For anyone working in or around professional hockey, the schedule isn’t much different than that of a student or teacher.
Once you click on the calendar the day before Labor Day, it’s time to get back to work.
NHL Players who haven’t made their way to their action cities do now. Casual skates are underway for veterans, while junior tournaments loom large. Major camps open in less than two weeks. Fair season will be here before you know it, and in case you forget, the regular season of ice hockey in Europe kicks off on October 7, with two games in Prague between Nashville And the San Josepart of the resumption of the NHL World Series.
In many ways, these past seven weeks have felt like the first real NHL season in three years.
In 2020, the 24-team playoff kicked off in August and had fallen to the quarter-finals by the second week of September. In 2021, the 56-game season didn’t start until January with divisions rearranged and travel restrictions leading, among other developments, to a one-year trial with an all-Canadian division. The result was the same both times, with Tampa Bay Lightning Winning consecutive Stanley Cups.
But by the time the 2021 expansion, entry, and free agency drafts were completed, half of last summer was over.
This year, for everyone except maybe flameGeneral Manager Brad Trillivning (more on that later due to the off-season workload), it seemed like the league had finally had a chance to take a collective deep breath and then a hearty exhale.
September’s optimism is upon us and feels real, as batteries are being recharged en masse across the league.
Colorado celebrated what looked like a long-awaited Stanley Cup, after an epic final against Lightning, who didn’t give up a three-time push without a fight. That championship series followed a thrilling two-month playoff that helped mask how stable the last regular season of the NHL was, from a competitive standpoint. It has been a year lacking any real drama from Christmas onwards.
Early on, the Eastern Conference had meticulously divided itself into eight haves and eight have-nots, and the qualifiers were actually decided months ahead of schedule. It has never been more competitive in the West, with six teams (WinnipegAnd the ChicagoAnd the ArizonaSan Jose, Anaheim And the Seattle) all back off the pace early and five teams (Colorado, MinnesotaAnd the Saint Louisand Calgary and EdmontonThey all book their playoff spots with little difficulty.
Thus, in a 32-team league, after Kraken debuted last season, that meant just five clubs (AngelsAnd the VegasAnd the VancouverNashville and Dallas) were actually contending for three playoff points during the extension period.
Here we are, with boot camps just around the corner, and the wolves about to start playing in the 5,000-seat arena on the ASU campus.
We have a major league champ in Calgary up front. have Ottawa Suddenly a hot destination Columbus as well.
Regular season title holder leopards Andrew Brunet’s finalist Jack Adams replaced veteran coach Paul Morris and replaced the second-scorer in the National Hockey League, Jonathan Huberdeauto Calgary to stir up the mob Matthew Tkachuk Hoping to advance to the playoffs.
The competitive imbalance in the regular season turned the 2022 trading deadline into an early version of Boxing Day, with ‘for sale’ banners posted on franchises across the continent.
Get the wheel back and tackle again once you hit the difference Montreal for the project.
This in turn has led to volatile turmoil in a few different markets.
It’s fair to say 2022 was a summer like no other in the NHL.
Now a summer like no other doesn’t always guarantee a season to remember. But you can’t argue with the fact that the intrigue and curiosity destined for the camps are reaching peak levels.
Oddly enough, two of the most changeable teams also represent two of the smallest NHL markets – Ottawa and Calgary, two franchises that generally don’t put much emphasis on the bigger national picture.
Calgary and Ottawa have made major changes to their respective cores, which is really the only way to quantitatively change the narrative. The only difference: The Flames’ moves were triggered by forces largely outside their control, and they can often be considered sideways. Two of the major shareholders were outside (Johnny Goudreu, Tkachuk), ; Three major contributors came (Huberdeau, Nazim QadriAnd the Mackenzie and jealous).
The changes will have the net effect of changing leadership and roles within the flame, but they can be debated: are they better, are they worse, or are they just different?
Of course, sometimes, just being different – if what you have doesn’t satisfy you – makes you better. In Calgary, a percentage of fans have been disillusioned with the core for some time now, even though that core helped them secure a league title last season and the second-best record in the NHL in 2019.
So it’s not exactly a franchise that’s been roaming the wilderness for so long.
Ottawa, by contrast, was.
But this Offseason push was, frankly, an impressive piece of work by general manager Pierre Dorion.
First, bring in trade Alex DeBrinkat, an elite-level scorer, is young enough to fit into the team’s heart without giving up a significant portion of the NHL roster. Then lure a major free agent, Claude Giroud, to Ottawa, to further embody the essence of the team. And the addition of the veteran goalkeeper Cam Talbot To stabilize netminding, there was a little good horse trading – taking advantage of Talbot’s desire not to share the job with Marc-Andre Fleury in Minnesota.
Hope Josh NorrisAnd the Drake Patterson And the Tim Stutzel Everyone keeps their promise because the dollar and term commitments made to them as well as Brady Tkachuk and Thomas Chabot serious. Ottawa still has a long way to go to make up the gap between the top and bottom four teams in the Atlantic, but the Senators should be on the way – not only better, but also fun to watch, which will hopefully energize the fan base and bring them to Kanata in greater numbers.
Perhaps the closest comparison for this season is the summer of 2016 when two were traded – Taylor Hall for Adam Larson And your Suban’s Shea Weber – She brought a wow factor to that off-season. Hall eventually won the MVP award for his new team, The demonsin 2018 while Suban also thrived early in Nashville, earning the Norris Cup final nod in 2018. Meanwhile, Webber overcame some crippling physical issues to help Montreal qualify for the 2021 Stanley Cup Final.
Therefore, influence players who have made an impact in their new locations. This is what they wish in Ottawa and Calgary, where they will use the boot camps and the first season to solve the puzzle of chemistry because it eventually needs to be solved; This is the puzzling and puzzling part of the equation that no one can accurately predict.
But they will remember that Hall made a historic turnaround year after year in New Jersey before being traded to Arizona and then as a high-value free agent, joining buffalo On a one-year contract worth $8 million.
Hall’s contract that year was the same as the one he signed John Klingberg With ducks earlier this summer.
When all the other major free agents were getting bucks and tenure, Kleinberg lingered on the market and finally settled for $7 million in a one-year deal. This appears to be the style of the new Ducks GM Pat Verbeek, who has been trying – as much as possible – to fill in the gaps in his lineup, with a series of short-term solutions.
The ducks kept a close eye on the most important hockey game played this summer, the rescheduled World Junior Championships in Edmonton, where they got impressive results from Mason McTavish, who looks like young Ryan O’Reilly. Nice piece to build around.
Two of the three California teams, the Ducks and the Sharks, have new leadership at Verbeek and Mike Greer, respectively. But Verbeek’s job is much easier, and that is to inherit a team from the previous regime that had, in addition to McTavish and Olen Zellweger, two of the game’s most interesting young talents in the Trevor Zegras And the Jimmy Dressdale.
Verbeek also had the luxury of loading up on draft picks on the deadline by trading away from helpful vets like Ricard RaquelAnd the Humpus Lindholm And the Josh Manson, who eventually helped Avs win the cup. In short, the loads had already been lifted before Verbeek reached the scene; His job now is to take care of that young core to the next level. By contrast, Jarir has a much bigger challenge ahead of him.
More and more teams have embraced the scorched earth philosophy rebuilding the philosophy over the past few seasons outside of Anaheim and Ottawa. Arizona tops the list, but Buffalo, DetroitNew Jersey and now Montreal and Chicago are on the same basic path, along with Seattle, which has followed the traditional slow but steady expansion path.
Question: If 10 teams reset about the same time, and suffer painful rebuilds, how many will actually make it to the ultimate goal, the Stanley Cup? Colorado did, not long after a regular 48-point season. Three of the Atlantic’s four teams – Ottawa, Buffalo and Detroit – made clear they were ready to push for respect, with the hope that one of last year’s qualifier clubs would sink into the standings.
on paper, Boston This candidate was theoretical as the Bruins would start the season with a number of key players, including Brad Marchand And the Charlie McAvoy, on the sidelines, is recovering from off-season surgeries. Their absences, along with Matt Gerzelecmeans it can start slower than expected, despite getting Patrice Bergeron And the David Krigsey Again for another year will relieve anxiety.
There’s still another word of caution here: the same things have been said about penguins A year ago because they would have started the season without him Yevgeny MalkinAnd the Sidney Crosby and other main characters. The reality was different. A handful of minor players stepped up and helped keep the penguins afloat until the adults returned. After that, the competition wasn’t much.
On paper, the qualifying races for the 2022-23 season are shaping up to be much closer and more interesting than they were a year ago. How will you all play on the ice? We’ll soon start seeing.
(Top photo: Nazem Qadri: Ron Chinoy/USA Today)