Now that the hockey season is now 2 weeks underway, There are a few teams that I've seen improve so far since last season. The first team is the New Jersey Devils with a 6-2-0 record and currently sitting in 1st in the Metropolitan Division and 6th in the league. Some off season acquisitions really helped. The Devils picked up the number 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft after winning the lottery and then picked the young talented Nico Hischier, who has 2 goals, 5 assists, and 7 points so far. They also picked up some other key players including Brian Boyle, Marcus Johansson, Drew Stafford, and Jesper Bratt. Even though it is very early in the season, the Devils will be around for the playoffs is my prediction.
Another team that has impressed me are the Vegas Golden Knights sitting nicely with a 7-1-0 record and first in the pacific. This is the best start in the history of the NHL for a 1st year team. They did get some talented players over their first offseason including James Neal, Marc-Andre Fleury and Oscar Lindberg. In my prediction, I think the Golden Knights will just miss the playoffs, but will still have a very impressive season.
These are the teams who i think will be in the playoffs this year:
METROPOLITAN DIVISION: NJ Devils, Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins
ATLANTIC DIVISION: Toronto Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay Lightning, Detroit Red Wings
CENTRAL DIVISION: Chicago Blackhawks, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues
PACIFIC DIVISION: Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, LA Kings
WILD CARD EAST: NY Islanders, Boston Bruins
WILD CARD WEST: San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks