The New NHL season is underway and so is a new era of coverage in the USA, with the league signing up to a deal with both ESPN and Turner Sports. Of course, the biggest of these is the deal with ESPN, finally putting hockey back on the channel after 17 years.
The deal for ESPN to show hockey is the biggest game package, becoming the NHL’s lead TV partner at a cost of $400 million per year. The great news on the back of these two deals is that the NHL has a lot of money coming into the league, giving them the ability to change and improve things, and potentially open up to a new audience.
After being a little behind the likes of the NFL and NBA, the NHL needs to find a way to move forward, and this deal could be the start of something. Now it’s time for the stars of the game to showcase what they have, to entertain both die hard fans and casuals, who are tuning in thanks to the new deals.
NHL Needs Stars to Shine This Season to Showcase the League
The new season is underway, and now that the league has a place to shine, the players and teams need to step up and show just how good they are and how much they can entertain. Much of this will fall onto the shoulders of the very best teams in the league.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are, without a doubt, one of the most important teams for the NHL this season. They have won back-to-back Stanley Cup titles over the last two years, and begin this campaign looking for a third. In a salary cap era, this is not easy to do, but bookmakers believe they have a genuine chance of doing it. The Lightning are currently priced at +640 to win their third Stanley Cup title in a row with Space Casino, which puts them as second favorites in the betting.
Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman and Alex Killorn are just some of the star names on the roster that has been assembled in Tampa Bay. When they are showcased on TV via this new deal, it is players like this who need to show just how good the league is.
Despite their recent success, the Lightning are not favorites to win the Stanley Cup, that honor falls onto the Colorado Avalanche. This team has been built full of young stars, but as of now, they have not delivered – they are yet to get past the second round of the playoffs, losing to Vegas at that stage last season.
The team is one that looks great on TV, and will really wow over the course of the new season. The speed of Nathan MacKinnon is electric, Mikko Rantanen brings goals and Cale Makar jumps into play from defense at key moments to give them an additional option.
In many ways, the Avs are the perfect team for NHL neutrals and casual fans, so just like Tampa, they need to shine and showcase the league this season.
“Proud thinker. Tv fanatic. Communicator. Evil student. Food junkie. Passionate coffee geek. Award-winning alcohol advocate.”