarily the same team as they had at the end of the season and having coach Mike Sullivan for the full season, many believe this may be the first time since Detroit’s 1996-1997 and 1997-1998 seasons that a team wins the cup two years in a row. However, with captain Sidney Crosby out for the beginning of the season with a concussion, a lot of work must be put in to hoist the cup again.
The Washington Capitals pose a huge threat to the rest of the league, having just as skilled a team that led to holding the top spot in the division last season if they can get over their playoff slump. New York’s Rangers are a constant contender due to Lundqvist’s impressive skills in the crease.
The Atlantic Division has strong teams in the Montreal Canadians, who boast a roster containing Carey Price, Alexander Radulov, Shea Webber and Andrew Shaw; Tampa Bay Lightning, who have all the necessary parts but, need to utilize them to make a post-season impact; and Florida Panthers, who have a high caliber team with veteran players that can help move them to the next level.
It is worth noting, especially if you are involved in hockey parlays betting, that Detroit’s Red Wings could be at risk for missing a post-season run for the first time in 26 years after roster changes in the off-season. It might be worth taking a look at some of the NHL latest tips and predictions if you are planning on betting on the games.
In the Central Division, the Chicago Blackhawks will have an improved defense this year, thanks to the reacquisition of Brian Campbell and will be a major player in the division. Dallas Stars could be the top team in the NHL, if they had a more reliable goalie in the net. Nashville Predators gained P.K. Subban, an addition that will lead to more points for the team as he is a perfect fit into the offensive line.
San José’s Sharks showed last season that they were a strong team in their playoff run that came to an end after losing to the Penguins in the sixth game of the final. Calgary Flames is seeing many of its younger players mature, this will lead to a greatly improved team that could be on its way to a possible playoff run. The L.A. Kings lost an impactful player in Milan Lucic, but can still be one of the top teams in the division.
It is worth mentioning that the Edmonton Oilers have named Connor McDavid captain, making him the youngest captain in NHL history. Having him will improve the team but, how much is still to be seen.