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Predict Breakout NHL Stars, Avs' Cup Chances and More

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The 2022-23 NHL season opens on October 11, with a doubleheader scheduled to air on ESPN. Followed by the Tampa Bay Lightning with the New York Rangers at 7:30 ET and the Vegas Golden Knights with the Los Angeles Kings at 10:00 ET. .

We’ve learned a lot about all 32 teams over the course of preseason, but some questions remain. We assembled a panel of reporters and analysts to tackle his top five issues.

  • Who will rise to stardom?

  • Which rookie are you most excited to see?

  • What does Avs need to repeat?

  • Which team will disappoint?

  • Which team will be a pleasant surprise?

How to watch the 2022-23 NHL season Includes 103 exclusive games on the ESPN network and over 1,050 games on NHL Power Play on ESPN+.

Who will rise to stardom this season?

Ryan S. Clarke, NHL Reporter: Moritz Cider won the Calder Trophy last season with 52 points in 82 games. He could further his profile with another outstanding season, potentially attracting Norris Trophy consideration.

Leah Hextal, NHL Broadcaster: Fresh out of a four-year, $31 million deal, Jason Robertson is highly motivated and has the ability to build repeatable 40+ goal seasons with Dallas. He’s a Dallas star and set to become a hockey virtuoso.

Viktoria Matthias, NHL Analyst: I don’t think I’ve seen anything close to Lucas Raymond’s abilities yet. He leveled off a bit last April, suggesting his gas tank was nearing empty after an 82-game season, and the 20-year-old was in the Detroit top line against center Dylan Larkin. will be better prepared and more productive throughout his second tour of .

Arda Öcal, NHL Broadcaster: Jack Hughes. He scored some great highlight reel goals last season, including throwing his stick into the crowd after an extra-time winner. It looks clipped. I am here for it all.

Kristen Shilton, NHL Reporter: Cole Corfield. The Canadiens youth came alive late last season under Martin St. Louis. And there’s a huge opportunity in the Montreal lineup. Caulfield has good hands and great shots around the net. He has been able to light it up this season for teams that need it.

Greg Wissinski, NHL Reporter: Tim Stützle has centered Claude Giroux and Alex DeBrincat during the Ottawa Senators’ preseason. He scored 58 goals in 79 games last season. This line could be a multiplier.

Which rookie are you most excited to see?

Clerk: Nine points in their first 10 games last season, Matty Beniers, generated hope that they would have to challenge for the Calder Trophy. Now the question is how he will spend his 82-game season.

Hector: Jake Sanderson. The University of North Dakota product has everything you need for NHL defense. He’s an elite skater, moving the pack, making good decisions, and maturing beyond his years.

Matthias: Cole Perfetti. His 2020 No. 10 overall pick for the Jets is expected to score 65 points. We know teams can use such a boost productively and emotionally.

Nominal: Other than Shane Wright vs Habs we would love to see how Juraj Slavkowski joins the Montreal lineup. Will he start the season there and make an immediate impact? and full of confidence.

Shilton: Mason McTavish. The Anaheim Ducks freshman performed well at his junior Worlds in August, earning MVP honors and leading Canada to gold with 8 goals and 17 points. He brings great skill, speed and creativity to the Dax team.

Wissinski: Many of the newcomers listed here sound very exciting, but are there any among them who hold the very destiny of the team in soft gloves? It was able to determine very well whether to make the playoffs or not, and goaltender Robin Lehner left for the season.

What would it take for Avs to repeat, and what do you think is the likelihood of that happening?



Cale Makar reflects on the offseason after winning the Stanley Cup and what Avalanche hopes to achieve this season.

Clerk: Find a consistent second line center. Nazem Kadori’s departure leaves a hole that the team believes can be filled internally. If not, you may be forced to find answers elsewhere. Either way, they play a key role in determining Avs’ chances of winning back-to-back titles.

Hector: Again, Avalanche will have to pick up where the team left off and most importantly stay healthy. This requires a little luck. But the win window is wide open and it looks like Avs will do well. Oh, Nathan McKinnon didn’t settle for winning.

Matthias: Either Pavel Francouz or Alexandar Georgiev should run the starter gig on the net. Someone — JT Compher or Alex Newhook or someone else — has to do it. somewhat Replaces Nazem Kadori at the center of the second line. I don’t think either will happen.

Nominal: Avs failed to win the Stanley Cup due to goaltending. But they won. With Darcy Kemper gone, it’s the fourth time in his NHL history that a Cup-winning starting goaltender has moved to another team that offseason, and they have Pavel Franks and Alexander Georgiev. If goaltending is good, not great, just good, the team will be in a good position to make another cup run.

Shilton: Colorado needs New Hook to get a second-line center job and Georgiev to enter the prime phase of his career. With the right regrouping, Colorado has a better chance of winning streak.

Wissinski: It’s a bit clichéd, but it pinpoints a previously insatiable hunger for victory. Using years of motivation as fuel for Stanley’s Cup championship is one thing. Awakening the desire for a second cup in a row is something else.Sidney Crosby did. Victor Headman did it. Can Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar do it?

Which team is most likely to disappoint?

Clerk: Winnipeg Jets. They at least have the talent to challenge the wildcard slots. But the same can be said for the Vancouver Canucks and Vegas Golden Knights, who missed the postseason last year. The Jets could return to the playoffs. But it’s also possible they’ll miss out, given that the Western Conference looks to be going strong.

Hector: Boston Bruins. An injury early in the season will make it a difficult task for new head coach Jim Montgomery. Front-line wing Brad Marchand, number one defenseman Charlie McAvoy and top four defenseman Matt Guzelczyk will all miss the first month. B is competitive but not competitive.

Matthias: Washington Capitals. Too old and/or too banged up. Alex Ovechkin will score and rookie Darcy Kemper will steal some, but neither will be enough to get them out of what is becoming an even tougher Metropolitan Division this season.

Nominal: One of the Pittsburgh Penguins or the Washington Capitals. With Sid and Ovi being the star power of this league for so many years, it feels like one of those two teams might not be in the postseason. This is a bummer for many longtime hockey fans. But with many of the same line-ups, especially in the “the band’s back” atmosphere in Pittsburgh, it’s questionable whether Father Time will catch up and whether the legacy will make room for more energetic youngsters in the postseason. But hey, if there are two guys who can easily prove someone wrong…

Shilton: Minnesota Wild. Did they do anything to improve their finish last season? Sure Minnesota has talent, but standing putts are rarely a good sign in the NHL. It looks like another team could blow right up against Wild.

Wissinski: Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks have Bruce Boudreau, Thatcher Demko’s Vezina Trophy-weight goalkeeper, and a strong collection of offensive players. But I don’t like their defense. I’m not selling their depth, there are at least 4 teams better than them in this department. Plus, there’s a strange dysfunction in that organization, as Boudreau’s offseason negotiations mean.

Which team is most likely to surprise in a positive way?

Clerk: Ottawa Senator. Acquisitions of Alex DeBrincat and Claude Giroux further strengthen their top-six selection with two productive players. Jake Sanderson may be the latest homegrown talent to represent what makes Sense’s plans so promising. It raises questions about how to manage it on the net.

Hector: Detroit Red Wings. GM Steve Yzerman worked in free agency and signed the likes of David Peron, Andrew Kopp, Dominic Kubarik, Ben Kiarrott and Ori Mata. He found a solution online and signed a trade for Ville Fusso, who played for St. Louis. Add this to Detroit’s young stars, and we could see the Wings make big strides under new head coach Derek Lalonde.

Matthias: Columbus Blue Jackets. Youngsters Kent Johnson and Cole Schillinger will make a big impact sooner than you think. The addition of the underrated Erik Gudbranson will help strengthen the blue line. He’s just one player in his ranks, but Johnny Gaudreau is as dynamic an addition as they come.

Nominal: New York Islanders. Last season was going to be a series of unfortunate events. His one of their fundamental players, Matthew Berthal, is currently on a long-term deal. Ilya Sorokin is poised to step into the spotlight as his top goalkeeper in the league. This team has what it takes to prove last season was an anomaly and remind the league why they made it to the conference finals for the second time in a row.

Shilton: Buffalo Sabers. From Tage Thompson to Rasmus Dahlin to Alex Tuch, there’s a genuine sense of optimism around that growing group. Eric Comrie’s addition to the net was an underrated offseason move. It doesn’t look like the Sabers will be eliminated easily this season.

Wissinski: New Jersey Devils. The Devils could make the leap to the playoffs if new assistant coach Andrew Brunett fixes their power play, finally gets a competent goalie and doesn’t get crushed again by injuries to top players like Jack Hughes. I think that’s all that happens to young and talented teams.