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NHL October 2022 Review

The Colorado Avalanche begin their defense of the Stanley Cup, and the Toronto Maple Leafs have yet another crisis

By Clyde E. DawkinsPublished 3 months ago Updated 3 months ago 6 min read
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The 2022-23 National Hockey League season got off to a very exciting, interesting, and chaotic start; beginning with a pair of games in the Czech Republic just days before things got started in North America. As usual, 32 teams competing, 31 of them hungry for the Stanley Cup, while one team is looking to repeat. The month of October is setting a very wild tone to the season, and here are some of the teams who made some waves in the opening month.

Changes Need to be Made

Let me explain something. I am not a Toronto Maple Leafs fan, but the goings-on with this team in the last number of seasons have me acting like one. The latest crisis to hit this franchise was an embarrassing loss to the Anaheim Ducks on October 30, which saw them lead 3-1 yet lose 4-3 in overtime. The Leafs were in California for a three game road swing, which saw them lose in OT to the San Jose Sharks, lose to the Los Angeles Kings, and then there was this loss to the Ducks--two points out of a maximum six, with no wins overall. Even worse; there was a lot of drama during the loss, as Mitch Marner was benched after his giveaway led to a Ducks goal, yet he was back on the ice for OT.

The Leafs went 4-4-2 in October, and it includes embarrassing losses to the Sharks, Ducks, and the Arizona Coyotes--three teams who were nowhere near the playoffs last season. They ended October in seventh place in the Atlantic Division, with only their provincial rivals, the Ottawa Senators, holding them up. However, while there is faith that the Senators will rise in the division, there is not a lot of optimism for the Leafs, and it's because Kyle Dubas is still the GM. I said in my story about the Leafs' elimination that they should not accept losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning as a reason to keep Dubas, yet that (in my estimation) is what they did. Look what's happened. Jack Campbell and Ilya Mikheyev are gone, and they signed nothing but scraps because, as we know, a vast majority of their cap is tied to four players. Honestly, the Leafs need to take a page out of Vancouver's book from last year, and clean house very soon, before it's too late.

The Devil is in the Details...and in Good Position in the Metro

Who here had the New Jersey Devils in second place in the Metropolitan Division at the end of October? With teams like the Carolina Hurricanes, the Pittsburgh Penguins, and especially the New York Rangers? Yet that's what's happening; the Devils appear to be on a huge roll. New Jersey won six of their first nine games of the season, capped off by a 7-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on October 30, though their biggest victory of October had to be their 1-0 shutout win over the Colorado Avalanche on October 28. The Devils last made the playoffs in 2018, and it's been a bit of a struggle for the team ever since, but it seems like they could be headed in the right direction.

So who is leading the Devils so far? None other than Jesper Bratt with 15 points (4 G/11 A). Nico Hischier has nine points (4 G/5 A), while Jack Hughes (in his fifth season) has eight points (3 G/5 A) of his own. Dougie Hamilton leads defensemen with seven points (2 G/5 A), and while the newly acquired Ondrej Palat has only three points, all of them are goals. The Devils also boast a one-two punch in net in the form of Vitek Vanacek (acquired from Washington) and Mackenzie Blackwood, with each goalie sporting three wins, but it's Vanacek who has the team's lone shutout. The Devils look good to start the season, but time will tell if they maintain this winning vibe the rest of the way.

On the Defense

On October 12, 2022, the Colorado Avalanche raised their third Stanley Cup Championship banner to the rafters, officially marking the start of their title defense. So far, the Avalanche find themselves in the middle of the pack in the Central, but it's still a better start (ironically) than last season. Colorado is 4-4-1 to start the season, with key wins coming against the Vegas Golden Knights on October 22, and the New York Rangers on October 25. This start has come despite being without captain Gabriel Landeskog, who will miss 12 weeks of the season due to knee surgery.

Regarding stats, Nathan MacKinnon and Valeri Nichushkin (both of whom having received big time deals during the offseason) lead the team with 12 points, but in the case of Nichushkin, seven of them are goals. Mikko Rantanen has 11 points (4 G/7 A), but Cale Makar (last year's Conn Smythe winner) has quite a surprising stat. While Makar does lead Avalanche blueliners with eight points, they're all helpers. He has not scored a goal this season, and it comes after he led all defensemen in goals last season. In net, Alexandar Georgiev (acquired from the Rangers) has been working out so far: 4-1-1 record, 2.81 GAA, and a .918 SV%. The Avs' start is kinda slow, but it's a better start than last year, even with the key injuries.

Revenge of the Golden Knights

The Vegas Golden Knights are on a mission this season. Last year, we all laughed and celebrated the Golden Knights' demise, as they missed the playoffs for the first time in their brief franchise history. The schadenfreude is because of how the team carried themselves since that magical first season: nothing but entitlement, arrogance, and excuses for when things didn't go their way. Apparently, the Knights heard our laughter and took it very personally, as they are tied for the highest point total in the entire league. Vegas played 10 games in October, and won eight of them; leading the Pacific Division by four points.

The player with the biggest chip on his shoulder is Jack Eichel, who got traded out of Buffalo last season, but still found himself missing the playoffs. As good of a player as Eichel is, he has never tasted the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the stats show he is literally working to remedy that. Eichel ends the month of October as the Golden Knights' points leader: four goals, six assists, ten points total. This includes his latest two points against the Winnipeg Jets on October 30, with one of them being an overtime game winner. The Vegas Golden Knights are not messing around. 8-2-0 and 16 points in October. They mean business.

If you notice a pattern with this review, that's because this was my intention. The monthly reviews will include a story from each of the four divisions, centering on what teams are making the most noise (whether positive or negative) in each of the league's divisions (Atlantic, Metropolitan, Central, and Pacific). October has definitely been interesting, and the month of November should continue to set the tone for the season.

Thanks for reading my review; feel free to leave a comment below! If you like it, click the heart and click subscribe if you want more, and feel free to leave a tip or pledge (if you want)!

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About the Creator

Clyde E. Dawkins

Born on March 18, 1985. I am an avid fan of sports and wrestling, and I've been a fan of female villains since the age of eight. Also love movies--especially comedy and horror--and among my favorite TV shows are The Simpsons and Family Guy

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  • Cathy holmes3 months ago

    Good review, Clyde. As a Leafs' fan, I can't that I agree with the doom and gloom. Obviously it's a frustrating start, but I'm still expecting a rebound....or maybe I'm just delusional. Looking forward to next month's edition.

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