The National Hockey League’s (NHL) 2017-2018 season is almost upon us.
The regular season will conclude on Sunday, January 21, and the Stanley Cup Final will be played on February 7.
While the NHL’s playoff format is still being finalized, fans can already purchase merchandise, tickets, and even the opportunity to attend the All-Star game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on March 7.
The latest on the NHL All-star game: NHL.com/AllStar2016Here are the major trends shaping up for the NHL in 2017-20: The Stanley Cup playoffs are now almost here!
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the NHL Championship Series.
With the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs set to be held in Los Vegas on February 23, the first game of the 2017 playoffs will be a showdown between the defending Stanley Cup Champions and the Nashville Predators.
The Predators have a strong resume in the playoffs, having won four Stanley Cups and four Presidents’ Trophies in their history, including four in a row.
But this year, the Predators have some new faces on the team.
Nashville has added two players to the team in the offseason: defenseman Nick Foligno and forward Jake Gardiner.
Gardiner, a former first-round pick by the Nashville, is one of the best defensive prospects in the game.
He has a strong shot and good skating ability and is expected to play a key role in the Predators’ top defensive pairing.
Foligno, the seventh overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, is a 6-foot-3, 205-pound defenseman who is a two-way player.
He was named to the NHL Second All-Rookie Team in 2016-17.
If the Predators can’t make the playoffs this year in their first season in Nashville, it is likely that they will need to add some veteran players in order to make the postseason in the future.
Predators forward Alexander Radulov is a player that has shown tremendous promise this season, scoring 25 goals and 48 points in 82 games with Nashville.
He is projected to play on the first line with forward Filip Forsberg and has shown flashes of potential in his development.
In the Predators third-round playoff game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday, Radulow scored the game-winning goal in overtime to put Nashville into the Stanley War Memorial in overtime.
With the season already in the books, the NHL is taking steps to ensure that fans will have a much better experience during the playoffs.
“We’re trying to take the opportunity we’ve got to make sure that every game is a great experience for the fans, and we’ll continue to do that,” said Commissioner Gary Bettman.
On the ice, the players have had to adjust to the new format.
It’s not just a matter of the number of games.
There are a lot of things to consider, from how the game is being broadcast, to whether there will be video, to what type of locker room atmosphere will be there.
Players are also having to make adjustments on how they will handle themselves on the ice.
One of the key things for the Predators is that the ice will be completely dry during the All Star break.
For the first time in the history of the playoffs and the NHL, players will be allowed to go out onto the ice with water in their helmets.
However, players are not allowed to wear masks and face masks, and players must wear protective equipment when they are on the field.
Another change will be the amount of time players will spend in the locker room.
Previously, the entire game was played in the dressing room.
The NHL has decided to expand the length of the game to 90 minutes to accommodate for a more full ice surface.
While the team has not been able to fully accommodate for this change, the league is hoping that it will help them to maintain a competitive edge during the final stretch of the regular season.
There is a lot more work to be done for the Nashville team as they are going into the playoffs in the first round of the Stanley Series.
Here are some of the things the Predators will need in order for them to make it to the Stanley Final: A strong defensive corps.
The Predators have one of, if not the most, experienced defensive corps in the league.
The Nashville defense has played well in recent years, ranking second in points per game during the 2017 regular season behind only the Pittsburgh Penguins.
A team that can get the puck out of their zone quickly.
The Preds have struggled to generate offense this season.
They are ranked fifth in goals scored per game and sixth in power play goals per game.
They need to get the ball to the net quickly.
This season, the Preds are averaging just 2.2 shots per game, second in the NHL