Who saw this coming?
Everett finished the preseason a perfect 7-0 after the Tips beat Seattle 5-2 tonight in Kent. This is the same Everett team that scraped in the playoffs the past three seasons, finishing eighth in the 10-team Western Conference each year. Everett scored a league-leading 36 goals during the preseason. This the same Everett team that scored the fewest goals in the league both last season and in the past three seasons combined. A lot of players chipped in offensively for the Tips in the preseason.
Now, this is merely the preseason. The games mean nothing, and teams that perform well in the preseason don’t necessarily carry it over into the regular season. There are many reasons why opponents aren’t at their best (players at NHL camps, fringe players getting major minutes in the battle for the last roster spots, etc.), so preseason results need to be taken with a grain of salt.
That said, it was an impressive preseason by the Tips. I don’t know if you remember, but Portland had a preseason like this in 2009. The Winterhawks finished last in the Western Conference the previous three seasons. But Portland produced huge performances during the preseason, then carried that over into the regular season, challenging for the conference title. This Everett preseason feels a little like that one. I don’t think Everett brought in the sheer volume to top-end talent during the offseason like Portland did that year (Ryan Johansen, Nino Niederreiter, Ty Rattie), and the Winterhawks were entering their second season under Mike Johnston, whereas Kevin Constantine is brand new to these Tips. But with the way Everett has swarmed and outshot its opponents during the preseason, there definitely is a similar flavor.
Everett was already expected to be an improved team this season. The Tips went young last season and didn’t lose much of note, and they made some good additions during the offseason. The preseason only reinforces the notion that Everett is ready to be a better team.