The NHL preseason is wrapping up shortly this week, with the regular season slated to start next week. The season starts on October 12th with the Pittsburgh Penguins playing the Tampa Bay Lighting in Tampa and the Seattle Kraken heading to Vegas to win big. There aren’t many big stories that come out during the NHL preseason.
A few guys get contracts, a few undrafted OHL guys may get an entry-level deal, or an older guy proves he still has it. There was some drama between the Canadians and the Senators with some early physicality between Scott Sabourin and Brandon Baddock. These teams do meet again before the season starts, so look for more action there if those players are still on the roster.
The Seattle Kraken’s first preseason in the NHL has completed, and hockey fans cannot wait for their first game at T-Mobile arena versus the second youngest NHL team in the Golden Knights, who have some serious problems in net. Not a problem that Seattle has with two starting goalies. Keep an eye out for this game as a game of the week next week. The Knights wouldn’t have that problem if they kept MAC, who has been solid for the Blackhawks who have looked much better this year.
The final preseason games of the week are the Philadelphia Flyers vs the Washington Capitals in D.C. on October 8th, the Chicago Blackhawks versus the Minnesota Wild on the 7th, and the final game being Anaheim Ducks versus the Los Angeles Kings on October 9th, the final game of the preseason. For all these games, you can place bets at one of Sports Betting Guide's top-rated NHL bookmakers here!
Chicago Blackhawks at Minnesota Wild- October 7th
These teams meet twice for a preseason home and home before the preseason wraps up. There is no love lost between these two division rivals who play in the Central Division. Arguably the toughest division in the NHL, a division that now has eight teams with the inclusion of the Arizona Coyotes thanks to Seattle joining the league. The biggest story of the Wild’s offseason was the will to win the drama of 2015 5th round pick and Calder Trophy winner Kirill Kaprizov. Kaprizov, AKA Kap, rejected a $9 million x 8-year contract with the Wild this postseason. This 24-year-old pushed away from a table with $72 million dollars on it. He eventually signed a 5-year $45 million dollar contract with the Wild, opting not to stay in Russia where he won the 2019 Gagarin Cup with CSKA Moscow.
The Blackhawks on the other hand are 100% and ready to go. They struggled last season in net with a rotating goalie tandem of Kevin Lankinen and Malcom Subban. There is no question in net now with the addition of three-time Stanley Cup Champion and five-time All-Star, Marc Andre Fleury. I want to emphasize one more time that Chicago gave up nothing to get Fleury. The Blackhawks will also have captain Jonathan Toews, who missed last of last season with Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome.
Philadelphia Flyers at Washington Capitals- October 8th
The Flyers might have been the disappointment of the 2020-2021 season, missing the postseason by 13 points. The big reason for this was the absence of Matt Niskanen, who unexpectedly retired after the 2020 bubble. The Flyers were one win away from the Eastern Conference Final in the bubble, which ended in a 4-0 loss to the New York Islanders. The Flyers BOOSTED their defense by adding Ryan Ellis, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Keith Yandle.
This preseason Yandle has been solid defensively and a quarterback of the Flyers power play, a common critique of the Flyers. Washington lost some key defense pieces as well but with Ovechkin posed to put up another 50 goals, they will be just finding if their young goalies can keep them in the game. There are currently no betting odds on this preseason action.
Anaheim Ducks at Los Angeles Kings- October 9th
I cannot speak enough to how much I have loved the Anaheim Ducks drafts over the last three seasons. Trevor Zegras looks like an early top-three player in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, and he was selected 9th overall. Jamie Drysdale and Jamie Perreault in 2020, Perreault is looking like a steal now. Then just to add the cherry on top, Mason MacTavish is third overall in 2021.
Early projection has him compared to two-time Stanley Cup Champion, Jeff Carter. The Kings have not done badly as well, getting Brandt Clarke 8th overall, he was projected top five in 2021. Quinton Byfield in 2021 2nd overall and Alex Turcotte 5th overall in 2019.
The three California teams play in a tough division with powerhouses in Vegas, Edmonton, and Calgary. Vancouver can also take a step this year, and word is still out on what Seattle might be able to do. In Vegas’ first season they went to the Stanley Cup. I don’t expect Los Angeles and Anaheim to do a whole lot this year, but this a game of the week as we get to see the next batch of California hockey stars do battle before going back down to the AHL or CHL.