Who’s Hot and Who’s Not: The NHL After Two Weeks

Just two weeks into the NHL season, there are already teams who are falling behind as well as a few who are off to high-flying starts.


Rather than the Islanders, the Rangers have been the best team in New York thus far. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Two weeks into the NHL season and there are already teams who are falling behind as well as a few who are off to high-flying starts. A championship contender who slipped due to injuries and a disappointing start to a new era in Chicago highlights the lows, while the Rangers and Oilers are off to the races.

Start with the lows so you end on a high note. Chicago added three key pieces to make another run at the Stanley Cup with the aging Johnathon Toews and Patrick Kane. The additions of Seth Jones, Marc-Andre Fleury and Tyler Johnson have been disappointing to say the least, and the Blackhawks sit in last place after six games. The Blackhawks have been outscored 10–0 at full strength with Seth Jones on the ice, Johnson has taken more penalties than he has scored points and Fleury has a 5.75 GAA and .839 SV%, both second-worst among goalies with more than two games played. They are 0–5–1, with the lowest points percentage in the entire league, and head coach Jeremy Colliton is on the hot seat early in this season. 

The Vegas Golden Knights are another team in the West that has struggled out of the gates. The Golden Knights dominated Sunday’s game against the Islanders but could not break Ilya Sorokin, losing their fourth straight game and falling to 1–4. Max Pacioretty was added to the long-term injured reserve early Monday morning, meaning he will miss at least the next 10 games. Mark Stone is also hurt, along with defenseman Zach Whitecloud. Robin Lehner has struggled with the number one position after Fleury’s departure this offseason, currently sporting a 3.28 GAA. Vegas will figure it out, but early in the season, the Pacific Division looks like it is Edmonton’s for the taking. 

Speaking of Connor McDavid’s Oilers, they have won all five games they have played thus far, including a dominating win in the season’s first Battle of Alberta against the Calgary Flames. McDavid leads the league with 13 points and is tied for the NHL-high with six goals. However, the Oilers have yet to leave the Pacific Time Zone, with their only road games coming against Vegas and Arizona. They will be tested on the road, but so far, so good for Edmonton. The race to 150 points is on for McDavid, with his current pace putting him at 213 points. Although he probably will not reach 213, 150 is certainly in sight. 

I’m ending the “Hots” segment with a local, and no, it is not the Stanley Cup hopefuls on Long Island. It is the Rangers, who are off to a 4–1–1 start and won their last four games. They benefited from a weak call against Ottawa but came back from a two-goal deficit with five minutes left to take down the Senators. Igor Shesterkin has been absolutely incredible in the four games he has played. He is 3–0–1, with his only loss coming in a game against Dallas. He stole the game against Toronto and stoned Nashville in consecutive road victories. Alexandar Georgiev has struggled of late, but the offense bailed him out against Ottawa, and the Rangers brass is hoping that will propel him forward to a better season. The Rangers are back home this week against Calgary and Columbus. 

While it is too early to draw any finite conclusions, the beginnings of their seasons will prove important come playoff time. Ask Rangers fans after the past two seasons when they missed the playoffs by a hair after stumbling out of the gate.