2019-20 NHL Stories to Follow

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Updated: October 23, 2019
John Carlson Washington Capitals

Perhaps the most talked about story coming from the NHL so far this season is the performance of James Neal.

After being signed to a big contract with the Calgary Flames, James Neal had a terrible season, scoring just 7 goals and 12 assists in 63 games. It was no surprise when the Calgary Flames dealt Neal to the Edmonton Oilers for Milan Lucic.

James Neal has scored 9 goals and added an assist so far this seaon but the big news is this is in just 10 games with the Oilers. Lucic on the other hand, has managed just 2 assists in 11 games.  You can easily declare the Edmonton Oilers the winner of  that trade.

Another big story coming from the NHL is the performance of the Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson. Coming off a career high 70 points in the 2018-19 season (13G/57A), Carlson has started this season with a bang. He has already collected 20 points (5G/15A) in just 11 games. Only Paul Coffey had more points for a defenseman to start either NHL season to date.

Carlson’s performance in the first 10 games ties another great defenseman – Bobby Orr.

One thing to watch this season is the performance of teams that have been perpetually bad and perpetually good through the regular season. The Oilers and the Sabres have struggled in the last few season. However, this season, the Oilers are off to a 7-2-1 record with the Sabres sit at 8-1-1. On the otherside of the coin, the Dallas Stars sit at 3-7-1 and the Sharks sit at 3-5-1 with no sign of improving.

Another surprising stat is the number of players who have scored 4-goals or more. Last season in 1271 games, there were only 4 players (Patrik Laine, John Tavares, Brad Richardson, Blake Wheeler). So far in the 2019-20 season, three players have already reached the 4-goal mark (James Neal, David Pastrnak, Anthony Mantha).

One also has to note that the performance of the Tampa Bay Lightning has raised eyebrows. This is the team that was the overwhelming favourite last year to win the Stanley Cup but they were swept in their opening series. The shine seems to have fallen of the Bolts early in the 2019-20 season & one has to wonder if they will turn things around.

What is your notable story so far from this year in the NHL?

Photo Courtesy NHL.COM

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