NHL Drop of the Pick is Right Around the Corner

NHL+Drop+of+the+Pick+is+Right+Around+the+Corner

By Chandler Tuten

The National Hockey League (NHL) season is getting ready to begin on October 4 and  should be promising since last season the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Nashville Predators in six games to claim the Stanley Cup. The 2017-18 season will be interesting with the addition of a new team, Las Vegas Golden Knights, and the question most hockey fans ask at the beginning of every new season, is this the Caps’ year?

The Las Vegas Golden Knights are set to take the ice for the first time this season.  They will be a member of the Pacific Division in the Western Conference.  The Knights have a full team that was picked in an expansion draft. An expansion draft occurs when a new team is added to the league and other teams in the league can protect players and unprotect players. The players that are not protected can be drafted by the new team and therefore play for them.  Throughout the course of history expansion teams usually struggle at first, but after a few seasons they become playoff teams. For example the San Jose Sharks did not make the playoffs the first two years they entered the league, but became a playoff team their third year.  The Golden Knights are projected to be a young promising team with highly experience veterans.  Some of the players picked up from the Knights include; goalie Marc Andre-Fluery who is a two-time all-star and a Stanley Cup Champion, and they also have left wing James Neal who is also a two-time all-star who once led the league in powerplay goals. Neal also has experience in league so he can provide strong leadership for the young guys on the Knights such as center Cody Eakin and left wing William Carrier.

Is this the Capitals year? For many years the Washington Capitals have been favorites to win the Stanley Cup and every time they fail to reach that goal. After an early post-season defeat to the Pittsburgh Penguins the Capitals are headed into another long defeated offseason. They lost some top players from last year’s roster including Kevin Shattenkirk, Karl Alzner, and Marcus Johansson. But according to NHL.com, “The Capitals are once again favorites because they still have great goal scorers in Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie.” With time running out on some star players contracts including, team captain Alex Ovechkin, this may be the last shot for a Stanley Cup Final.