A new NHL season is upon us, which means this is the time of the year where people make their predictions for the upcoming season.
This preview is going to be a little late to the party since the season started on Oct. 12. I digress.
The playoff picture will remain the same from last season.
The top teams have mostly the same rosters, and some of the bad teams revamped their rosters, such as the Winnipeg Jets and Toronto Maple Leafs.
The playoffs will most likely be same as teams really have not had major changes but lets take a look at one of the top teams and three exciting teams to watch for.
The Penguins are bringing back the same exact roster that helped them win the Cup.
The only problems with this team right now are the injuries to captain Sidney Crosby and goalie Matt Murray.
Murray is a big loss for Pittsburgh because he was most likely to be the starter to open up the season; he broke his hand during the World Cup of Hockey, and he will be out an extended period of time. Crosby is another big loss; he is out indefinitely with a concussion.
The Penguins will miss his skill but Evgeni Malkin always ,steps up when Crosby is not in the lineup.
Malkin has the leadership abilities to help lead Pittsburgh to its way back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
He won’t have to worry about having to do all the scoring himself because he has winger Phil Kessel and young guns Connor Sheary, Tom Kuhnhackl, and Brian Rust who can score. Now let’s move on to the New York Rangers.
The Rangers lasted only five games in the playoffs last season as they lost to Pittsburgh in the first round.
Their offseason started with a slow start as they traded the rights to Keith Yandle to the Florida Panthers for sixth-round pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, goalie Tyler Wall and a fourth-round pick in 2017.
New York then made a big trade with the Ottawa Senators, sending center Derrick Brassard and a 2018 seventh-round pick for center Mika Zibanejad and a 2018 second-round pick. Brassard and Zibanejad both put up similar numbers last season,
Zibanejad had 51 points while Brassard had 58 points. Zibanejad is only 23 and he is a more physical player than Brassard, which is something the Rangers need.
New York also brought in highly-coveted rookie free agent Jimmy Vesey and Russian forward Pavel Buchnevich, who has been playing in the Kontinental Hockey League since he was drafted.
The two rookies won’t be relied on heavily, but they will be expected to produce decent numbers playing in the top six.
The Rangers also brought in power play specialist Brandon Pirri to help improve a poor power play unit that ranked 14 last year.
Michael Grabner and Josh Jooris are also nice additions to the fourth line and penalty kill.
Two teams that might have break-out years are the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets.
Toronto and Winnipeg are going with youth movements hoping the kids will play well enough to get these franchises back into the playoffs.
Toronto has No. 1 overall pick Auston Matthews playing on the top line while they decided that there was no need for veterans on the roster as Brooks Laich and Colin Greening were waived and assigned to the Toronto Marlies of the AHL.
Winnipeg decided it was time to move on from Anthony Peluso and Ondrej Pavelec were assigned to the Manitoba Moose.
Forwards Patrick Laine and Kyle Connor, and goalie Conner Hellebuyck have landed roster spots.
The NHL season is always wacky and no one knows who will win Lord Stanley’s Cup but one bold prediction is that we will see the Winnipeg Whiteout once again this postseason.