CWHL 2017-18 Season Preview: Kunlun Red Star
On the road again....we can't wait to be on the road again.
With major names like Noora Raty and Kelli Stack signing with Kunlun, this is a team that a lot of people are excited to see take the ice. But since this is their first year in the league, there's also a lot we don't know yet about the Red Star. So how will they shape up this season?
We won't really know what to expect from Kunlun until we've watched them play a few games, but it may be hard for them to crack the playoffs in their first season. We think they'll finish fifth overall in the regular season, just shy of a playoff spot.
Expect North American players like Rachel Llanes and Zoe Hickel to stand out more this season - both played on the Pride (though Hickel was traded to the Whale mid-season last year) and often played on lower lines because of the team's insane depth.
There are, of course, players like Raty and Stack who are going to stand out immediately, but can you really call them breakout players if you already know what to expect out of them? Either way, these two players will hands-down be some of the top players on this team.
But Jessica Wong may also be a player to watch; Wong played for the Inferno and has experience in the CWHL already. She will likely be looked to as a team leader.
Three Must-Watch Games
Saturday, October 21 v. Markham - The Red Star won't play opening weekend, but their first regular season game against Markham is a must-watch. It's history, right?
Saturday, November 18 v. Toronto - This is Kunlun's first scheduled game at their incredible arena in Shenzen. Hopefully there will be a big crowd for this one.
Friday, December 8 v. Vanke - These are the two teams to watch this year to see how they size up. This first contest between the two expansion teams shouldn't disappoint.
Again, it's hard to judge this team because they're new. But they've looked sharp in preseason - they topped the Vanke Rays 7-1 in an exhibition game. This is a team that might surprise a lot of people.