October 12 — 2021-22 NHL Season Starts Today!

On Tap For Today — Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay; 7:30 pm EDT; ESPN, ESPN+, TVAS, SN & Seattle at Vegas; 7:00 pm PDT; ESPN, ESPN+, TVAS, SN

Last Night’s News

SWINGING STYLES: Pop star Harry Styles was spotted golfing with Carolina Hurricanes forwards Sebastian Aho and Martin Nečas on Monday afternoon. Styles, who is in Raleigh to perform a concert today, caused the Hurricanes’ Twitter account to rebrand as the “Harrycanes,” as he gets set to take over PNC Arena.

CAPTAIN GIO: Mark Giordano has been named the first captain in Seattle Kraken franchise history. He was the former captain of the Calgary Flames for eight seasons and brings a wealth of experience to his new team. Joining Giordano in a leadership role for the Kraken will be Jordan Eberle, Adam Larsson, Yanni Gourde, and Jaden Schwartz who will serve as alternate captains for the 2021-22 season.

T-B-THREE: Tampa Bay’s 2021-22 season is brought to you by the number 3. Not only are the Lightning looking to complete the first Stanley Cup three-peat since the New York Islanders in the 1980s, but on Monday, Tampa announced a three-year contract extension with head coach Jon Cooper.

OPENING NIGHT ROSTERS: All 32 teams have submitted their opening night rosters. Find out who made the cut here!

Trivia Tuesday

Do you know your NHL opening night trivia?

  1. Auston Matthews of the Maple Leafs set a record by scoring four goals in his NHL debut on opening night in 2016. Who was the Maple Leafs opponent that night?
    • Boston Bruins
    • Detroit Red Wings
    • Ottawa Senators
    • Tampa Bay Lightning

  2. In what season did the NHL play the season opener in September?
    • 2007-08
    • 2008-09
    • 2009-10
    • 2010-11

  3. Which team won on opening night in each of its first seven NHL seasons?
    • Boston Bruins
    • Montreal Maroons
    • Montreal Canadiens
    • New York Rangers

Answers can be found at the bottom of the email.

Wait and “C”

With Monday’s announcement that Mark Giordano had been named the first captain in Seattle Kraken franchise history, there are now six NHL clubs that are without a player donning the captain “C.” Of course, there are a variety of reasons that a team would be without a captain, from a young, rebuilding group that doesn’t have a core player ready for the designation to a club that just lost its previous captain. Regardless, here’s who these six franchises may look to next to serve as their fearless leader.

Arizona Coyotes

Jakob Chychrun, Arizona Coyotes (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Oliver Ekman-Larsson left a leadership vacancy upon being traded to Vancouver, but the Coyotes are well equipped to fill the void with either blossoming leader Jakob Chychrun or long-term foundational piece Clayton Keller.

Buffalo Sabres

Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

I’m pretty sure there are league rules against naming a captain that doesn’t actually play for your team. This is bad news for Buffalo because first-overall pick Owen Power, currently back with the Michigan Wolverines, looks every bit the Sabres’ future locker room leader post-Jack Eichel.

Calgary Flames

Matthew Tkachuk, Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Giordano is gone, and the most obvious candidates to fill the Flames’ captaincy (Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan) have seen their status muddled by recent trade rumors. Might it be Matthew Tkachuk’s time?

Columbus Blue Jackets

Boone Jenner, Columbus Blue Jackets (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Columbus’ leadership ranks took a hit this summer, with former captain Nick Foligno signing in Boston, Seth Jones heading to Chicago, and Cam Atkinson getting dealt to Philadelphia. Really, this should still be pretty simple, though: Boone Jenner is the clear choice to take over for Foligno.

New York Rangers

Jacob Trouba, New York Rangers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Ryan Strome, Chris Kreider, Ryan Reaves, and reigning Norris Trophy winner Adam Fox all have leadership qualities to offer, but the captaincy on Broadway really ought to belong to Jacob Trouba.

Ottawa Senators

Brady Tkachuk, Ottawa Senators (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Keith Tkachuk held the captaincy with the Winnipeg Jets and, later, the Phoenix Coyotes. Now, we could be looking at a not-too-distant future where two of his sons sport the “C” on their jerseys once the Senators tap Brady to lead the team.

MSk8 Debate 💬

As we head into the regular season, our crew at the Morning Skate will give our predictions for the 2021-22 NHL season. Today’s debate: Who will win the Norris Trophy?

BF: A fresh start in the Windy City and a fat new contract (yes, I know it doesn’t kick in until next season) should do wonders for Seth Jones. The Blackhawks’ blue line remains somewhat thin, so the 27-year-old should get every opportunity to prove his worth and earn heavy minutes. Sure, Jones is four years removed from his career campaign in 2017-18, but playing in front of Marc-André Fleury could do wonders for the All-Star rearguard.

KF: Cale Makar will win the Norris Trophy in June. The 22-year-old finished second in voting last season, losing to Adam Fox. Makar is entering his third NHL season with 94 career points in 101 games, and he successfully avoided the sophomore slump by scoring 44 points in 44 games. This season, he will win the first of the many Norris Trophies he will win throughout his career.

JJ. Charlie McAvoy is going to break out this season for the Boston Bruins and win the Norris Trophy. The 23-year-old is one of the best defenders at 5v5, but his limited power-play production is what has held him back from the likes of Cale Makar and Adam Fox. Once he figures out how to pass to David Pastrňák and Brad Marchand, he will win the first Norris Trophy of his career.

KK: While all of the defensemen that my colleagues listed above are solid choices for the Norris, they are all forgetting about the best defenseman in the league. Victor Hedman played half the 2020-21 season injured and still finished third in the Norris voting by putting up 45 points. Now, with the 30-year-old healthy from surgery, Hedman will be ready to lead one of the best teams in the NHL.

VERDICT: Our crew predicts that the Norris race will be wide open this season. Agree or disagree with our choices? Sound off on Twitter using #MSk8Debate or join the discussion on Discord.

Trivia Answers

  1. Ottawa Senators
  2. 2007-08
  3. New York Rangers

Click here for more opening night trivia!