It’s October, which can only mean one thing: the start of the 2019-20 NHL season.
There were a lot of offseason moves, and the rookie draft class has two of the most exciting young prospects in Jason Hughes and Kaapo Kakko making their debuts.
With a new season underway, here are some of the storylines that we’ll be keeping an eye on.
St. Louis Blues’ first Stanley Cup defense
Going from worst to first is no easy feat, but the St. Louis Blues did just that last season.
Coming off of the first Stanley Cup in franchise history, the St. Louis Blues traded for Justin Faulk to help bolster its defense and will be looking to defend its title.
But things will be very different for the St. Louis Blues this season now that they have a huge bullseye painted on their backs as the defending champs.
The pressure is on.
Hudson River rivalry
The Hudson River rivalry between the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers just got kicked up a notch after the Devils selected Hughes, the No. 1 overall pick, while the Rangers took Kakko immediately after. The two young phenoms have immense potential and could develop a rivalry that could last for years to come.
Will the NJ Devils return to relevance?
Speaking of New Jersey, with PK Subban joining the Devils, will they make a return to the playoffs after a dismal season? Along with Wayne Simmonds, Nikita Gusev and Hughes, the Devils’ new additions could give the team the boost they need for a postseason berth. Not to mention Taylor Hall will be back in the lineup after missing most of last season due to injury.
Can Joel Quenneville turn Florida into a contender?
The Florida Panthers made a flurry of moves in the offseason, but arguably none more important that the hiring of three-time Stanley Cup-winning coach Joel Quenneville. The Panthers also spent a lot of their cap, and they were able to woo one of the top free agents available in goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. Could they breakout of their playoff slump?