As we approach the dawn of a new NHL season, each and every fan base is looking for reasons to be optimistic about their team's chances of, at least, not sucking.
It's no secret that some franchises have many more reasons to boast a positive outlook than others, but when you dig deep enough and really delve into super-serious metrics and analysis, it's clear that all of the league's 31 organizations have something to be excited about.
These are the carefully curated reasons why you should believe in your squad.
Boston Bruins: Brad Marchand's loose tongue
Your best player so badly wants to win a championship that he's willing to risk disease by licking, with his actual tongue, the sweaty face and lips of his opponents during NHL hockey games in hopes of gaining a competitive edge. The 'want' level is just so high, it's hard to not have faith in the B's.
Buffalo Sabres: You won't be bloody awful, probably
The bar has been set so, so low for the floundering Sabres over the past half decade or so that anything other than a bottom-three finish in 2018-19 will be an absolute treat for the team and fans alike. Hell, with the deep, young core Buffalo has managed to assemble through its years of being trash, it might even hold a playoff spot for a month or two.
Detroit Red Wings: The imminent return of Stevie Y
Steve Yzerman turned into an all-time Red Wings great before retiring and eventually making his mark as one of the best executives in the NHL by building the Lightning into the powerhouse they are today. After abruptly vacating his position with Tampa last month to "spend more time in Detroit with his family," it's pretty obvious that really means, "I'm going to the Wings soon to sort out this tire fire."
Florida Panthers: Bobby Lou, the legend
Enjoy the fading years of future Hall of Famer Roberto Luongo's time in the NHL, as the 39-year-old will likely close the book on his legendary career at some point over the next couple of seasons before carving out his path as a professional Twitter troll.
Montreal Canadiens: Marc Bergevin doubles as The Hulk
His record of signing, trading, and drafting is very so-so, to say the least, but what the Habs GM has been lacking in judgment and acuity he's been making up for in creatine consumption and incline dumbbell presses. He should be able to squeeze a good deal or two out of one of those other pipsqueak executives who have gotten the better of him in the past. Looking at you, David Poile.
Ottawa Senators: Congrats, you're a team
When asked point blank for some reasons for the fans to be optimistic about this depleted Senators squad by Sportsnet last month, GM Pierre Dorion, after a careful pause and some consideration, spit out the groundbreaking revelation that the Sens are, indeed, a team. There's no beating that on my end so I'll just take a seat and trust Pierre on this one.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Perfection
Everything about this team is perfect. I am not smart nor witty enough to find a sarcastic flaw. I have failed as a capital A analyst.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Beers are still under $50 each
A crisp $100 bill can still get you at least two beers and a dog at Scotiabank Arena. Enjoy it while it lasts, peasants.
Carolina Hurricanes: Bunch of gritty grinders
The 'Canes split their intersquad training camp groups into two teams named 'Grit' and 'Grind' this season and are, because of this fact alone, clearly ready to make a Cup run.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Torts is due for a good, egregious rant or two
A mediocre team led by a hero of a coach who is not afraid to chew heads off his players, media members and the like. He's been relatively tame the past couple seasons, meaning we're due for a couple glorious Torts explosions in 2018-19.
New Jersey Devils: You have David Puddy on your side
The Devils made their way back to the playoffs last season, and Patrick Warburton, AKA Seinfeld's David Puddy, made it known that his Devils fandom reaches far beyond the TV screen. More Puddy sightings are highly-anticipated and very welcome this season.
New York Islanders: You don't have to put up with that insufferable John Tavares any longer!
After nine painful campaigns with that bum JT leading the way with 80-90 points every year, Isles fans no longer have to deal with their captain putting the team on his back and nearly dragging them to the playoffs single-handedly season after season. Watching that dude on a nightly basis must have been boring AF.
New York Rangers: King Henrik hasn't retired yet
You're pretty bad as it is, but you are one Hall of Fame goaltender away from being completely irrelevant. Enjoy the waning years of King Hank and those glorious eyes, Blueshirt fans.
Philadelphia Flyers: Gritty the mascot
As you're all surely aware by now, the Flyers recently unveiled their squirrely, possibly coked-out, terrifyingly-beautiful mascot named Gritty. No matter what happens with the on-ice product this season, Philly has already won.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Phil's bench reactions
Another hockey season in Pittsburgh means another eight months of Kessel reaction GIFs. It's a reward most hockey fans do not deserve.
Washington Capitals: The bender continues
You're fresh off your first Stanley Cup in franchise history and put forth arguably the most legendary offseason bender the NHL has ever seen. No one cares what you do this year, just try to sober up, everybody.
Chicago Blackhawks: Duncan Keith's slow transformation into a bionic man
No defenceman has seen the ice more over the past 13 seasons than Duncan Keith, who has averaged nearly 26 minutes per night while skating in almost 1,000 regular-season games at the age of 35. Add in three Stanley Cups and 126 postseason contests over that time, and it's plain to see that Keith won't be keeping his human legs for much longer. He's a freak.
Colorado Avalanche: The Ottawa Senators exist
The worse the Senators finish this year, the higher a draft pick the Avalanche will receive to complete last year's Matt Duchene trade. With a top five pick almost a guarantee and a No. 1 overall selection a distinct possibility for Colorado, Pierre Dorion and the Sens are the gifts that keep on giving to Avs fans.
Dallas Stars: Jerry Jones doesn't own this team
The dream-haunting caricature may have his old clammy fingerprints all over the most valuable franchise in sports, but the Cowboys owner and raisin doppelgänger has no connection to the city's hockey team which makes it easier to support the franchise without feeling like a total piece of shit.
Minnesota Wild: Everything Bruce Boudreau
Watching this man's face turn completely blood-red while literal steam flows out of his ears several times a season is one of the most underrated spectacles in sports. Enjoy the front row seats.
Nashville Predators: Y'all get to eat BBQ every fucking day
On top of your team being pretty damn good, you get the privilege of indulging in some of the most buttery, succulent food on the planet whenever you damn well please—including before, after, and during hockey games. Nothing gets me more fired up than a saucy rack of ribs, fam.
St. Louis Blues: That style
Best color scheme, logo, and jerseys in all of sports. On-ice performance is pretty irrelevant after that.
Winnipeg Jets: Wifi and an airport
Despite reports to the contrary over recent years, my sources deep in the heart of the Canadian city have confirmed that Winnipeg does indeed boast a runway and usable internet. Live it up and enjoy your new-found bounties, Winnipeg. No more rummaging the local dumpsters for newspaper boxscores.
Anaheim Ducks: The retro threads
Playoff hopes look grim for a so-so Ducks team competing in a savage Pacific Division, but the retro Mighty Ducks jerseys the team will be sporting for several games this season will provide hours of Vaseline-and-Kleenex-derived entertainment for sweater geeks everywhere. Hockey Men will be jerking off to these threads because they're so nice is what I'm trying to say here.
Arizona Coyotes: You still have a team, somehow
You've weaved and dodged relocation for years and are, just now, finally looking kind of stable both on and off the ice, I think?
Calgary Flames: The Saddledome is somehow still kicking
Listen, it's tough needing a new arena and wondering if there's a chance your team might move if the owners and City of Calgary don't figure out their shit sometime soon. But hey, on the bright side, the old barn is still kind of functional and, against all odds, hasn't completely collapsed to the ground on its own yet. A symbol of strength and determination, to be sure.
Edmonton Oilers: Can't think of one
Nope, nothing to see here. No all-time great, future GOAT candidates lacing up for the Oilers on a nightly basis rocking No. 97 on the back. If only fans in Edmonton had one reason to be excited. Hmmmm.
Los Angeles Kings: Ilya Kovalchuk
Missed this dude.
San Jose Sharks: The Ottawa Senators exist
This may seem a little redundant, but the Sharks, along with the Avalanche, owe a lot to Pierre Dorion and the Sens. "Erik" and "Karlsson" are really the only two words that need to be said here, but take a look at the whole Mike Hoffman situation and you'll see exactly why San Jose GM Doug Wilson will be sending a Christmas card to Ottawa's front office for years to come.
Vancouver Canucks: Zero expectations
Can't trash and burn down your city after a Game 7 Stanley Cup Final loss if you don't even make the playoffs.
Vegas Golden Knights: The Vegas flu
An illness for which there is no cure—a home-ice advantage above all others. Watching VGK dance around visiting clubs while their opponents leak Hennessey and MDMA residue out of their pores as they try to chase guys like Jonny Marchessault and Bill Karlsson up and down the ice is worth the price of admission alone.