NHL Season Monthly Recap: October
It is no question that the Sabres are one of the biggest surprises in the NHL so far this season. Sitting at 9-2-2 and 20 points, they are tied for 2nd place in the entire league through the month of October! However, on paper, it might not come as too much of a surprise with talented guys like Jack Eichel, Jeff Skinner, and Rasmus Dahlin, to name a few. With this younger roster finally starting to come together and work in unison, we are excited to see how they further progress as a team throughout the season.
After finishing 25th overall in the NHL last season, the Oilers are off to a hot start currently sitting at 4th in the league with a record of 9-4-1. Both of Edmonton’s two superstars, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, are putting up great numbers, with Draisaitl at 1st in the league with 25 points, and McDavid tied for 3rd with 23. Additionally, as of right now, offseason acquisition James Neal has been a great “low-risk” reward for the Oilers as he is currently co-leading the team in goals with 10. However, if the Oilers look to make a run for the playoffs, we expect the guys, outside of the core three, to start generating more points.
The Stars are one of the teams that many analysts had making the playoffs, with a few even predicting them to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. That said, they have started the season off with a slow start, earning zero points through their first three games. And although currently sitting at 5-8-1, and 23rd overall, is it not due to a lack of talent. In fact, we believe they have one of the best young cores in the entire league, powered by John Klingberg, Miro Heiskanen, and Roope Hintz, with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin there to provide that veteran skill and leadership. Once the Stars get their lineup situated, we still believe that they have a strong shot at a Stanley Cup run!
Toronto Maple Leafs
While the Leafs are sitting at the middle of the standings at 16th, with a record of 6-5-3, you might be wondering how we’re considering them one of the “underachieving” teams. Well, on paper, they have one of the best young rosters, if not THE best, in the entire league. With guys like Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, and so on, there is no shortage of talent. But with this amount of talent, it takes time to figure out who works where, and who works with who. So, despite their slow start, we’re expecting them to hit their stride soon and make a deep run into the playoffs.
The highest touted rookies for this season, Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko, were finally able to record their first points in the league, after both going through a few “adjustment” games. Game in and game out, both of them are looking increasingly comfortable with the flow of the game and their new teams.
Lastly, we can’t conclude this recap without mentioning the play of Capitals Defenseman John Carlson. Carlson has gotten off to an incredible start to the season, sitting at 23 points which is good for third in the entire league. And he’s not just successful on the offensive side either. His performance is one of the key reasons why the Capitals are sitting at 1st place in the NHL. It’s still early, but we believe he is the obvious choice for the Norris Trophy up to this point in the season.