Early NHL Surprises and Disappointments


Sofia Nevala , Reporter

Hockey fans have already witnessed playoff level intensity, teams thrive and struggle along with numerous outstanding individual performances during the first third of the 2022-23 NHL season. From Connor McDavid’s seventeen game point streak to Tage Thompson’s four goal first period against the Columbus Blue Jackets, proven stars and rising stars have entertained throughout. Here are a few of the big surprises and disappointments of the season so far. 


The Boston Bruins

Many people expected the Bruins to have a slow start with so many key players out due to injury to begin the season, but they have surprised many with their impressive record.  Boston started off the season by winning 14 straight games at home before dropping their first of the year in a shootout to the Las Vegas Golden Knights and former head coach Bruce Cassidy. Along with that, the B’s home save percentage has been significantly better than on the road, holding at .941% while dropping to a .908% on the road. Both Bruins goalies have played very well.  Linus Ullmark holds the better record and save percentage at 16-1-0 and .941% respectively. 


The New Jersey Devils

The New Jersey Devils are finally seeing the production that was projected after drafting Jack Hughes and essentially rebuilding their team. With only 5 losses on the season they hold one of the best records in the league. Early in the season, the Devils went on a franchise tying 13 game win streak beating the Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers along the way. Production from Jack Hughes had been vital to their success as he amassed 33 points playing in all 27 games for New Jersey. Their goaltending has also shown up this season currently holding a .912 save percentage while the offense has scored 37 more goals than their opponents. 


Tage Thompson

Tage Thompson, all 6’6” of him, has come up big in many ways for the Sabres this season, scoring 21 goals in 28 games. Five of those goals came in the Sabres 9-4 win over the Blue Jackets. Last year Thomspon scored 38 goals in 78 games which shows he’s well on his way to setting a new personal best in scoring. Despite the Sabres 12-14-2 record this year, Thompson has been a bright spot for the organization still looking for a breakout season. 



The Colorado Avalanche

The Colorado Avalanche, the defending champions, have struggled this year. Injuries have prevented them from being the same powerhouse as their Stanley Cup team of 2021-22. Among several key players out with injury, captain Gabriel Landeskog has yet to play this year, Nathan Mackinnon is out at least another 3 weeks, and defenseman Josh Manson is also out close to three more weeks. Along with injuries, newly acquired goalie Alexander Georgiev has not lived up to expectations giving up 2.65 goals per game. 


The Ottawa Senators

There were high hopes for the Sens this year, with Claude Giroux, Tim Stützle, Shane Pinto, and new addition Alex Debrincat it seemed the Sens were destined for a good season. Such success is something the entirety of Ottawa has craved for for years at this point. Instead of the Senators being the young successful team of the NHL, it seems that the New Jersey Devils have stolen their thunder. 


Marc-Andre Fleury

In his first full season with the Minnesota Wild, Marc-Andre Fleury has struggled, giving up 3.16 goals a game and holding a .892 save percentage. The Wild signed him from Chicago, hopeful that he would lead the team to another playoff appearance in search of their first ever Stanley Cup and Fleury’s fourth. He won three with the Pittsburgh Penguins before going to Vegas in the expansion draft, followed by a short stint in Chicago before ending up in the “State of Hockey”. Despite the rough start there is still hope that the Wild and Fleury can get back on track.