Catching up on an attention-grabbing NHL season

That is an excerpt from The Buzzer, which is CBC Sports activities’ day by day e mail e-newsletter. Keep up to the mark on what’s occurring in sports activities by subscribing right here.

From modifications to the All-Star Sport to future Corridor of Famer Patrick Kane signing with Detroit to regardless of the hell occurred with Corey Perry in Chicago, it has been a newsy week within the NHL. And, final night time, the common season formally reached the quarter mark.

Looks like a superb time to atone for some attention-grabbing stuff occurring across the league:

The Vancouver Canucks are essentially the most nice shock.

After lacking the playoffs the final three years and burning by means of two head coaches, Vancouver all of a sudden finds itself tied for the second-most factors within the league, trailing solely Stanley Cup champion Vegas. The Canucks (15-7-1) prime all groups in complete targets and have the person targets chief in Brock Boeser together with three of the highest eight point-getters in J.T. Miller, Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson.

The opposite two Canadian groups in playoff place in the mean time are Toronto (11-6-3) and Winnipeg (12-7-2). Disarrayed Calgary (9-10-3) and disappointing Edmonton (8-12-1) try to remain afloat within the Western Convention whereas rebuilding Montreal (9-10-2) is close to the underside of the East.

Then there’s Ottawa. The Senators seem like a multitude as they sit lifeless final within the East after ahead Shane Pinto was suspended 41 video games for sports activities playing and new proprietor Michael Andlauer fired basic supervisor Pierre Dorion. However they’ve performed solely 17 video games — six fewer than another groups — and are a not-awful 8-9-0 with a plus-1 objective differential.

So, there’s hope for an enormous turnaround in Ottawa. However they will want the groups forward of them to buck current historical past. Within the salary-cap period, solely 1 / 4 of the groups who held a playoff spot on U.S. Thanksgiving ended up not making it.

It is the yr of the defenceman.

Again in April, Erik Karlsson put the ending touches on the primary 100-point season by a defenceman in 31 years. Now, two youthful blue-liners are tearing up the league.

Vancouver’s Quinn Hughes, 24, grew to become the primary defenceman since Bobby Orr to achieve the 30-point mark earlier than every other participant, doing so in simply 19 video games. Hughes is at the moment third within the factors race — one spot forward of Cale Makar, the 25-year-old Colorado defenceman who leads the league in assists. No NHL season has ever ended with two defencemen among the many prime 5 in scoring.

Hughes is on tempo for 118 factors and Makar, who’s performed fewer video games, for 125. Each totals can be the best by a defenceman in almost 4 a long time, and essentially the most by any blue-liner in historical past moreover Orr and Paul Coffey.

Sure, the NHL is within the midst of its highest-scoring three-year stretch for the reason that early ’90s. However that is some fairly spectacular firm.

Connor McDavid is coming alive.

After ending with the sixth-best file total final season, McDavid’s Oilers have been an enormous disappointment. They’re at the moment twenty eighth within the league and have fallen from the highest-scoring group final season to tied for tenth in targets per recreation.

A lot of Edmonton’s struggles might be chalked as much as an unhealthy McDavid, who missed two video games with an upper-body harm and was clearly hurting for at the very least just a few extra. The world’s finest participant merely didn’t seem like the identical man who ran away together with his third MVP and fifth scoring title final season by racking up 153 factors — essentially the most in a season by anybody apart from Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux or Steve Yzerman.

However the outdated McDavid is again. After a objective and two assists in final night time’s 5-4 shootout win over league-best Vegas, he has 12 factors in his final three video games — all wins for the Oilers, who’ve taken 5 of eight underneath coach Kris Knoblauch after Jay Woodcroft was fired.

McDavid nonetheless ranks simply ninth within the factors race with 28 in 19 video games — tied with teammate Leon Draisaitl, who’s additionally off to a gradual begin by his lofty requirements. However would you wager in opposition to him rallying to win his fourth straight Artwork Ross?

Connor Bedard resides as much as the hype.

All of the Perry-related drama in Chicago however, the NHL’s most fun prospect since McDavid is having fun with a wonderful rookie season. With 10 targets in 20 video games, Bedard is on tempo for 41. That may be essentially the most by a rookie since Alex Ovechkin potted 52 in 2005-06.

A season after saying goodbye to the three-time Stanley Cup-winning duo of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, Chicago appears to be like poised to pair Bedard with one other prime prospect in subsequent yr’s draft. The group ranks second-last within the NHL with a file of 7-13-0.

Alex Ovechkin may be operating out of gasoline.

Is the Russian machine lastly breaking down? With only one objective previously 17 days, the NHL’s No. 2 all-time objective scorer stays 67 behind Wayne Gretzky’s file of 894. Regardless of having performed in all 18 of Washington’s video games, Ovechkin has scored solely 5 instances, placing the 38-year-old on tempo for a 23-goal season.

That may be Ovechkin’s lowest complete ever, even for those who embrace the pandemic-shortened 2020-21 season, when he performed a career-low 45 video games however nonetheless managed 24 targets. It might additionally depart him 49 targets behind Gretzky, which means Ovechkin would in all probability must play previous his fortieth birthday to get the file he so badly needs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *