Our NHL consultant shares his observations from the first twelve days of the NHL campaign. Go inside to read this intriguing & entertaining article touching several topics.
NHL Opening Week Observations
The NHL season is officially 12 days old at the time of this writing, and it’s certainly been an interesting start. I’ve made some early observations worth noting, and will share them with you in the following paragraphs. Some of my thoughts may or may not be applicable to your future NHL picks depending on how they’re perceived.
Rookie Class as Good as Advertised
There was a good amount of hype surrounding the first two overall picks of the 2015 NHL entry draft, and rightfully so. A pair of 18 year olds labeled as generational type players in Connor McDavid (Edmonton) and Jack Eichel (Buffalo) were placed on a pedestal, and if early returns are any indication, these teenagers are undaunted by the pressure. McDavid has 2 goals and three assists in his first six games, and Eichel has lit the lamp twice in five contests.
Arizona has a couple of 20 year old rookies that are less heralded but have certainly made a splash early on. Max Domi (3-3-6) and Anthony DuClair (4-2-6) have been sensational thus far. By the way, Domi is the son of former Toronto Maple Leafs tough guy Tie Domi (Career 3515 PM). The safest bet you’ll ever make is the younger Domi surpassing his father’s career high 15 goals (2002-2003), and accomplishing that in this his rookie season. Unfortunately none of the sportsbooks have NHL odds on that specific proposition bet. Max can only hope that he sustains his success long enough to come close or match his father’s 1020 NHL games played in his career.
How about those Habs?
When Montreal won their first four games on their way to its current 6-0 start, there weren’t a whole lot of people outside the Canadian Province of Quebec that comprehended the magnitude of that feat. In the long and glorious history of this epic sports franchise, they had started 4-0 just four times. In all four of those previous instances, it culminated with Montreal winning the Stanley Cup. They also hadn’t won their first four games of the season since the 1977-1978 campaign. They had never begun a season by winning their first five, let alone six straight victories like this club has accomplished thus far.
Same Old Blues
The St. Louis Blues are off to a fast start, and what else is new? They’re currently 5-1 and seemingly on their way to another stellar regular season campaign. The question now becomes, can they shake the tag of being a regular season lion, and a playoff paper tiger? My educated guess, the noose will be around their neck come late April and early May similar to past postseasons in recent years. I would steer clear of St. Louis when gazing at NHL betting odds pertaining to Stanley Cup futures.
Blue Jackets digging another Hole
The Columbus Blue Jackets were one of the hottest teams in the NHL last March and into April. Unfortunately a terrible start to the season when they were decimated with injuries was too much to overcome, and they failed to make the playoffs. So far this season they’ve remained healthy, but guess what? Columbus is currently 0-6, and quite frankly hasn’t been the least bit competitive. So much for learning your lesson boys.
Duck, Duck, Goose Egg
Inexplicably the Anaheim Ducks began the season 0-4, and managed to score a grand total of 1 goal in those losses. It’s simply mind blowing to think that a team with that much offensive firepower could be shutout in three of their first four games, but somehow that’s exactly what happened. Opponents beware, because the floodgates will surely be opening sooner rather than later.
Head Coach on the Hottest Seat
Many in the New England area were shocked when new Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney retained Claude Julien as their head coach. After all, the Bruins shockingly missed the playoffs last season, and Julien was made to wait in limbo for several weeks on whether he would return. Well Sweeney certainly was second guessed after the Bruins began the season with three straight home losses, and were outscored by a decisive 16-7 margin. His team has temporarily bailed him out by winning road games against Colorado (6-2) and Arizona (5-3). Stay tuned because the drama is far from over.