The Los Angeles Kings
The Kings have been a pleasant surprise this year, and have started using some of their younger players. Currently, they are tied for third in their division with the Edmonton Oilers. Sitting just a slight five points back from first place. Going 5-3-2 in their last 10 games.
While I don’t expect them to stay hot, and take the division they seem primed for a solid fight for a playoff spot.
In the 2021 season they finished 21-28-7 with just 49 points. They have already surpassed both wins and points from the 2021 season. In six less games, even though the 2021 season was marred with COVID-19 and its issues, the Kings have still bounced back in a big way. I would not have pegged the Kings to be within a couple games of the top-spot in their division days away from the trade deadline, but here we are.
Let’s just hope they can keep this rolling into 2022-2023 season, and they continue to call up and utilize their young kids correctly. As several have been big sparks for the team, I wouldn’t count them out at the trade deadline either. As close as they are to the top they could be a little extra aggressive at the deadline.
Detroit Red Wings
Yes, they are still not a top-end team. But, they have already surpassed their win total and points total from a year ago. Currently sitting fifth in maybe the hardest division in hockey, and even with that they are only 18 points out of second place. So they could find themselves in the top-4 by season’s end.
They have done a good job the last two years in free agency, trades, NHL Draft, and progressing the young talent on their team.
With maybe the youngest roster in the NHL, the Red Wings have taken their lumps, but have also come out strong showing they are building something. Not only just building something, but building something that is working, and keeping the cap low. Giving them numerous options at the trade deadline, and in 2022 Free Agency. Which should be another decently stacked class.
The Red Wings showing promise is just good for hockey no matter how you look at it.
In 2021 the Flames finished fifth in their division going 26-27-3 with 55 points. With days before the deadline, they are currently leading their division with a record of 29-13-6 and 64 points, which is four points ahead of the next team. They are hot right now going 9-1-0 in the last 10 games. I would not be surprised to see them take the division.
With some of their players playing at the top of their game at the moment, they have a strong case to be the team to beat in the west. Outside of the Avs.
Should they continue on this tear and take it into the post-season we could see a wild western conference set of games. They should be able to continue that run into next season as well. If you aren’t a little excited about the Flames and how their play is right now, you might just hate hockey. This would also be another team I would suggest you watch closely at the deadline, as a big move could be made for them to try and overtake the Avs for the Western Conference. Where they are currently 12 points behind.