It’s been a week since the 2015-16 NHL season began with a banner-raising ceremony in Chicago. Some teams have started out just as well as expected — see Montreal, Nasvhille and New York Rangers — while others have surprised people with the successful start to the season — see San Jose, Arizona and Vancouver.
But while those successful surprises are good to talk about, the real talk comes when discussing the teams that haven’t started out so hot. Mainly, the teams that are winless throughout the first three games of the season.
Yes, it’s only three games of an 82-game season, but a slow start is nothing to brush off. Just ask Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen, or Nashville head coach Peter Laviolette about that. But what teams that haven’t gotten into the win column yet should be worried about the prospects of the season?
Anaheim: The Ducks have managed to get a loser point this year, but they sit on this list because they are winless. There aren’t many reasons to worry about the Ducks, they have the fire power and defense to still be considered among the Western Conference’s elite. Don’t be concerned that they haven’t won one through two games.
Toronto: Like Anaheim, the Maple Leafs are the beneficiary of a loser point in their shootout loss to Ottawa last weekend. That being said, this isn’t a very good team. I don’t think anyone in Toronto is too “worried”, per say, about the start to the season. I think they just want to see a team that puts forth solid efforts during the year.
Pittsburgh: In three games, the Penguins have yet to see a goal — or point for that matter — from Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz or Patric Hornqvist. Evgeni Malkin has just one assist while Phil Kessel leads the team with a goal and an assist. In total, the Penguins have just three goals in three games. With an offense as talented as Pittsburgh, it’s hard to imagine that staying the same for much longer.
Los Angeles: If the Penguins’ offense is bad, what dos that make Los Angeles? The Kings have just two goals in three games. Jonathan Quick’s 3.71 goals against average isn’t something to be happy about either, but that should straighten out fairly quickly.
Carolina: The Hurricanes weren’t expected to be a strong team this season, so the 0-3 start isn’t necessarily surprising. For them to start winning games, however, the defense in front of Cam Ward and Eddie Lack needs to be better. Both netminders have been left to dry so far this season, leading to prime scoring chances against.
Columbus: A sexy preseason Stanley Cup selection, the Blue Jackets have been anything but good at the start. Their goaltending has been awful, giving up four goals per game; the defense can’t seem to stop opponents from getting into the open spaces; and the offense is almost invisible despite scoring two goals per game. Something needs to happen fast with the Blue Jackets, or head coach Todd Richards could be on the hot seat.
Edmonton: It just seems to be a trend right now: offenses that don’t produce. The Oilers are loaded with young talent up front, but they just can’t put the puck in the net. The chemistry just isn’t there yet, and that could lead to some more line juggling over the next couple of weeks.
New Jersey: Despite having a talented goaltender in Cory Schneider, who hasn’t played in two of the first three games, the Devils don’t really have top talent anywhere else in the lineup. This is going to be a long year for the Devils, and it’s hard to imagine anything really changing their fortunes this season.
Boston: Well, who didn’t expect this? The Bruins weren’t going to be very good this year based on the offseason they had, and those notions are starting to take form. They lead the league in goals allowed with 16, and are scoring just 2.33 per game. If Boston has any chance of competing this season, Claude Julien has to get his team on the same page, or he could be out of a job by early November.
Michael is a former Managing Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s covered the Buffalo Sabres, along with the NHL in general, for various outlets since 2009. His work has been featured on outlets such as Yahoo, Sports Illustrated and Fox Sports.