It’s the holiday season, which means people have put together their wish lists for gifts for the year and many of us are rushing to malls (or Amazon) to try and find those gifts. With that in mind, we wanted to look back on the year that was for the NHL in 2017 and try to figure out what item might be at the top of the wish lists for some of the sports teams and biggest personalities.
Not all of these are realistic, it’s why it’s called a wish list folks. Don’t you remember the days when you asked for a outdoor basketball hoop for Christmas only to end up with a Nerf back-of-the-door one instead? Sometimes, wishes aren’t granted. Doesn’t mean we don’t have them.
Las Vegas Golden Knights Fans- A Playoff Appearance
The Golden Knights have burst out of the gates in their first season in the league, currently sitting atop the Pacific division with 44 points and a 21-9-2 record. They’re no fluke either with a goal differential of +15. The questions about whether or not the team would have a “home-ice” advantage have largely been put to bed so far, as the Knights have gone 13-2-1 at the T-Mobile Arena. The fast start has Vegas in position to do something no other expansion team in the last 26 years has done: make the playoffs in their first year of existence. If that were to happen, it’s a great way to kick off the league’s tenure in Sin City and one can only imagine the atmosphere of a playoff hockey game in Las Vegas.
NHL Fans- NHL Players In The Olympic Games
This is something that’s gotten plenty of attention since commissioner Gary Bettman announced that the league would not be participating in this year’s 2018 Olympic Games. Basically, the league refused to put a break in its schedule to allow players to play in the games in Pyeongchang. For obvious reasons, this takes a ton of fun out of the Olympic hockey tournament in which fans all over the globe get to pound their chests about their country being the best while watching their favorite players don the nation’s sweater. In a time where hockey is behind the other three pro sports leagues in the U.S., this doesn’t help much.
Jack Eichel- A Trade Out Of Buffalo
The No. 2 pick in the 2015 Draft is mired in the midst of another rough season for the Sabres. Buffalo is second-to-last in the league in points (23) and Eichel himself has been just okay, ranking 41st in the league in points (28), and tied for 58th in goals with 11. Overall, in Eichel’s three seasons in Buffalo, finishing 7th, 8th, and currently 8th in the Atlantic Division. There’s actually been a backslide in points for the team over the past two seasons with 81 points in 15-16 and 78 in 16-17. It’ll never happen, but man it would be fun to see Eichel on a better team.
Edmonton Oilers- A Return To 2016-17 Form
The Oilers were one of the great stories of last season, finally rising from the flames of seemingly unending mediocrity to make the playoffs for the first time since 2005-06. Not only that, they then won their first round series against the Sharks before losing a 7-game epic against the Ducks. With young Connor McDavid leading the way and a young, improving supporting cast around him, the Oilers looked poised to kick off a run of playoff appearances. Well…..that’s not happening so far this year. The team is 2nd-to-last in the Western Conference, ahead of only the lowly Coyotes. The good news is, they still have time to get hot. They’re just eight points back of the second wild card spot and there are still 48 games left. (after 12/18’s game against the Sharks).
Ottawa Senators- A Do-Over On The Matt Duchene Trade
This trade doesn’t look great so far for Ottawa. In 17 games with the Senators, Duchene has recorded just five points (2 goals 3 assists). Meanwhile, the Senators gave up two draft picks, two prospects and forward Kyle Turris in the deal. Turris went to Nashville as part of the three-team deal and he’s lighting it up in Nashville with 17 points in 17 games (4 goals 13 assists). Ottawa has gone 5-12 in the 17 games since acquiring Duchene while Nashville is 13-4 since the deal. Duchene is slumping so this is likely an overreaction, but still, if there was a way to do the deal and not give up Turris, I imagine Sens fans would like that.