The month of October is finally behind us. The NHL season started off with a bang overseas with the Predators and Sharks playing games in Prague, and it has been nonstop action ever since, filled with record-setting nights and big runs by different teams across the league.
With where things sit right now, the top two teams in the NHL are the Boston Bruins and the Vegas Golden Knights, each team amassed 16 points during October, but when it comes to big takeaways from the month there is a lot to discuss.
Ten thoughts across the NHL after the month of October
1. This October has been all about Phil Kessel, and that is okay.
Phil Kessel had a great month. After signing with the Golden Knights this offseason, Kessel finds himself on a new team, now with a big record. Kessel is now the record holder of the longest ironman streak to date across the entire NHL.
2. The Arizona Coyotes have a new rink, and there is nothing we can do about it.
The Arizona Coyotes have a new rink for the time being. Towards the end of October, we got to see the Coyotes play inside Mullet Arena for the first time this season. For better or worse, this is the new home of Coyotes hockey and the team has embraced that.
3. John Tortorella really is one of the best coaches in the NHL.
The Philadelphia Flyers, one of the teams everyone everywhere picked to be the laughingstock of the league this season, are 5-2-1. Philadelphia currently resides in a playoff spot. If there is one thing that has to be said about this team, it has to be that John Tortorella is a great coach, whether you love him or hate him.
4. Once again, the east looks drastically better than the west.
The Eastern Conference is a powerhouse. It is anyone’s guess who is going to make the playoffs from the east and there is a good case to be made for a lot of teams. Of the teams in the eastern conference, only three have negative goal differentials right now – compared to nine of the 16 teams in the west.
5. The Central Division stars took October off.
If the playoffs started today, Minnesota, St. Louis, and Colorado would all be on the outside of the festivities. With all three being the supposed top teams in the Central, it will be interesting to see how they play in November.
6. The Tkachuk battle is going to be fun to watch all year long.
The Tkachuk battle kicked off this past weekend when Brady and Matthew Tkachuk faced off against each other for their respective clubs. The Panthers ended up winning the game 5-3, but to me, the best part was watching the two brothers’ faceoff. Brady had a goal and Matthew had two goals and an assist during the game. This is going to be a fun rivalry to watch for a long time.
7. It is anyone’s guess who will get Connor Bedard.
Columbus, Arizona, San Jose, Anaheim, Chicago, Montreal – really at the end of the day it is anyone’s guess who is going to end up getting Connor Bedard. One thing is for sure, whoever is lucky enough to land the top prospect at this upcoming draft is going to have a bright future.
8. The Pittsburgh Penguins could be in jeopardy of losing their playoff streak.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are the seventh-best team in the Metropolitan Division and finished October with a record of 4-4-1. After a positive offseason bringing the band back together for another run at a championship, one has to wonder if the Penguins are past their prime.
Want your voice heard? Join the Puck Prose team!
9. The Yzerplan is finally starting to pay off.
The Red Wings are 4-3-2 through their first nine games and have been one of the most electric teams to watch so far this season. It finally looks like the Yzerplan is paying off in Detroit after years of rebuilding. How this team does in November will be interesting to see.
10. Connor McDavid is still the best player in the entire NHL by far.
Connor McDavid leads the league with 18 points after October. He also leads the league in goals with nine. After the 2021-22 season, where all the talk was on Auston Matthews scoring 60 goals, I think McDavid could very well take back all the trophies again this summer. Maybe even a Stanley Cup could be in his future.