NHL hockey is back, well, sort of. It is just the preseason, but it is well underway and fans could not be happier. It’s a pretty exciting season for the NHL as they are finally up to 32 teams in the league with the addition of the Seattle Kraken to the Pacific Division. Everyone is going to be watching as the Kraken get ready for their inaugural season. Curiously enough they are playing their home preseason games in WHL arenas around the state of Washington as the whole state celebrates their overdue welcome to the NHL!
A couple of teams to watch as this preseason winds down are the Tampa Bay Lightning, Philadelphia Flyers, Colorado Avalanche, and Chicago Blackhawks. Tampa Bay has now won back-to-back Stanley Cups by basically cheating the system. They lost a few depth pieces and defensemen, but the core is still there and intact. The Flyers were a serious disappointment last year as in the year prior they were one game from the Eastern Conference Finals. They really solidified their blue line, added some fresh blood to their core with Cam Atkinson, but what they really need is Carter Hart to get back up and ready.
The Colorado Avalanche are the team to beat this year, they have been a postseason disappointment the past few seasons though. They won the President's Trophy and were the West Division Champs and were again eliminated in the second round of the playoffs again. They lost Grubauer, Joonas Donskoi, and Brandon Saad this offseason; and did not do much to replace them. Chicago is always an exciting team to watch but they will have Toews back at full strength and got Marc Andre Fleury for literally nothing. So, hoping they turn it around this year.
Games of the Week
Kraken vs Canucks
Seattle was literally born to be a cross border rival with the Vancouver Canucks. The California teams all equally hate each other, Edmonton and Calgary are not friends, and they tried to create a rivalry between Vegas and Arizona, but it did not pan out. So now there is a true rival for the Canucks in the pacific northwest.
The Kraken did not draft at the expansion like some would have guessed, some big names left on the board, and not too many deals made. Vancouver still has their two best players in Hughes and Pettersson not signed, and their goalie position is still semi questionable as the Holtby experiment did not work for them and he took his services to Dallas. Pettersson and Hughes are definitely close on contracts between the two of them. Vancouver is 2-0 thus far this preseason, with two games between now and their second date with Seattle. Seattle is currently 1-2 with only one game before their second game with Vancouver. There are currently no betting statistics on this game, NHL preseason hockey is weird for betting as we know.
Avalanche vs Golden Knights
If there is a new rivalry out west, it's Vegas and Colorado, but Vegas really took a step back letting Fluery go for absolutely nothing. They got a pick and an ECHL player and bought out the ECHL player. It is really a make or break year for Colorado, they have been so close so many times and failed in the second round. MacKinnon’s contract is coming up and he is due for a massive raise, even though he said he would take less to win in Colorado.
Vegas has sniffed success as well, but their core is getting really expensive and eventually, that floor will fall out. The Avalanche are 1-1 with one game between their next game with Vegas. The Knights are 1-2 after losing to the Kings 3-1, they play the Kings again before meeting the Avalanche for a second time. There are currently no betting stats on this game as well.
Devils vs Rangers
The Rangers have had quite the pickup the last few years after looking like they were heading into a rebuild era. They drafted very well and got K’Andre Miller, who is looking like an absolute gem for them. Ryan Strome has really turned his career around in NY and Adam Fox has to be giving the Flames and Hurricanes slight sellers remorse as he led all defensemen with assists last season and won the James Norris Memorial Trophy. The Devils are still an exciting team to watch with a budding defense core led by Subban and newly acquired Dougie Hamilton. Jack Hughes is still progressing year after year and is sure to be fantastic this season. His brother Luke was recently drafted by the Devils 6th overall but is going to play at Michigan this season. Last season Hischier was named the 12th captain in Devils history, and he has nowhere to go but up from here.
The Rangers are 1-1 and play the Devils this weekend and then play the Bruins, but our game of the week is the game on the 6th, the second to last game of the preseason. The Devils are 1-0 and of course, play the Rangers again but Rangers meet them before our game of the week. There is currently no sports betting advice on these games.