The current Stanley Cup holders Tampa Bay Lightning will open their defence of their title on Tuesday 12th October, when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins. The new NHL season is set to run through to April 2022, with a full 82 game regular season planned. With the relaxation of travel rules relaxed between Canada and the USA, all four divisions will go ahead with plenty of excitement promised.
The Tampa Bay Lightning became back to back NHL Champions having won the 2019-20 and 2020-21 Stanley Cups. This has taken their total to three after being successful in 2003-4.
League expanded as we welcome new side Seattle Kraken
The league has now been expanded to accommodate the addition of the Seattle Kraken to 32 sides. Lightning are already one of the favourites to lift the Cup again, with Colorado and Vegas Golden Knights in the mix.
Lightning go into the new campaign after trading high value draft picks to bring in David Savard and Brian Lashoff. In their first pick in the drafts the team have gone for Roman Schmidt a big defenceman. Dylan Duke has also been added to the squad- a small but talented forward.
Colorado after more consustency this campaign
The Colorado Avalanche will be looking for more consistency this season. Without a Stanley Cup since 2000-1, the Aves have added forwards Gabriel Landeskog, Brandon Saad, Nazem Kadri and Valeri Nichushkin.
After reaching the play-offs in their expansion season, the Vegas Golden Kinights should well be in the shake-up come the end of the season. Into their fifth season now, Vegas have reached the play-offs in all four seasons to date.
Among the key players for the Knights will be captain Mark Stone along with last season’s 24 goal scorer Max Pacioretty.
New franchise Seattle Kraken make their debut
New franchise the Seattle Kraken have announced their first full roster. Of the 30 players picked up by the new boys a total of $54 million of the allocated £81.5 million was used.
Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordiano will lead the side and has been bought in for his experience. The 37-year-old will be a valuable inspiration to a side that consists of mainly young players.
Last season’s losing finalists the Montreal Canadiens will be looking to go one better. The Canadiens went into last season’s final on the back of the worst record of any playoff team.
Another Canadian side that is expected to go well are the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs had the best record of all the Canadian teams going into last season’s playoffs. They won 35 of 56 matches, but fell short in the playoffs.
This campaign Toronto have stuck mainly with the majority of the roster from the last campaign.
With the season going back to a welcome normal schedule and with matches not being crammed in, this will benefit everybody.
Once again Lightning will be a tough nut to crack. If they are successful, they will become the first team to win three cups in a row since New York Islanders. The Islanders went one better by winning four in a row from 1980-83.