NHL Skates Off to a Great Start Following COVID-19


After a modified 2020-21 season, the NHL is back in full swing. This year, every stadium in the league will have at least some fans in attendance.

Evan Liberman, Managing Editor

After a modified 2020-21 season, the 2021-22 NHL season kicked off with a bang: teams were finally able to travel beyond their regions and no longer had to manage both a roster and a taxi squad. Further, every team opened with fans in the stands, and most stadiums were at full capacity. 

But with each new season comes new surprises. Here are the three biggest stories and surprises of the NHL season so far: 

  1. Panthers claw their way back to the top

After a successful last season, the Panthers are poised to improve. During the offseason, the Cats lost a reliable netminder in Chris Driedger and centerman Alexander Wennberg, who put up nearly 30 points last season. However, they gained former second overall pick Sam Reinhart and veteran Joe Thornton. However, after years of mediocrity and inconsistency, even when things were looking up for them, it was anyone’s guess as to how they would perform. But the Panthers where they picked up last season, dominating teams left and right. In fact, as of Oct. 30, the Panthers remain undefeated–boasting a 8-0 record–and sit at #1 in the league. If the Panthers continue at this rate, they will certainly be in contention for the Presidents’ Trophy.

2. The Canadians tank after Stanley Cup Final run

Last season, the Habs had a mediocre regular season (they went 24-21-11) and claimed the fourth seed in their division, but they turned up the heat in the playoffs, making their way all the way to the finals. In the process, they beat out the first seed Toronto Maple Leafs and third seed Winnipeg Jets. However, they were handily defeated by the Tampa Bay Lightning in five games by the Stanley Cup Finals. During the offseason, the Canadians lost centerman Phillip Danault, who had put up over 100 points in his final three seasons with the team. This might be one of the reasons the Canadians have just two regular-season wins through eight games. Now the question is, will the Canadians return to their glory from last year or remain in the proverbial cellar?

3. Kraken holding their own against established NHL teams

Perhaps the most exciting storyline of the season so far has been the addition of the NHL’s 32nd team: the Seattle Kraken. The Kraken have a surprising 3-4-1 record, which is above expectations for a team in its first year. In fact, the Kraken have been able to hold their own against well-established teams. For instance, in their Oct. 23 home opener, they were tied with the Vancouver Canucks for most of the game and only fell behind in the last five minutes of the game. The same story holds true for many of their other games as well. Moreover, the Kraken secured 32,000 deposits on season tickets in just a single day and fans packed Climate Pledge Arena as full as it would go at their first home game. Only time will tell whether or not the Kraken will become the next Vegas Golden Knights and make a deep run into the playoffs in just their first season.