The first proper NHL offseason in years is wrapping up, and the 2022-23 season is finally around the corner.

It’s hard to beat the mood this time of year, and the possibilities seem endless as all your favorite players trickle back into town and new faces emerge.

Could this be the year your team hoists the Stanley Cup? Where in the world is Erik Johnson? Which new, exciting faces will the Vegas Golden Knights find a way to alienate?

There’s nothing wrong with letting yourself get pumped up for the season, but sometimes this excitement gets the best of us during the preseason and we invest too much energy in the wrong things.

One of the most interesting things I learned as a beat reporter was how to approach the preseason and get excited about the right things. So I thought I’d let you in on a few tips to get you in the best shape of your life.

 

Do get to know the new star

So, your team just acquired one of the hottest commodities of the offseason. As great as that is, any hockey fan who has gone through this in the past decade or so knows the thrill comes with its burdens.

Not only do the usual pundits start grading the move the second it’s official, but soon everyone with a Wi-Fi connection is suddenly a lifelong expert on this player, your team and the salary cap. This will be something you’re dealing with in varying degrees throughout the season.

But what if I told you there’s a fleeting period of time where you can guarantee that the vibes surrounding this signing are almost entirely good? A time where you get to simply enjoy the fact that this player is on your team and think about the possibilities?

Welcome to the preseason.

For one, this is when the team hammers you with endearing content about the player in question. They’ll have him do that obligatory selfie video from the team Twitter account, he’ll attend a local baseball game and he’ll try the local delicacy. Maybe he’ll even receive his first paycheck without state income tax.

(Matthew Tkachuk, we're looking at you.)