5. Less injuries, no mumps. There has been a rash of freak injuries, skate cuts, pucks to the face and of course those damn mumps. The mumps?!?! Here's hoping for a healthier 2015 for the entire league.
4. Last year, with players of more than 25 games played, 13 of them averaged a point per game or better. This year, with players of at least 25 games played, there are 15. Not a huge difference. The difference is in who the players are. Of the 15 players on this year's list, eight of them are new from last year. Jakub Voracek, Tyler Johnson, Rick Nash, Nick Foligno, Vladimir Tarasenko, Nicklas Backstrom, Pavel Datsyuk, Derek Stepan. I love that sort of thing. I hope it continues for the remainder of this year and that next year we see yet another group step up. This league has so many incredible players. Some fresh faces can only help grow the game.
3. More teams pushing for the playoffs than ever. I hope the last few days of the regular season mean something to more than the bottom teams in the league hoping for a top pick. I want to see Wild Card spots up for grabs and battles for home-ice advantage right to the end. Considering how close all the teams are right now and how teams have gone on winning streaks, only to follow them up with losing streaks leaves me with the impression that this wish may come true.
2. An exciting June draft in Sunrise, Florida. It's a fitting location, really, with the up and coming Panthers finding their way under new ownership hosting the up and coming talent available in this crop of draftees. Obviously McDavid and Eichel are the headliners, but other names like Hanifin, Marner, Strome, Barzal and Crouse are all extremely popular. In fact, Crouse has taken over the #3 spot in International Rankings. I hope there are loads of trade rumors and crazy ideas being spread with the notion that any team has the potential to get mixed up in the top pick sweepstakes.
1. If Calgary sits in position for the playoffs and Colorado appears to be out, I would hope Calgary makes a push to add Jarome Iginla for their run. I know Iginla wants a Cup, but not everyone gets to pull a Ray Bourque. It would be fitting to see him end his career with a Flames team that is on the rise and on a line with Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau. Iggy back with the Flames would be too good to pass up. Call me sentimental.