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Shooting the Breeze: Most exciting NHL teams to watch

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Sticking to one game of hockey at a time can be difficult and can be quite the unbearable choice. Don’t worry, Tribune Sports came up with the three most exciting NHL teams to watch this season.

Arizona Coyotes

Overshadowed by the Edmonton Oilers youth movement and rumours of relocation, the Arizona Coyotes are a team quietly on the rise. The youth crusade has taken years to develop, but it’s finally coming to fruition. Last season was miserable for the Coyotes, but top defenceman, Oliver Ekman-Larsson showed flashes of brilliance. He thrived last season, leading the team with 43 points, and looked like one of the best power play triggermen in the league. Arizona has also welcomed raw, exciting young talents like forward Max Domi and wingers Anthony Duclair and Tobias Rieder into the fold­—they all registered at least five points in their first five games. With the electric speed and dynamic offensive capabilities of both Domi and Duclair, the Coyotes will have a formidable offence that can compete with the top teams in the NHL. Goaltender Mike Smith has returned as a true No. 1 goalie and will be key to the Coyotes’ success. Small sample size nonwithstanding, Smith has hit the ground running this season, posting a 2.26 GAA and a .940 save percentage in four games. Overall, the Coyotes are going to be an energetic team to watch, with young rookies who will add passion and velocity to their game.

– Sason Ross

New York Rangers

The New York Rangers embody exciting play in today’s NHL. With playmakers all over the ice, this is the team to watch. Thus far, two players have stood out above the rest with fantastic plays and contributions. Forward Oscar Lindberg is tied for first in the league with four goals scored. The Swedish rookie should keep the goals flowing and contribute to the Rangers’ dominant offence. On the other side of the ice, fellow Swede Henrik Lundqvist’s artfully unorthodox butterfly style is a joy to watch. So far, Lundqvist is off to an exceptional start. His .933 save rate is the highest of his career through the first five games of a season. The usually slow-starting goalie has been on fire, holding the opposition to three goals or fewer in all but one game this season thus far. If he can maintain his elite production through the rest of the season, the Rangers should be in a much better position come April when New York makes its inevitable Stanley Cup run.

– Joe Khammar

Chicago Blackhawks

The teams worth watching are not the ones that are rumoured to win it all, but rather the teams with chemistry that allows offensive prowess to reign, and where the stage is set for exciting goaltending glove denials. Though the Edmonton Oilers are going to be crazy, and the Montreal Canadiens might have the best goaltender in the league, the most fun team to watch this year is perennial powerhouse Chicago Blackhawks. At the risk of being predictable, the Blackhawks were Stanley Cup Champions last year for a reason. The key to winning hockey games is good defence, but the key to fun hockey is explosive offence and game-saving goaltending. Chicago has the ability to win and look good doing it; watching a winning team is half the fun of NHL hockey. With forwards like Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, along with last year’s breakout netminder Scott Darling, there is much to be excited about in this strong team. The defence, marshalled by veterans Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, have infallible chemistry with forwards that are strong down the depth chart. The transition game manifests in quick breakouts that lead to even quicker goals courtesy of Kane and Toews, who are among the top puck-handlers in the game.

– Nicole Spadotto

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