What I am Excited About For the Upcoming Season
By Patrick Hoffman
With September just a few days away, it is time to start getting pumped for the hockey season.
With that in mind, here is what I am looking forward to when it comes to the season:
The New York Rangers
As you are all well aware of by now, I am a New York Rangers fan. Yes, I consider myself a hockey fan first, but the Blueshirts obviously hold a special place in my heart.
I am excited to see how Artemi Panarin does in his first season under the bright lights of Broadway. He's got an opportunity to wow the crowd and his teammates every single night and become the team's most dynamic and important forward.
Of course, I am also pumped to see the second overall pick of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, Kaapo Kakko does in his rookie season. High expectations have been placed on him, so it will be interesting to see if he can live up to them.
Sergei Bobrovsky and the Florida Panthers
It is going to be an unbelievably exciting year for the Florida Panthers.
With a new head coach in Joel Quenneville, a new starting goaltender in two-time Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky, and a high-octane offense, this could be a season in which we see the Cats get back into the playoffs. Yes, they play in a very tough Atlantic Division, but there is a good chance that they can compete for a Wild Card this season.
If you're a Panthers' fan, you should be very excited for the upcoming season. Given their new head coach, a new starting goaltender, and an extremely talented offense, there could be a lot of good things in store for this hockey club.
As the number one overall pick in the 2019 draft, all eyes will be on Jack Hughes this season.
Hughes looks like he could end up being an offensive specimen in this league for a long time. He's got speed, soft hands, and leadership qualities. He may be on the smaller size, but for today's NHL, that is no longer a problem.
If Jack Hughes plays well and Kakko does the same across the river, there is a chance that the Devils-Rangers' rivalry could end up being reignited.
The St. Louis Blues
It was the quite the season for the St. Louis Blues last year. After being the worst team in the league for the first half of the season, they turned things around in a big way in the second half in route to winning their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
With that said, it is a new year and when you win the Cup, there is always a bit of a chance for a hangover to start the season. I'm not saying that it will happen to the Blues, but don't be surprised if they get off to a bit of a sluggish start.
I am also interested to see how netminder Jordan Binnington does in his first full season in this league. He was the best goalie in the second half of last season and was obviously quite good in the regular season. It will be interesting to see how that translates to a full season.
NHL in GeneralI am excited for the season in general. I'm ready for the nights when I can put on the TV and watch a ton of hockey.
Luckily for us hockey fans, puck drop on the 2019-20 season is right around the corner.
Patrick covers the NHL for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave.
He has previously covered the league for WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.