It’s that time of year again! The 2022-23 NHL season has begun and the journey to winning the Stanley Cup is underway for all 32 teams. Even though it’s early, let’s go through the predictions for the season and what surprises the upcoming 82 games will hold.
The Cup Contenders
There’s a great chance that the Colorado Avalanche can repeat and win back-to-back Stanley Cups this year. Despite losing a few key pieces over the offseason, the Avs have acquired many players that will help keep them at the top of the league and compete to win again. But some of the other teams that are Cup contenders this season are the Calgary Flames, Tampa Bay Lightning, and New York Rangers, who all qualified for the playoffs and eventually lost along the way to winning the Cup. All of these teams have a high possibility of taking home the championship, but it’ll be interesting to see who makes the finals and claims the storied trophy.
Thanks to countless moves this offseason, there are many teams that are ready to contend which may surprise a lot of people. The Vancouver Canucks and Ottawa Senators are the teams that are going to be the big surprises of the 2022-23 season. Neither of these teams made the playoffs last year, missing the cutoff by multiple spots. But the Senators added forwards Claude Giroux, Tyler Motte, and Alex DeBrincat who all bring a powerful offensive presence to the team. No one is expecting the Sens to be amazing, but this might be the season they prove everyone wrong. The Canucks haven’t made significant changes to their roster but could also make the playoffs this season.
The typical comeback story is one that is favored in the NHL. This year, two teams, the New York Islanders and Minnesota Wild, have the greatest chance of having their deserved comebacks. The Islanders made it to the Eastern Conference Finals two years in a row but failed to qualify for the postseason in 2022. After signing center Mathew Barzal to an eight-year contract and adding defenseman Alex Romanov to the roster, the Islanders are back for more. The Wild were eliminated in the first round against the St. Louis Blues last year, but have all the pieces this season to make a comeback. With Marc-Andre Fleury in the net and both a strong offensive and defensive core, Minnesota will be a team to contend with.
Undoubtedly, the 2022-23 NHL season is going to be one to remember for multiple reasons and fans across the country can’t wait to see the action that unfolds over the next six months. Even if the winner of the Stanley Cup won’t be determined for quite some time, it’s the regular season games that bring the typical excitement of the game. Anything can happen, predictions or not, so only time will tell who comes out victorious this season.
To quote Chance The Rapper from the iconic Saturday Night Live skit, “as they say in hockey, let’s do that hockey.”