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NHL review: Jets, Canucks raising eyebrows

Another fun week in the NHL has come and gone and we were treated to plenty of excitement, with many great storylines developing and continuing.

Here is what went down this week in the NHL.

Unexpectedly good teams proving to be the real deal

Each year, there are a handful of teams that come out as surprisingly good, and those teams of this regular season are alive and well. Those surprising teams would be the Philadelphia Flyers and Winnipeg Jets.

Since last season, the Jets’ organization had major moves that were made. This included buying out former captain Blake Wheeler, signing key pieces Mark Scheifele and Connor Hellebuyck, and shipping Pierre-Luc Dubois out of town. When the season began, it was unclear how the season would play out.

They then threw all of the drama under the rug, and after a slow start to the season, they have absolutely taken over the league. They are almost unbreakable defensively, and they have all bought into the system. It is why they are floating near the top of the NHL.

As for the Flyers, their organization was facing drama as well, as a constant underperforming team who should be heading into a rebuild. After hiring head coach John Tortarella and performing great this year, it is clear they have other plans.

While they aren’t at the top of the NHL standings, Philadelphia has held a playoff spot for the entire season. In an ultra-competitive Metropolitan Division, these strong and consistent Flyers are changing the dynamic of the division.

Bedard faces major roadblock

Connor Bedard has absolutely excelled so far this season, which comes as no surprise to anyone. Unfortunately, this week he suffered an injury that has him out for the next 6-8 weeks.

On January 5, Bedard and the Chicago Blackhawks were taking on the New Jersey Devils. While cutting through the middle of the ice, Bedard took an awkward but clean hit to the jaw, and was in visible pain.

This week, it was announced that he is placed on injured reserve, and will be out for at least over a month due to a fractured jaw. This is a major blow to both Bedard and the NHL.

To begin, Bedard was named to the 2024 NHL All-Star Game in Toronto, which he will now be missing. He will also be missing an important regular season game, being the return to his hometown of Vancouver.

Furthermore, it seemed Bedard had the Calder Trophy locked up as the league’s best rookie. He still has a cushion on his lead in points, but will now be battling for this prestigious award down the stretch.

For the sake of Connor Bedard, the league’s up and coming generational talent, we can only hope for a quick recovery and that he doesn’t miss a beat upon returning.

Could this be the first Canadian Stanley Cup since 1993?

Over the past week, two teams have emerged as the top teams in the NHL. Coincidentally, they are both Canadian teams in the Winnipeg Jets and Vancouver Canucks. These teams have been excellent, and are both proving to be a major threat.

Starting with the Vancouver Canucks, they have been dominating all season long. It’s been an all around effort, with top dogs like Elias Pettersson, J.T Miller, Quinn Hughes, and goaltender Thatcher Demko all near the top of NHL statistics in their respective groupings.

The Jets are also getting great contributions from their go-to stars, but are dominating by absolutely suffocating teams. You could say they are winning their games in playoff-style.

Both teams look unstoppable up to this point, as they are beating all teams, and winning in many types of fashion.

Other than the Jets and Canucks, there are two other Canadian teams that could push their way to a Stanley Cup. Those would be the Auston Matthews-lead Toronto Maple Leafs, and Connor McDavid-lead Edmonton Oilers. There is ample opportunity for a Canadian Stanley Cup victory.

Disappointing season continues for the Minnesota Wild

The Minnesota Wild had some decent expectations heading into the season, by fans, analysts, and most importantly, themselves. However this season has gone horribly thus far.

Last year, the Wild had a great season with 103 points in the regular season, and an even better previous year with 113 points. However this year, they are on pace for less than 80.

There have been many factors playing into this such as key injuries, inconsistent play, and unlucky bounces, but the season is halfway through and they almost seem fully out of the race.

They will be looking for a much better second half, but at this point there seems to be minimal hope and confidence in the dressing room.

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