Top 5 NHL Teams With Surprising Starts to the 2021 Season

Drew Doughty

 

 

This NHL season is something we have never seen before. From the new division alignment to no fans in the stands, this season is already unforgettable now. Before the season started, everyone picked their favorites to win the Stanley Cup. Some of the favorites are Tampa Bay, Colorado, and Vegas. There are a few teams that have had starts to their season that have been surprising. This includes both good and bad starts from certain teams. Here are the top five teams so far that have had a start to their season no one expected.

 

5. New York Rangers

 

There was a lot of hype around these Rangers heading into the season. After an impressive push to make the playoffs last year and still securing the first-overall pick, this team seemed loaded to make some noise. Hart Trophy finalist Artemi Panarin seemed ready to take his team to the next level. So far, it has not gone as planned at all. Where has Alexis Lafreniere been to start his NHL career? The fans are looking for answers from the first-overall pick from this past draft.

So far, the Rangers have been very disappointing to watch. There have been some flashes of a potential great stretch, but they quickly evaporate. They currently sit with a 7-9-3 record and are eight points out of a playoff spot. This season is the season that we can see a potential comeback to the playoffs, but they are running out of time.

 

 

4. Vancouver Canucks

 

I had some major hopes for Vancouver to be good this season. They held their own against some tough teams in last year’s playoffs including St. Louis and Vegas. The series against Vegas made me believe Thatcher Demko was ready to take over the starting goalie position if Jacob Markstrom left in free agency. Even with the addition of Stanley Cup champion Brayden Holtby, this team is struggling with goaltending and defense.

The Canucks start is so surprising because of all the talent they have. This team is more than capable of making a great push, but they haven’t shown it yet. The Canucks currently sit with a 8-14-2 record. That is a win percentage of 50 %. That is terrible. They are playing like a lottery team right now. Is it too late to save their season? No. They still sit just five points out of a playoff spot so anything is possible.

 

 

3. Los Angeles Kings

 

Did anyone expect Los Angeles to be a competing team this season? These Kings are playing some great hockey right now. Even though they have a 9-7-4 record, it doesn’t feel that way. They have gotten some big-time wins over the top teams in the division. The Kings sit one point out of a playoff spot and everyone had them being a lottery team once again.

They are doing this without the number two overall pick in the draft last year. Byfield is developing in Ontario and this team will only get better when he is ready. The resurfacing of the talent on Dustin Brown has been a hell of a story as well. He already has eleven goals in twenty games played this season. Last year, he has seventeen goals all season. At this rate, he will crush that and help the Kings make a serious push for the playoffs.

 

 

2. Florida Panthers

 

There is actually a good hockey team in Florida not from Tampa Bay. Over the last few seasons, the Florida Panthers have been average at best. They always seem to be on the outside looking in when the NHL playoffs begin. This season, they are looking promising and are in the top two seeds for the Central Division. They have proved they can hang with the better teams in the division such as Tampa Bay and Carolina.

Chris Driedger has been stellar so far this season. Bobrovsky has also gotten the job done. Currently, the Panthers have a 13-4-3 record and are tied with Tampa Bay in points with 29. Will the Panthers dethrone the champs early on when the playoffs come around? We will have to see.

 

 

1. Chicago Blackhawks

 

No one predicted Chicago to be in the position they are in at this point in the NHL season. After their captain went down before the season started and their goaltending situation in disarray, this team was destined to fail. They have found a rising star in the net with Kevin Lankinen and Patrick Kane is playing at an MVP level right now.

The Hawks’ defense has locked it down really well, the offense is clicking and the goaltending is a giant brick wall. Chicago currently sits with a 12-7-4 record and is locked in at the third seed in the division. Even if they drop a spot to Carolina, the next best team in Columbus. The Blue Jackets are currently seven points behind Chicago in the standings so the Hawks have some room to breathe. They cannot let up now though. They need to keep pushing and execute the final blow to secure a playoff spot.

 

NHL

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