Philadelphia Flyers lead pack of most interesting teams to start season

philadelphia flyers
Oct 13, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Flyers head coach John Tortorella behind the bench against the New Jersey Devils at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL has been a ton of fun to start the 2022-23 season with some very interesting teams like the Philadelphia Flyers making early headlines.

New head coach John Tortorella came into training camp questioning the locker-room and expressing his concerns. However, six games into his tenure he already seems to have the Flyers heading into the right direction.

Philadelphia Flyers

Coming into this season, most hockey fans and experts were talking about the Flyers being a potential landing spot for upcoming lottery pick Connor Bedard. However, six games through the season the Flyers are 4-2 and second in the Metropolitan division. Out of those four wins, two of them were against respectable opponents (Lightning and Predators).

The Flyers’ gritty identity seems to be right in line with how their new coach, John Tortorella, wants them to play. Perhaps the largest contributor to the Flyers’ early season success is Carter Hart. He has looked much improved so far this season and has an undefeated 4-0 record and a very impressive 1.75 GAA. The Flyers most likely won’t stay this hot, but it’s looking like they can be a pesky team who will be making every game close this season. 

Toronto Maple Leafs

nhl games auston matthews
Sep 24, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews (34) skates against the Ottawa Senators during the first period at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone expected the Maple Leafs to be the highest flying offense in the NHL coming into this season. Those expectations couldn’t be further from reality so far, as the Maple Leafs rank 21st in goals for per game. Part of the goal scoring struggle is that the power play has been average at best ranking 14th in the NHL at 24%.

One of the biggest surprises so far has been the reigning Rocket Richard winner, Auston Matthews, only scoring one goal through six games. He is going to have find the back of the net more on this upcoming California road trip for the Leafs to snap out of their offensive slump. Only once this season have they scored more than three goals in a game.

Dallas Stars

Dallas is a difficult team to figure out. Most fans and analysts would probably have them finishing in the middle of the pack by the end of the season. They have some really good key pieces that can make this team a legitimate contender in the West (Jake Oettinger and Jason Robertson) but at the same time have a ton of cap space tied up in underperformers (Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin).

So far, the two pieces that have really made a difference are veteran Joe Pavelski and free agent signing Mason Marchment. These two are leading the team in goals and have been setting the tone for the first place Dallas Stars. If Seguin and Benn can find their groove, this team could be a dark horse cup contender in the Western Conference. 

Vancouver Canucks

bruce boudreau canucks
Dec 6, 2021; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver assistant coach Scott Walker and head coach Bruce Boudreau on the bench during a game against the Los Angeles Kings in the first period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

You would be hard-pressed to find a team with more drama right now than the Vancouver Canucks. After starting last season near the bottom of the standings, the Cancuks brought on Bruce Boudreau to take over as head coach, and he nearly salvaged their season and barely missed the playoffs.

Fast forward to this season and they are currently 0-4-2 and have allowed the fifth most goals against this season. The most concerning part about the Canucks isn’t necessarily that they have lost every game so far, but how they are losing every game. The Canucks have held a lead in five of their six games and managed to surrender every time so far.

It will be interesting to see if Bruce Boudreau can salvage their season once again. He may have to do so sooner rather than later. 

Pittsburgh Penguins

This might not come as a surprise to some, but many fans have been anticipating the Penguins falling off a cliff for several years now. Many thought this year could be the year after a heartbreaking playoff loss to the Rangers, offseason contract drama, and questions surrounding the goaltending. However, the Penguins have come out the gate red hot, specifically their offense.

The Penguins rank first in the NHL in goals per game (5.2) and goals scored (26). They have scored at least six goals in four of their five games so far. The Pens will look for their offense to stay hot as they start their Western Canadian road trip this week and play eight of their next ten games on the road.

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