The NHL has hit the quarter-season mark, and already we have seen some turmoil. Among the season’s largest early disappointments haven’t wasted any time making modifications to salvage their seasons; 4 teams (the Blackhawks, Blues, Kings and Oilers) fired their coaches, and the Flyers dismissed GM Ron Hextall. The Golden Knights are lacking the juju from their inaugural season, and accidents have piled up for many teams (however it appears particularly dangerous for the Geese).

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Then we now have the nice surprises: The Sabres have been a classy sleeper choose this preseason, however who would have thought Jack Eichel, Jeff Skinner & Co. would produce probably the greatest data within the Japanese Convention? (With 34 factors, Buffalo enters Tuesday forward of each the Maple Leafs and the Bruins). The Flames are atop the wide-open Pacific Division. The Preds reign within the Central, although final 12 months’s ahead-of-schedule shock, the Avalanche, have not proven a lot signal of drop-off. The Hurricanes appear to love being the plucky, younger underdogs and celebrating as such.

The previous 5 seasons, 62 of the 80 teams in playoff spots as of American Thanksgiving have gone on to clinch playoff berths. Who will assist cement that development, and who will buck it? Here is a look at the place all 31 teams stand, together with their largest issues and a bold prediction for how the season will end.

Learn by way of all 31 teams by division, or skip forward to your staff by clicking on its brand under:

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Word: Preseason standings level projections are per the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.

Metropolitan Division

Preseason standings level projection: 85.5

Present standings level tempo: 89

No. 1 takeaway so far: The Canes is likely to be having probably the most enjoyable of any staff within the NHL proper now — together with creating, and defending, their postgame celebrations — as first-year coach Rod Brind’Amour has his staff preventing for a playoff spot within the wide-open Metro.

Largest concern: The Hurricanes are presently juggling a three-goalie conundrum, which isn’t sustainable. Carolina will want to decide soon; does it have the center to do one thing troublesome, resembling hand over on Scott Darling within the second 12 months of a four-year contract?

Bold prediction: The Canes transfer on from the Darling-as-a-No. 1 experiment by December. Curtis McElhinney and Petr Mrazek give this upstart staff the very best likelihood to win.

Preseason standings level projection: 97.5

Present standings level tempo: 103

No. 1 takeaway so far: The Blue Jackets appear to be in management. They’re getting higher secondary manufacturing exterior Artemi Panarin, together with from Cam Atkinson, Josh Anderson, Pierre-Luc Dubois and one of many 12 months’s finest redemption tales, Anthony Duclair.

Largest concern: The uncertainty surrounding Panarin’s and Sergei Bobrovsky’s futures nonetheless lingers. It is going to be awkward when this staff is pushing for a prime playoff seed and has to resolve whether or not to deal one, or two, of its star gamers.

Bold prediction: Panarin and Bobrovsky each keep previous the commerce deadline as GM Jarmo Kekalainen decides to go all-in with this group.

Preseason standings level projection: 91.5

Present standings level tempo: 78

No. 1 takeaway so far: The Devils sit at the underside of the Metro, however a run to the highest is not not possible. New Jersey’s offense is performing effectively, and the superior stats (together with a sixth-best anticipated targets for proportion) say that if the Devils maintain taking part in this manner, outcomes will enhance.

Largest concern: It has been a shaky go for Cory Schneider since his return from offseason hip surgical procedure. Keith Kinkaid is a serviceable fill-in, however the Devils might actually use Schneider at full kind and a greater defensive effort in entrance of him.

Bold prediction: The Devils maintain taking part in exhausting below John Hynes, clear up the protection and discover themselves as soon as once more an unlikely playoff staff.

Preseason standings level projection: 82.5

Present standings level tempo: 93

No. 1 takeaway so far: The Isles might need felt slighted after John Tavares picked the Maple Leafs, however they’re doing simply advantageous with out him. Seems, New York’s core was sturdier than we thought.

Largest concern: The Islanders are nonetheless sporting a league-high PDO at 5-on-5, and so they have already begun to present indicators of the inevitable regression to the imply.

Bold prediction: The goaltending duo of Thomas Greiss and Robin Lehner truly holds up. Regardless of a couple of shaky performances by every currently, the tandem will develop into the most important goaltending success story of the season.

Preseason standings level projection: 75.5

Present standings level tempo: 92

No. 1 takeaway so far: Rebuild? What rebuild? The younger, plucky Rangers, below first-year coach David Quinn — who has an affinity for motivation-through-benching — are shockingly within the playoff hunt.

Largest concern: This was all a mirage. Bolstered by some classic Henrik Lundqvist goaltending and impressed, us-against-the-world-play, the Blueshirts overachieved by way of the primary quarter. However look at the expertise stage on this roster. Is it actually sustainable?

Bold prediction: The Rangers make the playoffs. Not solely that, however they make a run, simply as they’ve for the higher a part of this decade, with a way more seasoned and star-studded roster.

Preseason standings level projection: 97.5

Present standings level tempo: 78

No. 1 takeaway so far: This staff is lots farther from a playoff contender than we thought. After all, goaltending is a big problem — that is the Flyers we’re speaking about right here — however so are the gradual begins, a sloppy penalty kill and an absence of consistency. All of it led to the staff slicing ties with GM Ron Hextall on Monday.

Largest concern: The middling mixture of Brian Elliott, Michal Neuvirth, Anthony Stolarz, Alex Lyon and Cal Pickard has posted a league-worst .880 save proportion. High prospect Carter Hart continues to be adjusting to the professional recreation in Allentown, which implies instant assist is probably going not on the best way.

Bold prediction: Following the staff’s firing of Hextall, the brand new GM makes a bold commerce to attempt to salvage the season. The probably candidate is 30-year-old winger Wayne Simmonds, who’s on the ultimate 12 months of his contract.

  • The 2016 draft choose is Philly’s future franchise goalie. Regardless of the group’s endurance, the 20-year-old needs to speed up his ascension.

  • The Blackhawks swapped one first-rounder for two from the Coyotes. Which staff got here out forward?

  • Connor McDavid deserves higher than this. Plus, projections on the 2019 playoff subject, Gritty’s huge week, Jersey Fouls of the week and extra.

2 Associated

Preseason standings level projection: 102.5

Present standings level tempo: 86

No. 1 takeaway so far: It has been a sluggish begin. Impatient GM Jim Rutherford has already made one huge commerce (swapping Carl Hagelin for Tanner Pearson) and has threatened to shake up his roster even additional.

Largest concern: What is going on on with Matt Murray? The 24-year-old netminder is on harm reserve but once more, and he has hardly regarded just like the No. 1 franchise goaltender the Penguins consider him to be. Pittsburgh, making an attempt to endure a tense time, should lean on the much less skilled Casey DeSmith.

Bold prediction: It is fairly apparent that Rutherford nonetheless is not happy with the present roster. In want of a defenseman, the GM ships out the favored Bryan Rust.

Preseason standings level projection: 97.5

Present standings level tempo: 106

No. 1 takeaway so far: The band got here again collectively however have not been in a position to all play collectively for most of this season due to accidents and suspensions. Nonetheless, Washington has stayed afloat whereas Alex Ovechkin (18 targets, one behind the league leaders) laughs at anybody who suggests a Cup hangover, be it actual or figurative.

Largest concern: The protection hasn’t been too leaky, however it additionally hasn’t been stellar, with some puck administration points. The Caps have allowed Three.04 targets per recreation as Todd Reirden has already tried shuffling pairs to get the group going.

Bold prediction: Braden Holtby is off to a gradual begin, by his requirements, however will warmth up this winter and end top-five in save proportion within the NHL, as soon as once more rising as a Vezina Trophy candidate.

Atlantic Division

Preseason standings level projection: 102.5

Present standings level tempo: 103

No. 1 takeaway so far: That the Bruins are adequate to win regardless of having almost each defenseman on the roster injured not directly, form or kind (or so it will appear). Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug, Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, Kevan Miller and others have missed time this season. But Boston has the second-lowest targets towards common within the NHL (2.39). Thanks, staff protection and Jaroslav Halak!

Largest concern: The Bruins have been within the backside third within the league on offense (2.83 targets per recreation), and being 26th total in 5-on-5 targets is a giant motive why, particularly after being within the prime 10 in that class final season. The reality is that the Bruins’ scoring at ahead runs 5 gamers deep proper now, and that is not what you need to see figuring out that the mile-deep Maple Leafs or Lightning might be blocking the street to a championship.

Bold prediction: Regardless of his early-season struggles, Tuukka Rask finally ends up with higher total numbers than Halak by season’s finish.

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Preseason standings level projection: 80.5

Present standings level tempo: 116

No. 1 takeaway so far: That the hockey world had to wait far too lengthy for Jeff Skinner to play with an elite middle. With all due respect to Victor Rask, Riley Nash, Elias Lindholm and Eric Staal (earlier than he found out how to be Eric Staal once more in Minnesota), taking part in with Jack Eichel has been revelatory for Skinner, who has 18 targets by way of 24 video games. Sure, Jack has a historical past of boosting his linemates’ capturing percentages. However Skinner went from an Eight.7 p.c clip to a 22.5 p.c clip to date this season. That is unimaginable.

Largest concern: There are some underlying metrics which are encouraging, like the truth that this is not only a journey on the PDO prepare (the Sabres have a PDO of 100.Eight, with league common at 100). However they’re on the unfavourable aspect of possession (49.Three Corsi for proportion) and are only a plus-Three in 5-on-5 purpose differential. However truthfully, the most important concern is that both Eichel or Skinner goes down with an harm; not solely as a result of they’ve a historical past of doing so, however as a result of that prime line is a such an engine for this staff.

Bold prediction: Jeff Skinner’s contract scenario lingers by way of the season into the postseason, and the phrase “testing the market” begins to ship shivers down Buffalo followers’ spines.

Preseason standings level projection: 75.5

Present standings level tempo: 79

No. 1 takeaway so far: That Andreas Athanasiou would possibly lastly be one thing greater than a set of wheels. The 24-year-old ahead has 10 targets in 19 video games, almost doubling the very best goals-per-game mark of his profession. On a staff nonetheless struggling to discover complete staff offense — at 2.65 targets per recreation, the Crimson Wings are 28th within the NHL — he has been a revelation and a hope for the long run.

Largest concern: That regardless of some indicators of life and early competition, this stays a defensively porous, offensively challenged staff that inexplicably has its head pushed up towards the wage cap ceiling. OK, “inexplicably” in all probability is not right. It’s very Ken Holland’s fault.

Bold prediction: That Jimmy Howard commerce we all figured would occur at some level over the past three years lastly occurs at the commerce deadline, with the Wings choosing up a part of the wage tab.

Preseason standings level projection: 94.5

Present standings level tempo: 82

No. 1 takeaway so far: That expectation shouldn’t be execution. The Panthers have been picked by many (raises hand) to have a breakout season, however by way of 21 video games they’re final within the Japanese Convention. Most of that is due to their protection, within the sense that they have not performed a lot of it: Three.62 targets allowed per recreation, which is second solely to Ottawa by way of 21 video games. Solely 4 Panthers who’ve performed at least 15 video games have a optimistic purpose differential at 5-on-5.

Largest concern: A lot of this defensive failure tracks again to their goaltending, as James Reimer, Roberto Luongo and Michael Hutchinson have mixed for an .884 staff save proportion, second worst within the NHL to the Flyers, who simply fired their normal supervisor.

Bold prediction: The Panthers catch fireplace and rally to make the Japanese Convention playoffs as a wild-card staff, as a result of I hate being unsuitable.

Preseason standings level projection: 80.5

Present standings level tempo: 92

No. 1 takeaway so far: That apparently Max Domi and Tomas Tatar had a bit extra to provide. Acquired from the Coyotes for Alex Galchenyuk, Domi has 26 factors in his first 24 video games, together with 11 targets, surpassing his complete from final season (9). Acquired within the Max Pacioretty commerce, Tatar has 10 targets in 24 video games for the Habs, or two greater than Pacioretty has with Vegas.

Largest concern: Carey Worth. Which is a bizarre factor to say when the Habs are on the wild-card bubble and exceeding expectations. However frankly, they’re successful regardless of Worth, who has a minus-6.28 targets saved above common and a .902 even-strength save proportion.

Bold prediction: The Canadiens promote excessive on Andrew Shaw at the commerce deadline.

Preseason standings level projection: 69.5

Present standings level tempo: 72

No. 1 takeaway so far: That dangerous might be good. There have been few teams as entertaining because the Ottawa Senators this season, who’re third within the NHL in targets scored per recreation (Three.61) however final within the NHL in targets allowed per recreation by a rustic mile (Four.35). And that is simply on the ice: Who knew that the cyberbullying scandal from earlier this calendar 12 months was simply the appetizer for the “gamers speaking smack on an Uber digicam” and “staff probably creating Twitter sock puppets to defend beleaguered proprietor” scandals?

Largest concern: That the Senators proceed to run cold and hot and do not end with the league’s worst report in a rebuilding 12 months. Wait, sorry … that is truly Avalanche GM Joe Sakic’s largest concern in regards to the Senators, since Colorado owns their 2019 first-rounder.

Bold prediction: Matt Duchene parlays his contract-year success right into a long-term take care of the Senators price eight years and $Eight.Three million yearly.

Preseason standings level projection: 107.5

Present standings level tempo: 120

No. 1 takeaway so far: Depth, depth and extra depth. How the Lightning regarded on paper coming into the season is how they’ve performed, as Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Level, Yanni Gourde, Steven Stamkos, J.T. Miller, Tyler Johnson and Ryan McDonagh — having a Norris Trophy-worthy season, in accordance to coach Jon Cooper — are all 17 factors or higher by way of 24 video games. Cooper’s like a chef with entry to gourmand components: Irrespective of what number of occasions he modifies the recipe by way of his frequent line scrambling, the outcomes are delicious, to the tune of three.79 targets per recreation, the very best within the NHL by way of 24 video games.

Largest concern: That the teachings they’re studying this season on protection aren’t utilized within the postseason. The Lightning have made a concerted effort to be a extra full defensive staff in entrance of (presently injured) goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy. It is going to be the important thing to successful these marathon Japanese Convention ultimate collection they’ve misplaced in two of the final three seasons, within the sense stronger and extra assured construction can finish these collection earlier than they attain a sphincter-clenching seventh recreation.

Bold prediction: Brayden Level leads the Bolts in targets and, as is custom, Skilled Hockey Writers Affiliation voters lastly acknowledge him for his protection with a Selke Trophy nomination.

Preseason standings level projection: 106.5

Present standings level tempo: 112

No. 1 takeaway so far: The Leafs are Eight-5 with out the injured Auston Matthews within the lineup, and 16-Eight-Zero with out William Nylander within the lineup, because the latter’s contract scenario has saved him off the ice for the whole thing of the season. Mitch Marner has 30 factors in 24 video games, whereas John Tavares had 15 targets in 24 video games. It is a staff that had appreciable depth, however one which has proven a powerful perspicacity for dealing with adversity.

Largest concern: The protection corps nonetheless stays the weakest a part of the roster. Solely two Maple Leafs defensemen are on the optimistic aspect of the shot-attempts counter at 5-on-5 (Travis Dermott, Igor Ozhiganov); and whereas their pictures towards per recreation are down a couple of shot per recreation from final season, their goalies are nonetheless seeing 32.7 pictures towards per contest.

Bold prediction: William Nylander indicators earlier than Saturday’s deadline, and all this chatter about how this very particular scenario affecting one particular staff is someway a harbinger of doom for different teams going through second contracts comes to an finish.

Central Division

Preseason standings level projection: 85.5

Present standings level tempo: 79

No. 1 takeaway so far: The Blackhawks’ dramatic firing coach of Joel Quenneville 15 video games into the season (and promotion of 33-year-old Jeremy Colliton) means the staff is wanting to the long run, although administration is reluctant to embrace a full rebuild simply but.

Largest concern: The staff stays caught in impartial. The hodgepodge roster of an growing old star core and unseasoned younger expertise cannot sustain with extra balanced teams, and the Blackhawks lose relevance in a aggressive market.

Bold prediction: GM Stan Bowman finds a method to take one in every of his unmovable contracts off the books; probably (and conservatively), it is middle Artem Anisimov, who has a restricted no-trade clause and is a gorgeous middle-six choice for teams within the playoff hunt.

  • The 2016 draft choose is Philly’s future franchise goalie. Regardless of the group’s endurance, the 20-year-old needs to speed up his ascension.

  • The Blackhawks swapped one first-rounder for two from the Coyotes. Which staff got here out forward?

  • Connor McDavid deserves higher than this. Plus, projections on the 2019 playoff subject, Gritty’s huge week, Jersey Fouls of the week and extra.

2 Associated

Preseason standings level projection: 89.5

Present standings level tempo: 107

No. 1 takeaway so far: The Avalanche proceed to be plucky overachievers. They’re propelled by the spectacular prime line of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog, although children are stepping up (and growing properly). In the meantime, the platoon of Semyon Varlamov and Philipp Grubauer goes in addition to anticipated.

Largest concern: The Avalanche have had no bother with scoring, with the league’s second-best offense (Three.74 targets per recreation). Additionally they have the league’s highest capturing proportion, that means they have been at least a bit fortunate.

Bold prediction: Final season, the highest line willed this staff into the playoffs with out a lot secondary manufacturing. The hole will shrink because the season progresses, as gamers resembling Alexander Kerfoot and J.T. Compher (who missed time with a head harm) start to discover their groove.

Preseason standings level projection: 94.5

Present standings level tempo: 89

No. 1 takeaway so far: The Stars have been hit by the harm bug, particularly on the blue line, and have endured some inconsistencies (together with a 12-game goalless drought from Tyler Seguin) however stay well-positioned for a playoff spot.

Largest concern: Streakiness is anticipated with a brand new coach implementing one more new system, however the diminishing energy play (the Stars have scored solely 5 power-play targets prior to now 52 alternatives) feels inexcusable.

Bold prediction: Hey, the Calder Trophy will in all probability go to a ahead, as per normal, and sure Vancouver’s Elias Pettersson. But when Miro Heiskanen retains up his sturdy play, the 19-year-old defenseman might truly make it a race.

Preseason standings level projection: 95.5

Present standings level tempo: 107

No. 1 takeaway so far: First-year GM Paul Fenton barely tweaked the roster, and the staff he inherited continues to be fairly good. There’s lots to like about this staff, together with ascending stars resembling Matt Dumba (main all defensemen with 10 targets and averaging almost as a lot ice time as yeoman Ryan Suter).

Largest concern: Final season, the Wild have been ready for Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter to flex the expertise they’ve at all times promised. Now it appears each gamers are nonetheless trending within the unsuitable path.

Bold prediction: It is a star flip for Mikael Granlund — persevering with the NHL’s huge development of the 12 months of the Finns — and the 26-year-old finishes top-20 in scoring.

Preseason standings level projection: 105.5

Present standings level tempo: 120

No. 1 takeaway so far: Rinse, wash, repeat. Even with a couple of current accidents (the most important: Viktor Arvidsson out at least a month), the Predators have the very best report within the Western Convention, with a whopping plus-23 purpose differential.

Largest concern: How can a staff so gifted be so ineffective on the facility play? The Predators have the third-worst energy play within the league (15.2 p.c). Final season, with just about the identical roster, Nashville hit on 21.2 p.c of its alternatives.

Bold prediction: Kevin Fiala shakes off his season-long hunch to develop into the secondary scoring hero the Predators want to win one more Presidents’ Trophy.

Preseason standings level projection: 96.5

Present standings level tempo: 71

No. 1 takeaway so far: The Blues are one of many NHL’s largest quarter-season disappointments. A summer season of bold strikes by GM Doug Armstrong has not panned out, because the built-to-win-now Blues are sitting close to the underside of the division, with fired coach Mike Yeo the casualty.

Largest concern: Even with the teaching change, the group has bother placing up constant effort on a game-to-game foundation. That is problematic as a result of the expertise stage on this roster is nice sufficient to be competing for a prime playoff spot.

Bold prediction: He has threatened this earlier than, however Armstrong lastly shakes up the roster with a commerce of a core participant. Who could be really stunning? Vladimir Tarasenko? Alex Pietrangelo? One of many prime younger gamers resembling Robert Thomas?

Preseason standings level projection: 106.5

Present standings level tempo: 104

No. 1 takeaway so far: The Maple Leafs would possibly shoulder a lot of the consideration, however the Jets are in all probability the Canadian staff with the very best likelihood of ending the nation’s 25-year Stanley Cup drought. The Jets have begun 2018-19 proper the place they left off final spring.

Largest concern: On the floor, the Jets do not have bother discovering offense — rating eighth within the league, scoring Three.36 targets per recreation and with the league’s prime energy play — however five-on-five scoring hasn’t been completely dominant, and the staff wants extra manufacturing from bottom-six forwards.

Bold prediction: Patrik Laine might be streaky, and he is simply heating up now. A scorching December places the Finn forward within the goal-scoring race for good, and he runs away with the Rocket Richard Trophy.

Pacific Division

Preseason standings level projection: 94.5

Present standings level tempo: 82

No. 1 takeaway so far: That John Gibson deserves to be main the Hart Trophy and Vezina Trophy races, provided that his .926 save proportion and a pair of.57 goals-against common defy how disastrous these Geese have been in nearly each different underlying metric.

Largest concern: Decide your poison. Being the second-worst staff in possession, forward of solely Ottawa? Being the second-worst staff in purpose differential, forward of solely Los Angeles? Being carried to playoff competition by a goalie who cannot be anticipated to do it all on his personal?

Bold prediction: Randy Carlyle is a shedding streak away from being fired. That streak hits earlier than the All-Star break.

Preseason standings level projection: 81.5

Present standings level tempo: 75

No. 1 takeaway so far: Why cannot the offense and the protection be on the identical web page? The Coyotes get strong goaltending from Antti Raanta and Darcy Kuemper, to the tune of a 2.82 goals-against common. However their offense is sputtering, with 2.36 targets per recreation, 28th within the NHL.

Largest concern: Offense, offense and offense. Their energy play stinks (15.5 p.c). They did not have a participant with greater than 14 factors at the 22-game mark. The commerce of Dylan Strome and Brendan Perlini for Nick Schmaltz was symbolic of the Coyotes’ need to cease ready on potential and begin demanding outcomes.

Bold prediction: In two years, we’re calling it merely “The Max Domi Commerce.”

Catch greater than 180 NHL video games streaming reside this season on ESPN+. Click on right here for the upcoming schedule and to find out how to subscribe.

Preseason standings level projection: 93.5

Present standings level tempo: 99

No. 1 takeaway so far: The Flames are getting oodles of offense from the road of Johnny Gaudreau (27 factors), Sean Monahan (26 factors) and Elias Lindholm, who has 11 targets and is becoming in precisely as GM Brad Treliving envisioned it. Then there’s the season Matthew Tkachuk is having with normal companion in crime Mikael Backlund, as he has 12 targets and 15 assists in 24 video games. Let’s not neglect defenseman Mark Giordano, who has 22 factors in 24 video games. The Flames have overwhelmed opponents by three or extra targets seven occasions.

Largest concern: The Flames are at 2.83 targets allowed per recreation — center of the pack within the league — which is a tribute to the play of “Huge Save” Dave Rittich, who has a .953 even-strength save proportion whereas Mike Smith stays sub-.900. Our religion within the Calgary goaltending is not precisely excessive; hey, it would not be the primary Invoice Peters staff subverted by lackluster netminding.

Bold prediction: Noah Hanifin outscores Dougie Hamilton on the season.

Preseason standings level projection: 89.5

Present standings level tempo: 78

No. 1 takeaway so far: That Todd McLellan was completely to blame for this staff’s inadequacies, and therefore had to pay for it together with his job. That is foolish, after all, as a result of the Oilers’ issues are due to development and never teaching. And when that is the case, you simply throw some Ken Hitchcock at the issue and see what occurs if you happen to’re GM Peter Chiarelli.

Largest concern: That Hitchcock cannot work his normal magic defensively for the Oilers, who’re saddled by lackluster goaltending and a penalty kill ranked 27th within the NHL.

Bold prediction: Please do not make me do the “Connor McDavid would completely be the MVP have been it not for the Oilers lacking the playoffs” factor once more. I am so bored with that factor.

Preseason standings level projection: 92.5

Present standings level tempo: 61

No. 1 takeaway so far: Boy, that escalated rapidly, huh? John Stevens was fired after a Four-Eight-1 begin that noticed Jonathan Fast restricted to simply 4 appearances due to harm. In comes Willie Desjardins, who decides to play Ilya Kovalchuk below seven minutes per recreation whereas going Four-6-Zero to begin his stint. Kovalchuk, by the best way, has 14 factors to lead the staff in addition to a minus-13, second to Dion Phaneuf’s minus-14. Their mixed age is 68.

Largest concern: We’re going to want the world’s largest dart board and a couple of thousand Put up-it notes with the Kings’ points on them. OK, right here we go. [Throws dart] Anze Kopitar has gone from the very best offensive 12 months of his life to his worst points-per-game common. [Throws dart] Tanner Pearson has three targets in six video games in Pittsburgh after having one help in 17 video games in L.A., which necessitated his commerce. [Throws dart] The Kings look previous on paper, and play even older.

Bold prediction: Say, Ron Hextall wants a job …

Preseason standings level projection: 101.5

Present standings level tempo: 96

No. 1 takeaway so far: That this can be a veteran group with some important enhancements — see Timo Meier’s 13 targets and Erik Karlsson getting again to being Erik Karlsson — on its journey again to difficult for that elusive Stanley Cup. Their most spectacular stat is likely to be that they are leaping on teams within the first interval, to the tune of a plus-12 purpose differential in that body.

Largest concern: Martin Jones. The Sharks have an total staff save proportion of .895, which is dangerous; his .881 even-strength save proportion in 16 begins is even worse. GM Doug Wilson put the staff’s religion in Jones to be a championship-caliber goalie. However goalies who’ve a minus-7.85 targets saved above common should not that, and alas that is the place Jones is true now.

Bold prediction: The Sharks win the Pacific.

Preseason standings level projection: 77.5

Present standings level tempo: 76

No. 1 takeaway so far: That the long run is shiny. The Canucks have come again down to earth after a blistering begin, however that is OK. Between Elias Pettersson’s Calder Trophy marketing campaign (13 targets), Bo Horvat’s 22-point efficiency, the standard play of Nikolay Goldobin and “Shotgun” Jake Virtanen, and the continued burgeoning stardom of Brock Boeser (when wholesome), there’s lots right here to maintain Canucks followers watching, at the same time as their staff slips deeper into the lottery once more regardless of some spectacular teaching from Travis Inexperienced, who’s the true deal.

Largest concern: Shot era. Vancouver is at 28.2 pictures for per recreation, which is 28th within the NHL. That ought to enhance with Boeser again within the lineup, however it’s additionally a sign that the depth nonetheless is not there for Vancouver.

Bold prediction: Alexander Edler does the previous “deadline commerce, solely to re-sign together with his previous staff subsequent season” routine.

Preseason standings level projection: 101.5

Present standings level tempo: 82

No. 1 takeaway so far: Lightning is de facto exhausting to seize twice in a bottle. The Golden Knights are admirably nonetheless within the hunt regardless of shedding free-agent prize Paul Stastny three video games into the season, lacking No. 1 defenseman Nate Schmidt for 20 video games due to suspension, and seeing the overall regression for the whole lot from William Karlsson’s goal-scoring (he is on tempo for about 20 targets, down from 43) to their potential to overwhelm teams (they’ve a minus-1) purpose differential. However a meek division means they’re very a lot nonetheless in it.

Largest concern: The Knights’ energy play continues to be adjusting to the personnel modifications (and early-season manpower losses), clicking at 17.Eight p.c, down from 21.Four p.c final season. Most regarding: It is simply 15.2 p.c at residence, 26th within the NHL, down from 10th final season (24.2).

Bold prediction: The Golden Knights get rolling once more and make the playoff minimize.

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