2014-15 NHL Season Preview
By: Jacquelyn Howell
It’s the time of year that all hockey fans have been anxiously been waiting for: the start of the new season. The 2014 Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings enter the season with high hopes of winning back-to-back championships. Some teams are looking for redemption from last season’s playoffs while others seek improvement. To all hockey fans, this is what the season is predicted to look like.
Both the Eastern and Western Conferences boast numerous Stanley Cup competitors. In the west, the Kings are entering the season with the intention of being the first team since ‘98 to win back-to-back Stanley Cups. With the team suffering minimal losses from last season, the Kings have a great chance to keep the title. With Jonathan Quick in goal and defenseman Drew Doughty, the defensive end of this team will put up a hard front for offenses of opposing teams. These guys will be key if the team makes it to the playoffs. However, the other big contender this season is the Chicago Blackhawks, who missed the finals by one over-time goal against the Kings, so this team is hungry for redemption. The addition of Brad Richards gives the team strength in the center that the team lacked the past season. Returning wingers Brandon Saad and Patrick Kane give this team an offensive.
Looking at the competition in the East, the Boston Bruins are anticipated to do well this season. This team has been guided by its strong defensive presence, and this year is no different. Goalie Tuukka Rask and defenseman Zdeno Chara are going to be key players for producing some important shut outs for this team, but the offense will have to dig deep and make some key goals to keep this team alive. On the other hand, Pittsburgh Penguins are predicted to go quite far this season. The most notable player from this team is center Sidney Crosby, who was not only the team’s top scorer, but also the league’s top scorer. With the addition of defenseman Christian Ehrhoff and new coach Mike Johnston, the Penguins have room for significant improvements this season.
There are quite a few teams who, on paper, may not appear as strong, but they shouldn’t be disregarded just yet. The New York Rangers, last seasons Stanley Cup runner-up, will want to redeem itself. The team made a descent amount of adjustments over the summer, losing some players and gaining others. One of the strongest players resides in the goal, Henrik Lundqvist, who had three games of 40 or more saves in the Stanley Cup final. The Tampa Bay Lightning also have a strong offense, especially out in the wings. These players tend to be faster, which will give the team an advantage over the slower defenses in the league. Also, be on the look out for teams like such as the Dallas Stars, New York Islanders, and Columbus Blue Jackets. These three franchises have been putting quite a bit of effort into rebuilding the team infrastructure and could possibly make a couple of important moves to make them play-off material if executed correctly.
Just taking a quick glimpse into the season, depending on who you’re a fan of, this could be quite an exciting season. Will the Kings create a dynasty that has not happened in over a decade or will another team take this dream away for them? There’s only one way to find out. Welcome to the 2014-15 NHL season, hockey fans.