31 Reflections of the NHL’s First Quarter

With most teams at or past the quarter pole in the NHL, we figured it was a good time to bring everyone up to speed on what’s going on around the league. As is usually the case, there are no shortage of storylines. One coach was fired. Could others be following soon?

We are going to give you one sentence on each team at the quarter pole. We do something similar to this during the NHL Draft were we give 31 thoughts on the first round of the draft as one sentence each. You can see that here.

Each sentence will either give you a quick summary of their season or will point out something noteworthy. We will go in inverse order of the standings as of the morning of Nov 23, 2019 starting with the Detroit Red Wings and then moving on up. Here we go.

31 First-Quarter Reflections

Steve Yzerman
Steve Yzerman is the man with the Yzerplan. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
  • 30. New Jersey Devils: What’s Hall gonna happen in Newark this season?
  • 29. Los Angeles Kings: Gabriel Vilardi is back to playing games and Arthur Kaliyev is terrorizing OHL goalies.
  • 28. Minnesota Wild: It’s going to take some time but Bill Guerin will do what’s necessary for the Wild to earn respect around the league.
  • 27. New York Rangers: Not sure there’s a team in hockey that has a wider range of emotions game in and game out than the New York Rangers.
  • 26. Nashville Predators: In the latest example of how quickly things can change (2-6-2 in their last 10), there’s actually some that wonder how hot Peter Laviolette’s seat is.
  • 25. Chicago Blackhawks: I think we all underrated how quickly Kirby Dach could make an impact in the NHL.
  • 24. Columbus Blue Jackets: How big is holding on to their 2020 first-round pick looking now if things don’t improve fast?
  • 23. Tampa Bay Lightning: It’s not their best start to a season but it might be just the thing they need to finally breakthrough when it matters most.
  • 22. Calgary Flames: There are fires, there are infernos and then there’s the current situation with the Calgary Flames.
  • 21. San Jose Sharks: When your depth doesn’t deliver, you end up in the depths of the standings just like the Sharks.
San Jose Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer
Peter DeBoer hasn’t gotten enough from his depth players this season. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
  • 20. Anaheim Ducks: A good start to the season has faded into a more realistic outcome thanks to a team going through some important transitions.
  • 19. Ottawa Senators: The Senators are 7-3 in their last 10, 7-4 at home on the season and just three points from the playoffs just as we all expected.
  • 18. Buffalo Sabres: Good October, bad everything else, rinse and repeat.
  • 17. Toronto Maple Leafs: Firing Mike Babcock was the best thing they could have done and they had the guts to do it.
  • 16. Vegas Golden Knights: There any good backup goalies available?
  • 15. Vancouver Canucks: The Canucks will be one of the most fascinating teams to watch the rest of the season to see if they can recover from a bad November.
  • 14. Philadelphia Flyers: That chill you feel in the air is just a little Frost going through the city of Philadelphia.
  • 13. Winnipeg Jets: They could have let the drama overcome them but instead, they’ve flown to a solid playoff spot while playing very well.
  • 12. Montreal Canadiens: Just wait until they add Cole Caufield to the likes of Nick Suzuki, Jesperi Kotkaniemi and others.
  • 11. Carolina Hurricanes: The scary good part about the Hurricanes is that they’ve under-performed in the first quarter and are still on the verge of the top-10.
Rod Brind'Amour Carolina Hurricanes
Rod Brind’Amour has the Hurricanes in a good spot at the quarter pole. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
  • 10. Arizona Coyotes: If you’re looking for the best goaltending duo in the NHL, you have to look in Glendale.
  • 9. Pittsburgh Penguins: A sign of a good team is how you play through devastating injuries and the Penguins are a microcosm of that.
  • 8. Dallas Stars: To think the Stars were recently in Despair for Lafreniere territory less than a month ago but then Jamie Benn said screw that.
  • 7. Colorado Avalanche: It’s truly Cale Makar’s world and we are just drinking slurpees while living in it.
  • 6. Florida Panthers: Despite Sergei Bobrovsky’s early struggles, the Cats have points in 17 of 22 games this season.
  • 5. Edmonton Oilers: In case you have been wondering, I can confirm Connor McDavid is not a robot however Leon Draisaitl might be.
  • 4. St. Louis Blues: And some of you thought the Blues were in trouble when Vladimir Tarasenko went down.
  • 3. Boston Bruins: As usual, something special is Bruin in Boston during hockey season!
  • 2. New York Islanders: If you don’t think coaching matters, see Trotz, Barry.
  • 1. Washington Capitals: If you need proof of just how good the Capitals have been, consider the Islanders are on a 15-0-1 and are still three points behind the Capitals in the Metro.

With Thanksgiving around the corner, we’re starting to get a feel of what most teams will be for the season. But it’s not nearly over. Will the Red Wings pull a St. Louis Blues out of their hat? Not likely, but someone could rise up. Let the games continue.