The Anaheim Ducks are yet another team that is in a rebuilding process. The Ducks are centered around forward Trevor Zegras, who is an up-and-coming star, and goaltender John Gibson, who, despite being on the older side, is still playing at a very high level. Apart from these two players, the Ducks do not have any other extremely noticeable pieces on their roster, although there are a few nice role players in place such as Adam Henrique, Alex Killorn and Troy Terry. Despite the average forward core and good goaltending, the Ducks have one of the worst defensive cores in the league, which will likely be the root cause of many losses this season. As the Ducks continue their rebuild, they are not in contention for a playoff spot, but with the vision they are trying to build on, they aim to be there soon.
Zachary Gerson is a writer for the sports section at the Tufts Daily. He is a first year who is currently undecided. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now, we shift our focus to the Western Conference. The Arizona Coyotes are continuing with their rebuild, but for the first time in many years, there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Arizona has a plethora of young talent in forwards such as Clayton Keller, Nick Schmaltz, Logan Cooley, Barrett Hayton and others. For the time being, the Coyotes are not ready to compete for a playoff spot due to below-average defense and goaltending. However, with the young talent the Coyotes have brought in, the future is bright in the desert, but the club will have to wait another year or two before they are ready to compete for a playoff berth.
Coming off a disappointing playoff exit last spring, the New York Rangers feel they can win it all this season, and rightfully so. Their well-balanced and talented roster starts in the net, where elite goaltender Igor Shesterkin resides and consistently dominates.
Many view the Columbus Blue Jackets as a last place, bottom-tier team. However, I expect the Blue Jackets to surprise doubters this season, as they have a nice balance of young, talented players and established veterans. The team is led by star experienced forwards Johnny Guadreau and Patrik Laine, as well as talented and up-and-coming players like rookie forward Adam Fantilli and defenseman Zach Werenski who will have the opportunity to develop their games. Columbus won’t be a playoff team this season, but expect the squad to make many strides with their nice balance of skilled youth and veterans.
The Montreal Canadiens are clearly continuing their rebuild, which began at the start of last season following their appearance in the 2021 Stanley Cup Finals. Apart from their two young star forwards Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield, Montreal does not have any notable pieces, emphasizing the fact that they are eyeing future success, keenly focused on developing their young prospects. The Canadiens finished last season with 68 points. Since the front office did not make any key improvements during the offseason and is focused on their rebuild, the club will finish in about the same spot they did last season.
The Boston Bruins are in a vastly different position to start off this season than they were last. The retirement of legendary centers Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci leaves Boston with a gaping hole at the center position, where they clearly lack NHL-caliber center depth. Pavel Zacha, the team’s new first-line center, is a solid player, but not an adequate replacement.