NHL Season Resumes with Trade Deadline, MVP Race and Outdoor Hockey on the Horizon

The NHL All-Star Weekend is over, and the league is ready to resume its regular season with plenty of excitement and drama. The next few weeks will feature some major events, such as the trade deadline, the MVP race, and the outdoor hockey doubleheader at MetLife Stadium. Here are some of the key storylines to watch as the NHL enters the second half of the 2023-24 season.

Trade Deadline Looms as Teams Make Moves

The NHL trade deadline is set for March 8, and some teams have already made some significant moves to bolster their rosters. The Vancouver Canucks acquired center Elias Lindholm from the Calgary Flames, adding another offensive weapon to their Pacific Division-leading squad. The Winnipeg Jets landed center Sean Monahan from the Montreal Canadiens, hoping to improve their depth and scoring in the Central Division.

But these are not the only teams that are looking to make a splash before the deadline. The New York Rangers, who are in a tight race for a playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division, are reportedly in the market for a center, after losing Filip Chytil to a season-ending injury. The Colorado Avalanche, who are second in the Central Division and have one of the most potent offenses in the league, are also searching for a middle-six center and possibly a backup goalie.

NHL Season Resumes

There are also several players who could be on the move, either as rentals or as part of a bigger deal. Some of the names that have been mentioned in trade rumors include goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (Minnesota Wild), center Adam Henrique (Anaheim Ducks), defenseman Sean Walker (Philadelphia Flyers), forward Jake Guentzel (Pittsburgh Penguins), and defenseman Jakob Chychrun (Ottawa Senators). The next few weeks will be crucial for teams to decide whether they are buyers or sellers, and how they can improve their chances of winning the Stanley Cup.

MVP Race Heats Up Between MacKinnon and McDavid

One of the most intriguing individual battles in the NHL this season is the race for the Hart Trophy, awarded to the league’s most valuable player. The two frontrunners for the award are Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche and Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers, who are both having phenomenal seasons.

MacKinnon leads the league in points with 75 in 49 games, and has been the driving force behind the Avalanche’s success. He has also been a dominant force in the All-Star Game, scoring four goals and adding an assist in the 3-on-3 tournament. McDavid is second in points with 73 in 48 games, and has been carrying the Oilers on his back. He has also been on a historic run, scoring at least one point in 16 consecutive games, tying the longest streak in the NHL since 1997-98.

Both players are also surrounded by talented teammates, such as Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog for MacKinnon, and Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for McDavid. The second half of the season will be a test for both players, as they try to lead their teams to the playoffs and make a case for the MVP award.

Outdoor Hockey Returns with Stadium Series Doubleheader

The NHL is bringing back its popular outdoor hockey series, with two games scheduled for Feb. 17 and 18 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The first game will feature the New Jersey Devils and the Philadelphia Flyers, two rivals who are fighting for a playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division. The second game will showcase the New York Rangers and the New York Islanders, another heated rivalry that has playoff implications in the same division.

The outdoor games are always a spectacle, as the players and fans get to experience the game in a different setting and atmosphere. The games also have a historical and nostalgic appeal, as they remind the players of their childhood days of playing hockey on frozen ponds and lakes. The games also have a competitive edge, as the teams try to adjust to the weather conditions and the ice quality, and try to earn valuable points in the standings.

The NHL has staged 30 outdoor games since 2003, and they have been a huge success in terms of attendance, ratings, and revenue. The league is hoping to continue that trend with the Stadium Series doubleheader, which will be the first time the league has done outdoor games on back-to-back days.

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