The NHL 2021-22 season kicks off on Tuesday with a full 82-game schedule set to run till April 29. This yr 32 groups, with the addition of the Seattle Kraken, will battle it out with the hopes of hoisting the coveted Stanley Cup in what would be the first regular-season because the pandemic struck mid-season in March 2020. 

The league is cut up into two conferences: the Eastern and Western Conferences and returns to its authentic 4 divisions: the Atlantic, Metropolitan, Central and Pacific, with eight groups in every. 

SAN JOSE, CA – OCTOBER 09: Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner (90) skates throughout a timeout in the course of the San Jose Sharks recreation versus the Vegas Golden Knights on October 9, 2021, at SAP Center at San Jose in San Jose, CA. (Photo by Matt Cohen/Icon Sportswire through Getty Images)
(Matt Cohen/Icon Sportswire through Getty Images)

Largely thought-about the weakest division in the league, the Pacific additionally homes the most effective groups in the NHL: the Golden Knights.  

Since its inception in 2017, Vegas has made the playoffs each season, even reaching the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural season. Last season, the Knights completed second in their division with a 40-14-2 file. Part of what’s made this doable is Vegas’ “go big or go home” mentality. 

Vegas can be lacking a giant piece of their Stanley Cup puzzle with the buying and selling of Marc-Andre Fleury. Robin Lehner, who was acquired in a commerce with the Maple Leafs, is taking on and although he helped Vegas attain the convention closing in 2020, Fleury’s sneakers can be arduous to fill. 

The Knights have additionally tried to resolve their energy play points in the offseason with the additions of Evgenii Dadonov and Nolan Patrick. 

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SEATTLE KRAKEN

Oct 5, 2021; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Seattle Kraken defenseman Vince Dunn (29) celebrates with forward Ryan Donato (9) and forward Morgan Geekie (67) and forward Calle Jarnkrok (19) after scoring a goal against the Vancouver Canucks in the second period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 5, 2021; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Seattle Kraken defenseman Vince Dunn (29) celebrates with ahead Ryan Donato (9) and ahead Morgan Geekie (67) and ahead Calle Jarnkrok (19) after scoring a purpose towards the Vancouver Canucks in the second interval at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
(Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports)

And then there have been 32. 

The largest problem for the Kraken this season can be canceling out the noise. Questions about unity and chemistry will in fact be the principle considerations however Seattle may also have the strain of residing up to the historical past set by division-rival Vegas: 4 seasons, 4 playoff appearances. 

Seattle selected their star gamers from the purpose up. Vezina Trophy finalist Philipp Grubauer can be in the online after leaving the Avalanche following a stable yr. He went 30-9-1 with a league-best of 1.95 objectives towards common and tied the league lead for shutouts with seven. 

Top defenseman and newly named workforce captain Mark Giordano adopted go well with after getting picked up in the enlargement draft the place the Kraken additionally picked up Jamie Oleksiak, signing him to a five-year $23 million contract. 

Jaden Schwartz, Jared McCann, Jordan Eberle are the projected high line however Seattle’s protection ought to be the star of the present. 

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EDMONTON OILERS 

Alex Chiasson #39 and Connor McDavid #97 of the Edmonton Oilers celebrate a second period goal against the Winnipeg Jets in Game Four of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bell MTS Place on May 24, 2021 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. 

Alex Chiasson #39 and Connor McDavid #97 of the Edmonton Oilers have fun a second interval purpose towards the Winnipeg Jets in Game Four of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bell MTS Place on May 24, 2021 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. 
(Darcy Finley/NHLI through Getty Images))

The similar workforce that produced the dynasty of Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier has now made simply two playoff appearances during the last 15 years. While this appears dangerous for the Oilers, a more in-depth look reveals a workforce with beautiful potential.

Last season, Edmonton completed second in the division however was swept by the Jets in the primary spherical. The season earlier than that additionally featured a second-place end however the Oilers misplaced in the qualifying spherical — a technicality of the season altered by the pandemic. So you’ve gotten a workforce with robust common season performances however can’t appear to translate that to the playoffs. 

The Oilers have Connor McDavid. Pretty easy. He was awarded the Hart Trophy after placing up 105 factors with 33 objectives and 72 assists however you possibly can’t win a cup with only one participant. 

To assist, the Oilers added Zach Hyman who had 33 factors with the Leafs final season, Warren Foegele who had 20 with the Canes and Derek Ryan who had 13. Not astounding numbers on their very own however definitely harmful when put collectively. 

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VANCOUVER CANUCKS 

VANCOUVER, BC - OCTOBER 09:  Vancouver Canucks left wing Nils Hoglander (21) skates up ice during their NHL preseason game against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Arena on October 9, 2021 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Derek Cain/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

VANCOUVER, BC – OCTOBER 09:  Vancouver Canucks left wing Nils Hoglander (21) skates up ice throughout their NHL preseason recreation towards the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Arena on October 9, 2021 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Derek Cain/Icon Sportswire through Getty Images)
(Derek Cain/Icon Sportswire through Getty Images)

The Canucks missed the playoffs final season after ending seventh in their division with a 23-29-4 file. In reality, Vancouver has solely made the playoffs twice in the final eight years with only one second-round look. 

A significant overhaul in the offseason appears to be working in direction of that however protection stands to be the largest concern plaguing the Canucks this season. 

Travis Hamonic will not be on the ice for the season opener after being positioned on waivers, the workforce introduced Monday. Olli Juolevi was traded to Florida for ahead Juho Lammikko and defenseman Noah Juulsen and Tucker Poolman could have to take care of the pressures of overcoming a lackluster yr. 

Oliver Ekman-Larsson ought to freshen issues up after being acquired in a commerce from the Coyotes

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LOS ANGELES KINGS 

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 9:  Gabriel Vilardi #13 of the Los Angeles Kings shoots the puck during shootouts against the Anaheim Ducks at STAPLES Center on October 9, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 9:  Gabriel Vilardi #13 of the Los Angeles Kings shoots the puck throughout shootouts towards the Anaheim Ducks at STAPLES Center on October 9, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI through Getty Images)
(Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI through Getty Images)

Kings’ captain Anze Kopitar says Los Angeles is completed with the rebuild and prepared to “make some noise,” and Los Angeles has definitely taken the steps in the offseason to make the case for being severe playoff contenders this season. 

The Kings went straight to the vets to draw out a right away affect. Kopitar and Dustin Brown can be joined by Phillip Danault and Viktor Arvidsson whereas veteran Alexander Edler comes in to supply route for the youthful defenseman.

The Kings will probably cut up goaltending duties between Jonathan Quick and Calvin Petersen, though 2021 may show to be a transitional yr. 

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CALGARY FLAMES

KENT, WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 02: Nathan Bastian #14 of the Seattle Kraken battles in front of the net with Oliver Kylington #58 of the Calgary Flames during the first period of a game between the Calgary Flames and Seattle Kraken at accesso ShoWare Center on October 02, 2021 in Kent, Washington. (Photo by Christopher Mast/NHLI via Getty Images)

KENT, WASHINGTON – OCTOBER 02: Nathan Bastian #14 of the Seattle Kraken battles in entrance of the online with Oliver Kylington #58 of the Calgary Flames in the course of the first interval of a recreation between the Calgary Flames and Seattle Kraken at accesso ShoWare Center on October 02, 2021 in Kent, Washington. (Photo by Christopher Mast/NHLI through Getty Images)
(Christopher Mast/NHLI through Getty Images)

The Flames are one of many groups this yr whose season may legitimately go both manner: increase or bust. The focus can be on the workforce’s forwards to sway that in Calgary’s favor. 

Despite the shortened season, Johnny Gaudreau was manner off the mark on scoring final season. He had 49 factors (19 objectives and 30 assists) in contrast to the earlier seasons’ 58 factors (18 objectives and 40 assists). Both are manner off from his career-best in 2018-19 when he had 99 factors (36 objectives and 63). 

Forwards Sean Monahan and Matthew Tkachuk are in the identical state of affairs.

Blake Coleman may very well be the increase Calgary wants, having signed a six-year $29.4 million contract this summer season. 

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SAN JOSE SHARKS 

FILE - In this Wednesday, March 24, 2021 file photo, San Jose Sharks left wing Evander Kane (9) watches during an NHL hockey game against the Los Angeles Kings in San Jose, Calif. The NHL found no evidence that San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane bet on NHL games or tried to throw games after investigating allegations made by his estranged wife. The NHL released the findings of that investigation, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

FILE – In this Wednesday, March 24, 2021 file photograph, San Jose Sharks left wing Evander Kane (9) watches throughout an NHL hockey recreation towards the Los Angeles Kings in San Jose, Calif. The NHL discovered no proof that San Jose Sharks ahead Evander Kane guess on NHL video games or tried to throw video games after investigating allegations made by his estranged spouse. The NHL launched the findings of that investigation, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
((AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File))

Issues off the ice appear to be the Sharks’ largest downside this season. Evander Kane, the workforce’s main purpose scorer final season, was left off the workforce’s opening night time roster. First accused of betting on NHL video games, Kane is now reportedly being investigated by the league over allegations that he used a pretend vaccine card. 

Tomas Hertl enters the season with the Sharks however it may very well be his final over unsettled contract negotiations which might be sophisticated by San Jose’s cap state of affairs.

The good news is Logan Couture, Timo Meier and Erik Karlsson can simply choose up the slack, and making the playoffs may very well be motivation for Hertl to get the deal he’s eyeing. 

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ANAHEIM DUCKS 

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 9:  John Gibson #36 of the Anaheim Ducks protects the goal during the first period against the Los Angeles Kings at STAPLES Center on October 9, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images

LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 9:  John Gibson #36 of the Anaheim Ducks protects the purpose in the course of the first interval towards the Los Angeles Kings at STAPLES Center on October 9, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI through Getty Images
(Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI through Getty Images)

Seems like an odd factor to say however the Ducks could have to rating if they need to win. For a workforce that ranked final in objectives per recreation, the Ducks have had a comparatively quiet offseason. In reality, Anaheim’s high scorers have been Max Comtois and Adam Henrique who scored a mixed 28 objectives.

The Ducks are absolutely counting on their younger forwards to increase manufacturing however ending on the backside of their division with a 17-30-9 file doesn’t appear promising.