Week 1: October 2 – 5, 2019
A Captain Unveiled
For the first time in over three years, a Toronto Maple Leafs player skated out onto the ice bearing a C on their sweater, when John Tavares was announced the 25th captain of the Leafs ahead of their home opener last Wednesday. Rounding out the team’s official leadership group for the 2019-2020 season are alternate captains Morgan Rielly, Auston Matthews, and Mitch Marner. Previous to signing with his hometown Leafs last summer, Tavares served as captain of the New York Islanders from 2013 to 2018.
Signed, Sealed, and Delivered Extensions
Two of next summer’s prominent RFA names closed on extensions this week, as Alex DeBrincat inks a $19.2 million ($6.4 million AAV) gig through the 2022-2023 season with the Blackhawks, and St. Louis’ Brayden Schenn maxes out a full eight-year extension for $52 million ($6.5 million AAV). The 2020 RFA class seems to be deterred by the drama, as DeBrincat states he “didn’t want to wait around like all the RFA’s”, most likely referring to all the notable contract hold-outs of this past offseason.
For two teams, their first puck drop of the regular season takes place on an entirely different continent than the rest of the league. The NHL Global Series began Friday between the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers at O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic. In front of a sellout crowd of 17,463 hockey fans overseas, the teams played a lively back-and-forth contest, where the Flyers ultimately held out a 4-3 win over the Blackhawks. Each team will have ample time to shake off the jet lag, as the Flyers and Blackhawks don’t return to the ice until their home openers on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.
Speaking of Global…
The World Cup of Hockey tournament could be making a comeback. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly cited discussions of bringing back the multi-nation tournament alongside the notion of continuing the growth of the game. Not only does the NHL-sanctioned event bring hockey excitement early into September, the last World Cup event in Toronto in 2016 birthed a fan-favorite and electrifying super-team of young talent in Team North America, so it’s no doubt that a WCH resurrection would be welcomed by hockey fans everywhere.
Evgeni Malkin (PIT): The Penguins forward left during the second period of Pittsburgh’s home contest against Columbus after an awkward puck maneuver and collision along the boards. Malkin did not return to the game and there has not yet been an update on the player’s condition.
Brandon Montour (BUF): In September, it was announced that the Sabres defenseman would not be finishing out the preseason due to a hand injury. An update from the club this week confirmed that Montour will be out 3-4 weeks.
GIF of the Week:
League Leaders (Pts.)
- Mika Zibanejad, NYR (8)
- Auston Matthews, TOR (5)
- Mitchell Marner, TOR (5)
- Johnny Gaudreau, CGY (5)
- Connor McDavid, EDM (5)
- Leon Draisaitl, EDM (5)
- Morgan Rielly, TOR (5)
- Matt Duchene, NSH (5)
- Mike Hoffman, FLA (4)
- Mikko Rantanen, COL (4)
- (Coming Soon.) (It’s only Week 1.)
What you might have missed on Puck It Up…
- Blackhawks vs. Eisbären Game Recap
- Recap: Devils Make a Mark over Rangers
- Our 2019-2020 Season Predictions