NHL Week in Review (October 25-31)

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There is no league that depends more on their young talent than in the NHL where young players are spending less time in the minor leagues.

The top drafted players every year are given more than a fair chance to earn their spot on the team.

They often get a few weeks in the NHL to prove if they can truly find their groove in the league before the team makes the final decision.

Some teams still have a different attitude about their young talent sending them to the NHL or back to the major junior leagues to develop before entering the NHL.

It does work many times and the Arizona Coyotes are a perfect example as Max Domi and Anthony Duclair both spent last year in the OHL before becoming two of the top young players in the league this season.

That is not every team though and when it comes to teams near the bottom of the pile their need for talent outweighs their patience.

These teams draft players that can have an impact quickly and those players rarely flirt with the AHL or major junior hockey ever again.

This has been the theme with the Edmonton Oilers in the past as they have drafted some of the top players in the last few years.

This year they were in a similar position drafting first overall thanks to the draft lottery but this draft was slightly different.

They had taken the best players in each draft beforehand but this draft included potentially one of the best players the NHL will ever see in Connor McDavid.

He was deemed “The Next One” in a line that includes Wayne Gretzky and Sidney Crosby when he was only 14 years old.

He lit up the OHL as a member of the Erie Otters and looked like he was going to match the hype when he entered the NHL.

The Oilers had a reputation though as they had taken players like McDavid, although not as much was expected of them, only to see them disappear when they went to Alberta.

It was a worry for many as some thought that the biggest talent in hockey was going to be lost to a team that needs a lot more than another talented forward.

The season began and the worries were coming to fruition as the expectations were sky-high for McDavid and he did not meet them.hockey-sidebar

He only managed one goal in his first four games and all of a sudden the hype was being picked apart.

That was what McDavid and the Oilers were dealing with though as the expectations were so high that anything short of a hat trick in his first game was going to be a disappointment.

It all seemed to turn around at the fifth game though as the young star scored two goals and added an assist.

From that point until now he has not had a game without a point and the hype is beginning to be matched.

It is the perfect expression of how much pressure is on the younger generation in the NHL.

McDavid was built as the next great player in the NHL but wasn’t given a lot of time to find his footing.

He definitely has the potential to meet the expectations but going from major junior to the NHL takes an adjustment, no matter the talent level of the player.

That is not the way the NHL works though as young players are not given a lot of time to impress.

Then again the hype that McDavid received served as a double-edge sword as people started to say he was a failure but that hype also gave him a bit more leniency than others.

At only 18-years old McDavid is trying to be one of the best players in the league and that is no easy task.

With a seven-game scoring streak currently underway he is beginning to get there. He is the latest in a long line of great young players but what could make him “The Next One” is if he can meet or exceed those expectations in an era were young players are key to success.

(More Thoughts on this week in hockey)

The Streak is Over
The Montreal Canadiens had the greatest start to a season in the history of their franchise with a nine game winning streak coming only a game away from tying the NHL record for longest streak to start a season but the Vancouver Canucks took that chance away ending the streak

The Next to Go?
The Columbus Blue Jackets have already tried to turn things around in the first month and if the rumours are true the Anaheim Ducks could be next as Bruce Boudreau seems to be on the hot seat with only two wins so far this season

The Next One to Watch
Hockey is underway around the world and with the seasons getting going the next top prospect is making his impression as Auston Matthews has 17 points in fourteen games in the Swiss League but has been injured and will be watched closely throughout the season


Key Scores:
Winnipeg Jets 5 – 4 Minnesota Wild
– It is a new rivalry in the NHL with as both teams are separated by the US-Canada border and with both teams in the same division they meet plenty of times with the Jets coming out on top to take the first shot in the season series

Vancouver Canucks 5 – 1 Montreal Canadiens
– The Canadiens looked like they were going to tie the NHL record for the longest winning streak to start a season but the Canucks had a different idea as they got to Carey Price who allowed five goals in Montreal’s first loss of the season

Pittsburgh Penguins 3 – 1 Washington Capitals
– The rivalry may not be as big as it once was but the Crosby-Ovechkin match-up will always be an interesting one between two players that came in at around the same time with plenty of hype and this time it was Crosby’s team who got the win although neither player got anything

Pittsburgh Penguins 4 – 0 Toronto Maple Leafs
– Phil Kessel returned to Toronto, where he led the team in scoring every year that he played, after being traded this off-season  and although he was held off of the board his new team still took the win

Next Week:
Los Angeles Kings vs. Chicago Blackhawks (Monday November 2nd; 8:30 pm ET)
– Two of the best teams in the west over the last few years face-off again with the Blackhawks not playing their best hockey right now and the Kings looking to stay atop their division in what has been a good year so far

Ottawa Senators vs. Montreal Canadiens (Tuesday November 3rd; 7:30 pm ET)
– The Canadiens went from almost tying the best starting streak to dropping two games in the same week as they will take on the Sens in an attempt to get back on track and back to their winning ways before they get into a slump

Detroit Red Wings vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (Friday November 6th; 7:00 pm ET)
– Two Original Six teams face-off once again this year as former Detroit coach, Mike Babcock, welcomes his former team to the ACC to take on his new team in a fight to stay out of the bottom of the division

Boston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadiens (Saturday November 7th; 7:00 pm ET)
– The Canadiens and Bruins have not been friendly since they began playing hockey and this is sure to be another tough game for both teams as they both look to get a win to continue their time at the top of the division

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