Hockey : NHL 2017/2018 season preview

Penguins repeat as Stanley Cup champions

Patric Hornqvist's late goal followed by an empty-netter from Carl Hagelin lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins to a thrilling 2-0 Stanley Cup-clinching victory over the Nashville Predators. With the victory, the Penguins clinched the best-of-seven championship 4-2 to win the franchise's fifth Stanley Cup. They also became the NHL's first repeat champion since Detroit did it 19 years ago.

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was named the Conn Smythe Award winner, the second straight year he earned the honor given to the most valuable player in the postseason.

Pittsburgh - Ottawa4 : 3
Ottawa - NY Ran.4 : 2
Washing. - Pittsburgh3 : 4
Pittsburgh - Columbus4 : 1
Washing. - Toronto4 : 2
Ottawa - Boston4 : 2
Montreal - NY Ran.2 : 4
Atlantic Division
5Tampa B.94
Metropolitan Division
4NY Ran.102
5NY Islan.94
8N. Jersey70
Anaheim - Nashville2 : 4
Anaheim - Edmonton4 : 3
St Louis - Nashville2 : 4
Anaheim - Calgary4 : 0
Minnesota - St Louis1 : 4
Edmonton - San Jose4 : 2
Chicago - Nashville0 : 4
Central Division
3St Louis99
Pacific Division
3San Jose99
5LA Kings86

Vegas Golden Knights

On June 22, 2016, the NHL confirmed that it had granted an expansion franchise in the city of Las Vegas to an ownership group led by Bill Foley, whose identity was revealed as the Vegas Golden Knights on November 22. The team will play in the Pacific Division.

NHL 2016/17 key dates

  • October 4 : Regular season begins
  • January 28 : All-Star Game, Tampa, Florida
  • April 7 : Regular season ends
  • April 10 : Playoffs begins

Stanley Cup favorites

These are odds to win NHL 2017/18 Championship published by online bookmakers before the start of the season:

Pittsburgh Penguins9Boston Bruins26
Edmonton Oilers11Calgary Flames29
Washington Capitals11Florida Panthers34
Tampa Bay Lightning12Ottawa Senators34
Anaheim Ducks13New York Islanders41
Chicago Blackhawks13Philadelphia Flyers41
Nashville Predators13Winnipeg Jets41
New York Rangers15Buffalo Sabres67
Dallas Stars17Carolina Hurricanes67
Montreal Canadiens17Detroit Red Wings67
Los Angeles Kings19Arizona Coyotes81
Minnesota Wild19Vegas Golden Knights81
Toronto Maple Leafs19Colorado Avalanche101
Columbus Blue Jackets21New Jersey Devils101
San Jose Sharks21Vancouver Canucks101
St. Louis Blues26

Pittsburgh Penguins have a chance to do something this season that hasn't been seen in hockey for three decades. That is, hoist three straight Stanley Cups. The last team to accomplish the rare feat was the New York Islanders, who won four consecutive Cups from 1980 to 1983. The Penguins off-season was tough though. Pittsburgh lost significant depth pieces over the summer, most notably Marc-Andre Fleury, Nick Bonino and Chris Kunitz. A successful season would mean additions Antti Niemi, Matt Hunwick and Ryan Reaves have fused seamlessly with the existing core. But one thing we have all learned about the Penguins of the past two years is you can never count them out.

The Edmonton Oilers missed the playoffs for 10 consecutive seasons, but found themselves back in the postseason in Connor McDavid's second season in the NHL. Edmonton was a late-game collapse and some questionable calls away from advancing to the Conference Final last spring. Anything less than the third round in 2018 will be viewed a disappointment. The question marks are mostly concerning depth. In the short-term, an injury to defenceman Andrej Sekera (torn ACL) will keep him out perhaps until Christmas. That's a big hole to fill, and youngsters Matt Benning and Darnell Nurse will have to step up.

This is introduction to 2017/18 NHL season. Latest news, statistics, results and predictions you can find on our main NHL page.

After winning their second straight President's Trophy, the Washington Capitals once again failed to find success in the postseason. They were eliminated by the eventual Stanley Cup Champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second straight season. The Capitals went through major changes this off-season, parting ways with five major roster players from their 2016/17 team. They were quiet during free agency and did not bring in any big names that can make a significant impact on the team. On paper, this year's version of the Capitals does not look as strong as the years past. Getting into the playoffs should not be an issue, but the real question is whether they can finally get past the second round.

The Tampa Bay Lightning took a bit of a tumble last season, an injury-riddled campaign played mostly without captain Steven Stamkos. It was the first time in four years that they hadn't finished in second place in the Atlantic Division. Now with their leading goal-scorer back, expectations are the Lightning will strike again in Tampa Bay. The Lightning are loaded up and down the lineup and all the reasons they were a favourite championship pick a year ago remain true heading into 2017-18.

The Stanley Cup finals in the last five seasons

2017   Pittsburgh Penguins - Nashville Predators   4:2
2016   Pittsburgh Penguins - San Jose Sharks   4:2
2015   Chicago Blackhawks - Tampa Bay   4:2
2014   Los Angeles Kings - New York Rangers   4:1
2013   Chicago Blackhawks - Boston Bruins   4:2

NY Islanders41/8-1/81/4-
NY Rangers41/4finals1/21/81/4
New Jersey3-----
Los Angeles21/2title-1/8-
Tampa Bay1-1/8finals1/2-
St. Louis-1/81/81/81/21/4
San Jose-1/41/8-finals1/8

The table shows the overall number of NHL titles since 1918 and team success in the last five seasons.

Key players

Anaheim Ducks

Center Ryan Getzlaf, wings Rickard Rakell and Corey Perry, defenders Sami Vatanen and Cam Fowler, goaltender John Gibson

Arizona Coyotes

Center Derek Stepan, wings Max Domi and Tobias Rieder, defenders Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Alex Goligoski, goaltender Antti Raanta

Boston Bruins

Center Patrice Bergeron, wings Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, defenders Torey Krug and Charlie McAvoy, goaltender Tuukka Rask

Buffalo Sabres

Center Jack Eichel, wings Evander Kane and Kyle Okposo, defenders Rasmus Ristolainen and Zach Bogosian, goaltender Robin Lehner

Calgary Flames

Center Sean Monahan, wings Johnny Gaudreau and Michael Frolik, defenders Mark Giordano and Dougie Hamilton, goaltender Mike Smith

Carolina Hurricanes

Center Victor Rask, wings Jeff Skinner and Elias Lindholm, defenders Justin Faulk and Jaccob Slavin, goaltender Scott Darling

Chicago Blackhawks

Center Jonathan Toews, wings Brandon Saad and Patrick Kane, defenders Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, goaltender Corey Crawford

Columbus Blue Jackets

Center Brandon Dubinsky, wings Artemi Panarin and Cam Atkinson, defenders Zach Werenski and Seth Jones, goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky

Colorado Avalanche

Center Matt Duchene, wings Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon, defenders Erik Johnson and Tyson Barrie, goaltender Semyon Varlamov

Dallas Stars

Center Tyler Seguin, wings Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov, defenders John Klingberg and Marc Methot, goaltender Ben Bishop

Detroit Red Wings

Center Henrik Zetterberg, wings Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist, defenders Mike Green and Danny DeKeyser, goaltender Jimmy Howard

Edmonton Oilers

Center Connor McDavid, wings Milan Lucic and Leon Draisaitl, defenders Andrej Sekera and Oscar Klefbom, goaltender Cam Talbot

Florida Panthers

Center Aleksander Barkov, wings Jonathan Huberdeau and Radim Vrbata, defenders Aaron Ekblad and Keith Yandle, goaltender Roberto Luongo

Los Angeles Kings

Center Anze Kopitar, wings Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli, defenders Drew Doughty and Jake Muzzin, goaltender Jonathan Quick

Minnesota Wild

Center Eric Staal, wings Zach Parise and Nino Niederreiter, defenders Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon, goaltender Devan Dubnyk

Montreal Canadiens

Center Alex Galchenyuk, wings Max Pacioretty and Jonathan Drouin, defenders Shea Weber and Jeff Petry, goaltender Carey Price

Nashville Predators

Center Ryan Johansen, wings Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson, defenders Roman Josi and P.K. Subban, goaltender Pekka Rinne

New Jersey Devils

Center Travis Zajac, wings Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri, defenders Andy Greene and Damon Severson, goaltender Cory Schneider

New York Islanders

Center John Tavares, wings Anders Lee and Jordan Eberle, defenders Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy, goaltender Thomas Greiss

New York Rangers

Center Mika Zibanejad, wings Chris Kreider and Mats Zuccarello, defenders Ryan McDonagh and Kevin Shattenkirk, goaltender Henrik Lundqvist

Ottawa Senators

Center Kyle Turris, wings Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone, defenders Erik Karlsson and Dion Phaneuf, goaltender Craig Anderson

Philadelphia Flyers

Center Claude Giroux, wings Travis Konecny and Jakub Voracek, defenders Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere, goaltender Brian Elliott

Pittsburgh Penguins

Center Sidney Crosby, wings Jake Guentzel and Phil Kessel, defenders Kris Letang and Justin Schultz, goaltender Matt Murray

San Jose Sharks

Center Logan Couture, wings Jannik Hansen and Joe Pavelski, defenders Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic, goaltender Martin Jones

St Louis Blues

Center Paul Stastny, wings Alexander Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko, defenders Alex Pietrangelo and Colton Parayko, goaltender Jake Allen

Tampa Bay Lightning

Center Steven Stamkos, wings Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov, defenders Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman, goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy

Toronto Maple Leafs

Center Auston Matthews, wings James van Riemsdyk and Mitch Marner, defenders Jake Gardiner and Morgan Rielly, goaltender Frederik Andersen

Vancouver Canucks

Center Henrik Sedin, wings Daniel Sedin and Thomas Vanek, defenders Alexander Edler and Ben Hutton, goaltender Jacob Markstrom

Vegas Golden Knights

Center Vadim Shipachyov, wings David Perron and James Neal, defenders Nate Schmidt and Jason Garrison, goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury

Washington Capitals

Center Nicklas Backstrom, wings Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie, defenders John Carlson and Matt Niskanen, goaltender Braden Holtby

Winnipeg Jets

Center Mark Scheifele, wings Nikolaj Ehlers and Blake Wheeler, defenders Dustin Byfuglien and Jacob Trouba, goaltender Steve Mason

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