2018-19 National Hockey League Early Season Shakeups


John Paynter, Sports Editor

By John Paynter

Since the draft this summer, the National Hockey League (NHL) is looking to have one of the most exciting seasons yet. Many coaching changes and draft picks have set the tone for the upcoming season.

   To start, last years Stanley Cup winning team, the Washington Capitals, could potentially suffer some difficulties with a big coaching shift from Barry Trotz to Todd Reirden. This could be problematic for the Capitals as coaching changes are not often seen the year prior to a cup win. In fact, coaching changes do not usually occur if the team is successful. It is unclear why the staff changed, however it is theorized that Trotz had conflicts with either the location or General Manager in Washington.

   On top of this, Reirden is new to coaching the NHL, which could be a point of contention for the association as coaching a NHL team can be a lot different coming from coaching in the smaller American Hockey League. Not to mention, the pressure that comes with the Washington Capitals’ high standard and their success in previous seasons.

   The Carolina Hurricanes have also had a major coaching change in this years’ trade deadline, switching head coach from Bill Peters to former Hurricane Rod Brind’Amour. Brind’Amour was a part of the only Stanley Cup win for the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006. With their recent second round draft pick and trade of Jeff Skinner, the Hurricanes look to have a good, young team especially with having captain Jordan Staal lead them.

   “Teams are really starting to take the Hurricanes seriously,” Career Center economics teacher Gary Scott said. “Although they are no Stanley Cup winning team, Brind’Amour will lead them in a more physical style of play, which they need.”

   The recent draft has also shown to be very successful for the Buffalo Sabres as they received the first round draft pick, Rhasmus Dhalin. The Sabres have also acquired Jeff Skinner from the Carolina Hurricanes, giving them a high round draft pick for the next two seasons.

   The Sabres look to be finishing up their rebuilding as they have an increasingly young, deep team with upcoming star Jack Eichel and current star Jeff Skinner. Many wonder what it will take for the Sabres to have a successful season as they seem like they have a star studded lineup, especially with the new draft pick.

Rhasmus Dhalin along with Andrei Svechnicov, who went to the Hurricanes in the second round, are said to be the only two NHL-ready players. Both have displayed impressive skill despite their age and unfamiliarity with the league.

    The Tampa Bay Lightning also look to have a good year with an essential trade, acquiring Ryan McDonough from the New York Rangers. Tampa Bay has had some unsuccessful playoff runs in the past four seasons despite having an extremely competitive team. While it is still very early, a deep playoff run is not out-of-question.

   “I think the Lightning will do very well in the playoffs,” senior John Powers said. “We are returning with a lot of strong forwards who will lead in a consistent offensive play.”

   There is a lot to be excited for this NHL season as things are already kicking off to a great start. With a lot of predictions being made already, only time will tell which teams are the real contenders for the Cup.

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