Early season Studs and Duds of the NHL

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The NHL season has been underway for just over a week, and there has been several shocking upsets and many surprises in the league. There are many teams that became the "studs" of the NHL season while other teams became the "duds."

Studs are teams that have been extremely impressive so far this year in comparison to their performance last year while duds are the exact opposite. Keep in mind that the season has only begun, and each team has played for only a maximum of six games each, so these observations do not mean much at this point. 

Here are the studs and duds of the NHL season so far this year:


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1. Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens opened their season with a 6-0 record, with a plus 13 goal difference. They currently lead the NHL in points, goals for and goal difference.

The Canadien's captain Max Pacioretty scored four goals and two assists in six games so far this season while goaltender Carey Price has been stellar in net, with a  .957 save percentage so far this season. With key players contributing at their peak levels, this has been the dream start for the Montreal Canadiens.

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2. Arizona Coyotes

The Arizona Coyotes held the second-worst record in the NHL last season as they were only two points ahead of the league's worst team, the Buffalo Sabres. However, this took a dramatic turn at the beginning of this year.

The Coyotes have won three out of their first four games and actually have a plus seven goal difference. The Coyotes had a minus 102 goal difference at the end of the season last year, so the fact that they have a positive goal difference is already a huge step forward for the team.

In fact, the Coyotes have defeated last year's Pacific Division's champions, the Anaheim Ducks, the 2014 Stanley Cup Champions, the LA Kings, and the superstar-loaded Pittsburgh Penguins.

Can the Coyotes keep up their current pace? Probably not. But they did make one of the best starts in their franchise history this year and that is what makes them a stud so far this season. 

3. San Jose Sharks

The San Jose Sharks have performed spectacularly well so far this season. They have won four out of the five games they played and have a plus-nine goal difference.

Their success comes mostly from Martin Jones, their new goalie who put up a .983 save percentage and a 0.49 goals-against average in his first four games. He also managed to shut out the Anaheim Ducks as well.

The Sharks team also contributed greatly to their success, with Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton combining for four goals and six assists in their last five games. If Martin Jones can continue to play the way he is playing right now, the Sharks are primed to have a great season this year.


1. Columbus Blue Jackets

The Columbus Blue Jackets have gotten off to a rocky start this season after losing all six of their games, and conceding 30 goals. Blue Jacket goalie Sergei Bobrovsky has admitted that he has absolutely no confidence after losing to the atrocious Maple Leafs.

Bobrovsky has seen better days as he currently has a 5.07 goals-against-average, and a .835 save percentage. Furthermore, the defensive unit has been falling apart recently, making Bobrovsky's job even harder.

The only decent thing about the Blue Jackets is their first line which boasts the talents of Brandon Saad, Nick Foligno, and Ryan Johansen. Unfortunately, a single line of talented attackers is not enough to win the Blue Jackets any games yet. Hopefully, they can turn their season around sometime in the near future, but as of right now, they are the worst team in the NHL, making them a dud.

2. Edmonton Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers never had a good start to a season in the past decade. In fact, the Oilers never had a good season in the past decade either as they finished near the bottom of the table every year.

The recent addition of Connor McDavid and Cam Talbot and the growth of Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had their fans optimistic. However, the Oilers are just as bad as their previous seasons, with a 0-6 record and a minus eight-goal difference.The Oilers were always the duds for the past ten years or so, and this hasn't changed at all so far this season.

3. Anaheim Ducks

The Anaheim Ducks are just one point better than the Edmonton Oilers and the Columbus Blue Jackets, but they have suffered great setbacks since their success last season. The Ducks topped their division last year and finished second in the Western Conference (only being edged out by the St. Louis Blues due to goal difference).

However, this year, the Ducks have lost all four of their games and only managed to salvage one point so far. The Ducks were shut out twice by the Colorado Avalanche and once by the San Jose Sharks. In fact, they have only managed to score one goal in all of their games so far. 

With proven goal scorers like Corey Perry, Ryan Kesler, Carl Hagelin and Ryan Getzlaf as well as rookies like Sami Vatanen and Jakob Silfverberg, these offensive blunders should not be occurring at all.

The Anaheim roster is teeming with talent and potential in all departments of the team. Anaheim will have to work really hard to dig themselves out of the hole they created in order to compete for dominance over the Pacific Division again this year. 

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Montreal Canadiens
San Jose Sharks
Edmonton OIlers
Columbus Blue Jackets
Anaheim Ducks

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