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Six NHL Teams To Watch in 2024–25

The 2023–24 season has been filled with surprises, from the rapid rise of the Vancouver Canucks to the continued struggles of the Edmonton Oilers. As the National Hockey League playoffs rage on, it is never too early to look toward the 2024–25 season, which is sure to be full of great storylines. Let’s look at six teams to watch for in this next calendar year.

Las Vegas Golden Knights

The defending champions are a team to watch in 2024. However, since their shocking trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in their first-ever season back in 2017–18, the Golden Knights have always been one of the biggest stories of each season.

They finally won their first-ever Stanley Cup Final last season but struggled to recapture the magic of that year in this regular season, finishing fourth in the division. They snuck into the playoffs as the final Wild Card entry, just ahead of the St. Louis Blues.

Despite that, hockey odds here still have them as one of the favorites in the Western Conference, with many favoring them over the shocking #2-seeded Canucks. Despite their struggles, Vegas should have one of the better rosters in the league next season, thanks to a committed ownership group and a market that any free agent would love to join.

Minnesota Wild

Minnesota was one of the more disappointing teams this season, like the Golden Knights. Their roster underperformed significantly, finishing with 87 points and a 12-goal differential. Their salary cap situation may prove challenging to work around, thanks to the expensive buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Sutter, but they have a strong roster and a good amount of young prospects coming up soon. Look for them to make a significant leap in the standings next season.

Detroit Red Wings

The iconic Detroit Red Wings franchise has won 11 Stanley Cups. Only the Montreal Canadians and Toronto Maple Leafs have more championships.

However, the Red Wings have fallen on hard times. By missing the playoffs in 202–24, Detroit failed to reach the postseason for the 8th consecutive season. That is the longest playoff drought in franchise history, topping the seven-year drought from 1970–1977. Right in the middle of this drought was a disastrous 2019–20 season that saw the Red Wings go 17–49–5, good for a .275 points percentage (PTS%), the third-worst mark in franchise history. Since then, though, the team has steadily improved, seeing their PTS% increase to .429, .451, .488, and .555 over the last four seasons.

They finished the 2023–24 season above .500 for the first time since 2015–16 and missed the playoffs via tiebreaker to the 8th-seeded Washington Capitals. Both teams ended the regular season with 91 points, despite Detroit’s +41 goal differential advantage on Washington. Few teams have a better group of young players than the Red Wings, making them a team that could make noise next year.

Edmonton Oilers

Another year, another disappointing regular season for the Oilers. Since taking phenom Connor McDavid in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Edmonton has made the Conference Finals just once despite McDavid solidifying himself as one of the greatest players ever. They scored five fewer points this year than last and could only manage the #5 seed in the West.

Thanks to McDavid, they have one of the best rosters in the league, but they have never been able to transform into a truly great team. We’ll see if they can next year.

New Jersey Devils

Along with the Red Wings, few teams have as much young talent as the Devils. The rest of their roster needs to be filled out. Still, with Jack Hughes at the front and players like Dawson Mercer and Alexander Holtz in the wings, New Jersey has reason to be excited for a team that has made just two postseason appearances since losing the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011–12. With a ton of cap space, the front office could turn this team into a contender after finishing just a tick below .500 in 2023.

Vancouver Canucks

The Canucks were, without question, the biggest surprise of the 2023–24, and all we want to see is if their success can continue. A franchise known for its recent struggles, the Canucks entered this year having reached the playoffs just twice since 2013.

Vancouver struggled with a long-term vision for the future and attempted to fix its problems through short-term solutions. They went through three coaches in the two years leading up to 2023 when they burst onto the scene with a 109-point season that secured the #3 seed in the West. Led by the star power of Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes, the Canucks have a young roster but don’t have a strong core of veterans or a lot of cap space to work with. The question is how far Pettersson and Hughes can carry them.

Who Are We Forgetting?

There are many powerful storylines going into next season, including the condition of the Boston Bruins’ aging roster and the big future for a Carolina Hurricanes team loaded with young talent. As this season concludes, fans will begin to shift their focus to 2024–25 to have these questions answered.

Igor Burdetskiy

Igor Burdetskiy

Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & CEO at Hooked on Hockey Magazine
I grew up playing Ball and Roller Hockey day and night somewhat religiously throughout elementary and middle school. The two don't compare though when I lace up the skates and hit the ice. I live and breathe hockey beyond the perspective of "it's just a game" and I will gladly talk hockey for hours with anyone. Hockey is more than just a lifestyle, it's a culture of passionate people who make memories every time the puck is dropped. Hockey has not only helped me get through some of the hardest times in life but has created some of the best memories to date. Want to talk hockey with me? Shoot me an email: iburdetskiy@hookedonhockey.com and let's talk some hockey!
Igor Burdetskiy
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