With every team about four or five games past the 10-game mark, coaches and GMs have started to make changes, and fanbases and analysts have started forming long-term opinions.
There are a lot of great story lines this year, and some teams that have played way over expectations, and others under.
In short, I'll give you one word to sum up the start every team has had this year.
Record: 5-6-3 26th
Leading Scorer: Teemu Selanne, 5g-9a-14p Even
The Ducks are bottoming out the league in almost all offensive categories. Thirtieth in goals per game, 30th in shots per game, 29th in 5-on-5 scoring and 24th on the powerplay.
Of the 26 total goals the team has, 19 of them have come from four players alone (Perry-5, Ryan-5, Getzlaf-4, Selanne-5).
Record: 6-7-0, 28th
Leading Scorer: Tyler Seguin 8g-7a-15p +11
If you could point to one example that the dreaded Stanley Cup hangover exists, it's the Boston Bruins right now. Although they look good in almost every statistical category, the Bruins look a step behind a lot of opponents.
Record: 9-5-0, 7th
Leading Scorer: Thomas Vanek 10g-8a-18p +4
The Sabres have had to adjust to newcomers and a start of the season overseas. They have also dealt with a few bumpy and ugly games, but for the most part have come out of the gates looking very strong.
Record: 6-7-1 25th
Leading Scorer: Alex Tanguay 3g-8a-11p +1
The NHLs oldest team has looked the part starting the year. The cupboard is pretty bare in terms of prospects as well. Calgary is showing their fans with this slow start that a rebuild needs to be very soon.
Record: 5-7-3, 26th
Leading Scorer: Jeff Skinner 6g-8a-14p -7
The Hurricanes have shown some offensive talent, but can't seem to put anything together in the defensive end of the ice. Key players Eric Staal, Joni Pitkanen and Jeff Skinner all come in at a whopping -16, -10 and -7 respectively.
Record: 8-4-3, 5th
Leading Scorer: Patrick Kane 4g-11a-15p +8
Newest blue collar additions Andrew Brunette, Dan Carcillo and Steve Montador are helping the Blackhawks return to the NHL elite. Regulars Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa also continue to fire up the new-look Hawks.
Record: 7-7-1 18th
Leading Scorer: Matt Duchene 5g-7a-12p -2
As expected with a young Avs team, some games they blow up and look very good, and other games they fall flat on their faces. Four times this season the Avs have scored four-plus goals in a game. But in six games, they have score one or fewer.
It should also be noted that the Avalanche powerplay is currently No. 1 in the NHL.
Record: 2-11-1 30th
Leading Scorer: Vinny Prospal 5g-6a-11p -4
Game changers Jeff Carter and James Wisniewski started the season injured and suspended respectively. Nothing spells disastrous like the worst defense in the league, the worst powerplay and the third worst penalty kill.
Couple those things with an eight-game losing streak to start off your season.
Record: 11-3-0 1st
Leading Scorer: Jamie Benn 5g-13a-18p +8
Wow. Who saw this one coming? Dallas the best team in hockey? Not I.
Record: 7-5-1 21st
Leading Scorer: Johan Franzen 8g-5a-13p +4
There is something different about the Red Wings this season. They don't seem to have the flair, the quickness or the confidence of old. Signs of the inevitable aging to start the season?
Record: 9-3-2 3rd
Leading Scorer: Ryan Smyth 7g-7a-14p +4
A young team that is also the best defensive team in hockey. Explain that? Discipline. They are one of the best shot-blocking teams in the league and fourth overall in penalty kill. Their goal scoring is a bit low, but what's that old saying? Oh right, defense wins championships.
Record: 7-4-3 11th
Leading Scorer: Kris Versteeg 5g-8a-13p +4
There is no other way for me to describe the early season success of the Florida Panthers than pleasant. It's really nice to see the team finally getting results after so many struggling years. Versteeg, Fleischmann, Campbell and Kopecky are thriving in their new setting down South.
Record: 7-5-3 10th
Leading Scorer: Anze Kopitar 8g-10a-18p -1
Thus far, the Kings' season has been rather hot and cold. They started off 5-1-1 but quickly fell to 7-5-3 over the next eight games. It's understandable given the change of personnel and a long road trip to start the year. One player who has been hot and stayed hot, though, is Anze Kopitar.
Record: 8-3-3 6th
Leading Scorer: Dany Heatley 5g-5a-10p +4
Minnesota is winning games with a great work ethic. Low goals for, but lower goals against. They are winning games 5-on-5, and scoring by committee. Heatley and Setoguchi, acquired from San Jose, are a welcome sight to perennial leading scorer Mikko Koivu.
Record: 5-7-2 27th
Leading Scorer: Tomas Plekanec 4g-9a-13p -1
Again the storyline to accompany the Canadiens is injuries. Gomez, Spacek, Campoli, Cammalleri and Markov have all missed time—or are currently missing time—already this season. With so many key players out hurt, it's no surprise to see Montreal struggling.
Record: 7-5-2 15th
Leading Scorer: David Legwand 5g-9a-14p +5
The Predators sing a similar song to last season. Score as a gang with a bunch of non-household names. Nashville is middle of the pack, but the team still plays with an identity that hasn't changed from successful years past.
Record: 7-5-1 20th
Leading Scorer: Patrik Elias 6g-7a-13p +2
The average to below average start shouldn't be as worrisome to Devils fans, but the play of key guys Ilya Kovalchuk, Henrik Tallinder and Anton Volchenkov should be. Kovalchuk has just two goals, and his defensive game continues to be a knock, with a -4.
Also worrisome is the fate of Zach Parise and the fate of the team if they can't find a goaltender under the age of 38.
Record: 4-6-2 29th
Leading Scorer: John Tavares 8g-5a-13p -2
I think most Islanders fans thought this would be a year they could take steps forward. But instead they find themselves mired in the bottom five again. Kyle Okposo, Josh Bailey and Blake Comeau have been invisible. DiPietro got hurt again. And the new stadium initiative denied.
Frustrating can't even begin to describe the season thus far.
Record: 7-3-3 13th
Leading Scorer: Marion Gaborik 7g-6a-13p +5
The Rangers have started out pretty well in my opinion. Gaborik and Richards are showing chemistry. Anisimov is proving to be one of the best young two way forwards out there right now, and young guns Stepan, Del Zotto and McDonagh have picked up their play.
Dubinsky has yet to find the net, but it's only a matter of time. Did I mention that Lundqvist is also still a beast?
Record 7-7-1 19th
Leading Scorer: Jason Spezza 6g-9a-15p
The Senators have got off to a much better start then some have expected. But the problem is that Ottawa is not a young team, at all, and they are still a bottom 10 finisher at best. Spezza, Alfredsson and Michalek continue to lead the charge on a team that desperately needs a youth influx at forward.
Record: 8-4-2 8th
Leading Scorer: Claude Giroux 9g-10a-19p +4
The implosion this summer was huge. What has been even bigger is the start that Philly has had. They are ripping down people who would consider them a weaker team after the moves by playing some solid hockey.
Tenacious is a way you could describe this team in general, and it's certainly how they have started the season tackling naysayers.
Record: 7-4-2 16th
Leading Scorer: Ray Whitney 6g-8a-14p +4
Should we ever question Dave Tippet? Much like Nashville, this is a team of relatively unknown names that continues to fight for 60 minutes a night to stay relevant in the Western Conference battle. Even I figured this to be the season that Phoenix plummeted.
What we're getting is another season where Phoenix fights tooth and nail for every point they can manage out of every game.
Record: 9-3-3 2nd
Leading Scorer: James Neal 9g-5a-14p -2
The Penguins have dealt with injuries to Malkin, Letang, Staal, Crosby and Kennedy, and STILL sit atop the NHL and Eastern Conference.
It speaks a lot to the control and confidence their locker room has. And even without their highlight reel stars, the Penguins find ways to win and remain focused and fearsome. Scary question: What will they look like with the full arsenal at their expense?
Record: 8-4-1 12th
Leading Scorer: Joe Pavelski 9g-8a-17p +7
The Sharks stumbled and floundered a bit in the very early goings, but have quickly put things together and look to storm back up to the forefronts of the NHL. The big five up front for San Jose, Marlaeu, Clowe, Couture, Pavelski and Thornton are looking in top form.
Record: 7-7-0 22nd
Leading Scorer: T.J. Oshie 4g-6a-10p +3
No one's job should feel safe in St. Louis. The proverbial shot across the bow was fired with the axing of coach Davis Payne. The Blues have struggled well below expectations so far, and perhaps a culture changer in Ken Hitchcock will be a good thing.
But like I said previous, it should be nervous time in St. Louis because no one's job should feel safe.
Record: 7-5-2 14th
Leading Scorer: Steven Stamkos 10g-5a-15p +6
The Tampa Bay offense leads the charge, fourth overall in the league. BUT their defense is among the league's bottom as well. It has made for some interesting games down in TB. Tampa so far seems to be a true glass cannon.
Record: 9-5-1 5th
Leading Scorer: Phil Kessel 11g-11a-22p +10
What's not unexpected about Toronto? Fifth in the league? Phil Kessel's scoring pace? The play of Joffrey Lupul? The fifth-ranked offense and the 28th-ranked defense? James Reimer undefeated in regulation? I dunno, you tell me.
Can they keep it up though?
Record: 7-7-1 17th
Leading Scorer: Daniel Sedin 6g-12a-18p +1
It has to be tiring for Canucks fans to see the team struggle in the early goings. For Roberto Luongo to play terribly, then fantastic, then pathetic again. How about Bieksa and Ballard being a combined -20? Or the Sedins having 18 points apiece but only being a +3 combined.
There are a lot of questions to the Canucks lineup that never seemed to get answered. And new ones that arise way more often then they like.
Record: 9-4-0 9th
Leading Scorer: Nicklas Backstrom 5g-14a-19p -1
Yeah, the Caps have come off their early undefeated high. But during that stretch they were literally and figuratively unbeatable. The team has got some real depth, getting three or more goals from nine players.
When they are on their A-game, Washington may be the most dominant team in hockey right now.
Record: 5-7-3 23rd
Leading Scorer: Nik Antropov 3g-8a-11p Even
Regardless of what the Jets do this season, and the lineup is almost the same as the Thrashers from last season, everything is going to seem new. New look, new logo, new building, new location.
It might not end up being a new result for the Jets based on early season play, but let's just enjoy the new car smell of the Jets this year before things get back to normal and people cry for the heads of players and GM alike on a regular basis.