Ice-hockey at its best is back, NHL 2018/19 starts on Wednesday, October 3rd! It has been a long and very hot summer, it’s now time for the icy winter months which we at ScandiBet love. Why? Well, first and foremost we are Vikings but also because it’s time for the hockey season to start. The action, speed, joy, thrills, sweat and all the other feelings are just around the corner as NHL starts on 3rd of October.
This long summer full of world-class football, however, it did not go unnoticed that some of the biggest hockey trades in years took place as well. The teams are now trying to solve their last missing piece so that they are ready when the puck drops. Some of the teams had a very successful off/preseason, whilst others had a rough one. Which teams will perform as expected; More interesting, which one will rise to the occasion and which one will fall?
In this article, we will go through some of the teams of each division, which we believe is the most interesting ones. Let's get to it!
Let's start with the first division in this league, Metropolitan. It has been a big influencer in the league for a few years now, with teams who have claimed trophies after trophies. It is not only home to the previous winner Washington Capitals, but also to teams like Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers, New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils. Let’s see what we can expect from these famous teams during the NHL 2018/19 season.
Washington Capitals were finally able to beat their ghost and arch-rival Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2nd round last year and after that, go all the way to the Stanley Cup and raise Lord Stanley to the roof. Ovechkin is the first team captain in NHL from Russia, to lead his team all the way, so history was made last season. In the upcoming one, Washington should make it to the playoffs since not much has changed. The only thing is, are they still hungry for another Stanley Cup, or are they satisfied from the last one?
Pittsburgh Penguins, another giant in this division should also make it to the playoffs. Not much has changed here either, except that Washington is the team to beat this year. You can make sure that Sidney Crosby and his penguins want to change that!
Last season both New Jersey Devils and Columbus Blue Jackets made it to the playoffs ending the season on the same points (97). New Jersey Devils won the wild card race against Florida Panthers by ending up with 1 point more. If these two teams want to make it this year, they have some work to do.
Especially Columbus Blue Jackets, which have two major signings happening. Two of their biggest stars; Artemi Panarin and their goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, which could be NHL best goalie at the moment. If Columbus can re-sign these players, they would become really interesting. If not, they still have their head coach John Tortorella which is a star himself! Regardless of how it goes with the signings, it will be very hard for both teams to make it this year. If their players remain healthy throughout the season and both teams are able to win the majority of their important division games, then it is possible. The competition is just something extra this year!
New York Rebuild
Both NHL teams in this famous town are having major difficulties on their own. New York Rangers did not have a good season at all last year. When it was made sure that they wouldn't reach the playoffs the owner hit the red button and started a sellout of their players in order to finance a rebuild. Before the end of trade deadline last season, they traded away 7 of their best players and if this wasn't enough when the season ended both the head coach and associate coach was fired. The owner promised a quick rebuild to the extra demanding fans, although a rebuild usually takes a few years. We at ScandiBet hopes this go quickly for the Ranger loyalists Zuccarello, Lundqvist and Zibanejad sakes.
If Rangers created headlines in the early Spring, their rival New York Islanders were doing so this late summer. Everyone was expecting Islanders to sign a new long-term contract with their franchise player John Tavares. However, when it was announced that he is going to Toronto Maple Leafs, hell broke out. Islanders lost a player which their team was built around and since they did not get anything for it, Islanders fans burned their Tavares jerseys in anger and despite. Now they need to build their team around a new player, the only question; what player is that going to be?
The Atlantic division will be very tough this year since many teams have a large number of good players. There is a good mix here with already solid teams and upcoming hungry ones.
The big three: Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Toronto Maple Leafs
There is no surprise, that these teams are the big players in this division. All three teams have a very good management and have been building their teams up from the ground, for a few years now. The big news for this season is that Toronto was able to sign up John Tavares which was a big franchise player for the New York Islanders. Tavares will bring a huge impact to this division as Toronto will become highly dangerous to play against. Nevertheless, we believe that all these 3 teams will reach the playoffs.
It is time for Buffalo Sabres to get something done. They finally have a team that could have a solid season, which both the organization and the deserving fans have been waiting for. There is only one question regarding Buffalo, how well will the number 1 prospect Rasmus Dahlin perform?
Florida Panthers is another team that has all the key ingredients to do a good season. Last year it did not end so well, missing the playoffs with just 1 point. However, if Florida with their new team captain, Barkov, start this season in the same fashion as they ended the last one, they should reach the playoffs with a wild card spot!
For the wrong reasons
Ottawa Senators had a very rough year so far and this is not because of hockey. The organization has been highlighted in the news for the wrong reasons which can be described as complete chaos. The owner is not popular at all and their beloved fans do not want to pay for tickets as long he is there. Lately, more sparks have been added to the fire, when they traded away arguably the best defender in the league in Erik Karlsson, their franchise player, for basically nothing. Some call this trade the worst one that ever occurred in NHL. Ottawa will have some rough seasons ahead of them.
Central division is the hardest division to predict since every team in here can make it to the playoff. This super tight group will battle once again where every point matter.
Nashville Predators has been a contender for a few years now, with Lord Stanley slipping out of their hands just at the end. They will make sure to give everything this year, as their team looks super solid. Their leading goal scorer Filip Forsberg is looking very good and hungry as they come, as he already scored a hattrick in the preseason. They surely want revenge against Winnipeg, for knocking them out last year.
Winnipeg Jets, on the other hand, are looking strong as well and had a good run last season. Being knocked out by the sensational team Vegas Golden Knights in the conference finals. They will for sure, do everything in their power to reach the Stanley Cup this year.
There is also a second battle going on here, at least for us Vikings at ScandiBet; Nashville have Filip Forsberg and Winnipeg have Patrik Laine, which one of them do you think will make the most points this season?
The Old and the Young
Many believe that Minnesota Wild had their run, with many of their big names sitting on long contracts and are increasing in age as well. What they need is some fresh blood, to make this team spark again. A good thing here is that a season is long as well, so they have time to boost their team with something new. If they are able to find something successful, this team can for sure make it to the playoff.
Colorado Avalanche, a young team finally made it to the playoffs, having some rough seasons behind them. Being beaten by Nashville in the first round, this Colorado team for sure wants to try again. There is a huge amount of talent in this team, with their team captain Gabriel Landeskog, leading the way! If their key players can deliver, Avalanche should make it to the playoffs.
Rough Season Ahead?
Many believed that Dallas Stars would go far last year, but they did not make it to the playoff. They were doing really well, but collapsed and ended up in a losing streak, which cost them the playoff spot. If their new head coach can keep them going for a whole season, who knows where it can end?
St Louis Blues did not make it to the playoffs either and have really tried to make changes into their roster to prevent this from happening again. Being one of the most active teams in offseason, acquiring big star Ryan O’Reilly from Buffalo along with Patrick Maroon, David Perron and Tyler Bozak to join their ranks. With these new players, their team looks strong.
The Pacific division is a real wasp’s nest were almost every team can end up anywhere in the division table. However, after this preseason one team stands out to the rest. One team that received a significant boost to their roster, that became a real contender.
A bad trade for one team is a good trade for another. San Jose Sharks was already a strong team with solid players before the biggest trade of the year. Now, after acquiring Erik Karlsson from Ottawa Senators, this team have some of the best defense and offense that NHL can offer. Their first powerplay unit now contains Brent Burns, Erik Karlsson, Joe Thornton, Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski. When these players start to skate around the attacking zone, not many will be able to hold back. This team will be extremely exciting to follow this season!
Connor McDavid is another player who has a big impact on his team. Edmonton Oilers need to bounce back from their last season that did not go as planned. Some of their players really underperformed. All Edmonton really needs, is that their players do what they are getting paid for, then Connor McDavid will do the rest!
A desert is probably one of the last places you would build an ice hockey rink. Nevertheless, there are two exciting teams which are based here, Vegas Golden Knights and Arizona Coyotes. These two teams have something in common, they both have something to prove this year.
Starting with Vegas Golden Knights which stood for a huge sensation last year with finishing runner-up to Washington Capitals. Now they need to prove to themselves, that they are not a bunch of misfits. When the players arrived in Vegas last season, most of them were offered a 1-year contract, so it was not expected by them to perform as well as they did. However due to the results, many players were offered long contracts and now needs to perform once again, to prove that they belong where they ended last season. Not only for themselves but for their town and their new fans, since hockey is the new big thing in Vegas!
Arizona Coyotes is a team like Buffalo which had a few tough seasons behind them. What differs them is that Buffalo have a very loyal fan base and Arizona is struggling here. Arizona must make a good season now to win their fans back; There is so much unreleased talent in this team, so they have all chances to do a good season. If this is the year when their young players come through, then it will a very good year for Arizona!
This was our preview of some of the teams in NHL. We know that we didn't write about all teams and if you feel that you are missing some information, make sure to check your team official homepage for the latest news. On the other hand, something that is super exciting is that this season has more than 140 Vikings in the NHL, coming from Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Denmark. Which one is your favorite? It is only a few days left now until the puck drops, and you can be sure that ScandiBet has the best odds throughout the whole season for NHL. We at ScandiBet will see you Vikings in the rink!