The 2015-16 NHL season concluded with the Pittsburgh Penguins raising their second Stanley Cup in the last eight years. Although ice surfaces around the league will soon be melted for summer, June offers an exciting preview of the season to come.
Here’s a look at five storylines to keep an eye on for the upcoming 2016-17 NHL season:
1. Auston Matthews
18 year old phenom, Auston Matthews, is a lock to be the first overall pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2016 NHL Entry draft. Matthews is a touted, franchise prospect whose size, skill and versatility compares to Blackhawks star, Jonathan Toews. Will Matthews be able to revitalize a lethargic Toronto franchise? All eyes will be on him as he tries to live up to his big-time billing.
2. NHL in Vegas
The question is when, not if, the NHL will expand to Las Vegas. 2016-17 should be the year in which the NHL decides exactly when an expansion draft will take place. Where will the team play and what will they be named? Expansion into a non-traditional market will certainly be a test for the NHL – it will be interesting to follow this development.
3. Outdoor Games
Outdoor games are a fantastic hockey experience for fans and players alike, connecting the professional game back to its roots on the pond. Annually one of the hockey’s biggest attractions, the NHL will host multiple outdoor games in 2016-17:
- Heritage Classic: Winnipeg Jets vs. Edmonton Oilers, Oct 15th [Investors Group Field]
- Centennial Classic: Detroit Red Wings vs. Toronto Maple Leafs, Jan 1st [BMO Field]
- Winter Classic: St. Louis Blues vs. Chicago Blackhawks, Jan 2nd [Busch Stadium]
- Stadium Series: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers, Feb 18th [Heinz Field]
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4. Progression of Connor McDavid
Connor McDavid, touted as a once-in-a-generation-player, saw his rookie season cut short with injury. Nonetheless, the rookie forward posted an astonishing 48 points in 45 games. Can McDavid remain healthy for a full season? McDavid is can’t miss television with hall-of-fame potential.
5. Stamkos Sweepstakes
Free Agent forward, Steven Stamkos, will hit the Free Agent market on July 1st. Stamkos possesses the talent to singlehandedly alter the balance of power in the league depending on where he signs. The two time 50 goal scorer will command a massive contract. Rumors have linked Stamkos to the Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs.
NHL fans, don’t miss out on these exciting opportunities in 2016-17. Please contact us to book or click here if you’d like to view fantastic suite opportunities for the upcoming NHL season. SEG retains the largest suite inventory for NHL games. We are pleased to assist you with all your suite needs.