The National Hockey League (NHL) has some of the biggest and most skilled players in the world, but that doesn’t mean the league isn’t susceptible to drama and controversy. In fact, many of the headlines surrounding the NHL this season concern players’ off-ice actions as much as their on-ice ones, from player injuries to legal issues to social media mistakes which make picking this year’s winners and losers all the more difficult! Check NHL picks today to find some of the latest player headlines to watch for when choosing your NHL picks today.
1. Sidney Crosby
The Penguins have been struggling lately, and they could use a boost. Crosby has been sidelined with a concussion since Jan. 1, but he’s feeling better now. He is still not cleared to play, but his progress is promising. If he’s able to return before playoffs begin, he’ll provide Pittsburgh with another scoring option that could be crucial for their post-season success. However, if it comes down to resting him and risking injury or rushing him back and risking long-term effects of the injury, it’s best that Crosby is eased back into game shape.
Even if Crosby doesn’t play in any more games this season, this should give Pens fans some hope that he may come back in time for the playoffs. The team will also continue to focus on winning and holding on to first place so there won’t be as much pressure on him when he returns because they’ve already set themselves up well enough in front of him.
2. Alex Ovechkin
Alex Ovechkin has been a powerhouse for the Washington Capitals over his 18-year career with the team, but at 34 years old, he’s starting to show his age. I’m not saying that he’s on his last legs or anything like that. The guy is still probably in contention for being one of the best players in hockey when it comes to scoring goals and making plays. But he is aging, and it looks like the Caps are aware of this.
They’re going to be looking for a way to stay competitive without their top scorer and have done so by bringing in new players who can help fill some of those gaps. Tyler Seguin was just traded to Washington from Dallas, which should provide a big boost offensively. Other teams in the Eastern Conference are also trying to get better as well, so we’ll see how long it takes before someone pushes past them into first place.
3. Connor McDavid
Connor McDavid is one of the NHL’s hottest stars, but he’ll be sidelined for at least 10 months following surgery to repair a broken clavicle. The injury occurred during a playoff game against Calgary. Oilers coach Todd McLellan said It’s an unfortunate injury but it happens and we’ll live with it.
McDavid is expected to return to action in 2023, which could potentially put a damper on his bid for the Hart Memorial Trophy as league MVP. But that award will most likely go to Sidney Crosby who leads all players in points per game and won’t miss any time due to injury. Crosby has made the Hart three times before – 2006, 2007, and 2014 – so he knows what it takes to win this prestigious honor.
McDavid will still have a chance to become just the fourth player since 1997 to win both the Art Ross (scoring champion) and Hart trophies in consecutive seasons if he does manage to come back from injury by 2020. While Crosby is currently leading with 110 points through 82 games played, McDavid was leading before getting injured with 128 points through 79 games played.
4. Nathan MacKinnon
MacKinnon had a setback in his recovery, but he should be back on the ice soon. The Colorado Avalanche will need their top player back as they try to make it into the playoffs.
The Avalanche have been trying to fill MacKinnon’s spot with other players, but nothing has been working so far this season. They are currently in last place in their division and out of playoff contention.
MacKinnon needs to come back fast if they want any chance at winning a cup or even making it into the playoffs this year. This team is going to need an extra boost if they want to make it into playoffs, and MacKinnon can provide that. It will be interesting to see what happens when he comes back on the ice. Will they be able to win? Will MacKinnon return to form? Or will he be too injured and unable to play?
It’s unclear how much time before we’ll find out the answers, but we’re waiting with bated breath. In there was another news update about Nathan MacKinnon and where he stands with his injury.
He missed the first half of only to miss the rest of the season because of a high ankle sprain.
5. Auston Matthews
Auston Matthews headlines a list of players who are not playing in the NHL this season. In February, Matthews announced he was taking a break from hockey to focus on his mental health and family life. He has played in just 36 games this season and only scored four goals.
The Toronto Maple Leafs forward has been plagued by injuries for much of his career, which may be why he is choosing to take some time off now. Other top players who are not currently playing include Erik Karlsson (Ottawa Senators), John Tavares (New York Islanders), Jeff Skinner (Carolina Hurricanes), and Gabriel Landeskog (Colorado Avalanche).
There’s no question that there is no shortage of talent waiting for their chance on the ice.
The NHL season is in full swing and with so many games happening; it’s hard to keep up with what’s going on. That’s why we created NHL Daily Picks. Our goal is to take all of your favorite teams and break down their latest player news. It’s our way of providing quick updates on the most important happenings for your team(s) and keeping you informed about everything that’s going on in hockey!