Because the Columbus Blue Jackets and Montreal Canadiens go right down to the wire for the ultimate playoff spot within the East, 14 different NHL groups have already began reserving tee occasions. That’s nice in the event that they like golf, not so nice in the event that they like Stanley Cups.
Right here’s a fast autopsy on the groups which have missed the post-season (groups listed in alphabetical order):
Anaheim Geese: Ryan Getzlaf & Co. are sitting out the spring for the primary time since 2012. The issue? They’re not mighty anymore, particularly on offense. And their protection isn’t what it was once, both.
Arizona Coyotes: It’s actually too unhealthy Darcy Kuemper gained’t get an opportunity on the playoff stage. The Coyotes’ backup goalie stepped in for injured starter Antti Raanta in early November and carried an injury-decimated Arizona crew to the brink of the post-season together with his sensible play. The 28-year-old netminder, who’s signed by means of subsequent season for a cut price $1.85 million, set private bests in begins (55), wins (27) and shutouts, and he’s securely among the many NHL’s high 10 in goals-against common (2.33) and save proportion (.925). A exceptional season from an unsung goalie who ought to garner Vezina Trophy help.
Buffalo Sabres: They regarded like a playoff lock within the first half of the season, then regarded like the identical outdated Sabres within the second half as they plummeted down the standings. Right here’s hoping that Rasmus Dahlin’s endurance doesn’t get examined as a lot as Jack Eichel’s already has been (4 playoff-less seasons and counting).
Chicago Blackhawks: It’s exhausting to imagine Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews posted career-best years and the Blackhawks missed the playoffs. Chicago was misplaced within the wilderness within the first half, then began rolling and performed like a crew you wouldn’t need to face within the first spherical. Alas, it was to not be.
Detroit Crimson Wings: That 25-season playoff streak has given approach to three consecutive years exterior the post-season. They haven’t hit ‘Useless Issues’ territory, however the prospect pipeline wants to start out pumping new life into the Unique Six group. Luckily, there’s loads of promise with the likes of Filip Zadina, Joe Veleno and Michael Rasmussen up entrance and Filip Hronek and Dennis Cholowski on protection.
Edmonton Oilers: Like everybody else within the hockey world, we need to see celebrity Connor McDavid (and near-50-goal man Leon Draisaitl) within the playoffs. McDavid is one of the best participant on this planet and he’ll be watching the post-season on TV for the third time in his four-year profession. That’s a disgrace.
Florida Panthers: First-liners Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau have performed a mixed 878 regular-season video games, however their solely playoff expertise was a six-game ouster in 2016. Each gamers hit the 90-point plateau en path to personal-best seasons this yr, however they’re caught on three profession playoff factors apiece.
Los Angeles Kings: No Drew Doughty within the playoffs means no Drew Doughty playoff quotes, so the off-ice leisure issue ratchets down a notch.
Minnesota Wild: The outdated guard – Mikko Koivu, Ryan Suter, Zach Parise, Eric Staal and Devan Dubnyk – stays beneath contract for subsequent season and, usually, past. That’s assuming crew administration doesn’t make any out-with-the-old strikes this summer time, but when the roster stays establishment, the larger query is whether or not this model of the Wild has the horses for a future playoff run.
New Jersey Devils: After final season’s stunning spring look, it wasn’t to be this time round for a Devils crew that struggled as reigning league MVP Taylor Corridor was restricted to only 33 video games because of damage (and nonetheless completed within the high 5 in crew scoring).
New York Rangers: Expectations have been low this season after the Rangers went public with their choice to rebuild. The longer term burns shiny on Broadway, however will 37-year-old Henrik Lundqvist nonetheless be round when New York is able to contend once more? He posted the worst stats of his profession this season (18 wins, three.07 GAA, .907 save proportion, zero shutouts).
Ottawa Senators: They blew all of it up and dressed a complete of 17 rookies at totally different occasions this season, together with seven freshmen who performed 20 or extra video games. And that doesn’t embody sophomore defenseman Thomas Chabot, who led the Sens in scoring. It might’ve been helpful for Ottawa’s fuzzy-faced youth to get some playoff expertise, however yeah, it wasn’t going to occur.
Philadelphia Flyers: Right here’s how the Flyers have fared over the previous seven seasons: didn’t make the playoffs, misplaced within the first spherical, didn’t make the playoffs, misplaced within the first spherical, didn’t make the playoffs, misplaced within the first spherical, didn’t make the playoffs. That’s a tough trip for one of many NHL’s marquee markets, to not point out a waste of the prime years of Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek.
Vancouver Canucks: Quickly-to-be Calder Trophy winner Elias Pettersson gained’t get the possibility to show his rookie playoff price, and that’s unlucky. To not point out Jacob Markstrom, who has come into his personal after seven-plus NHL seasons, continues to be in search of his first post-season motion in internet.
Tags: nhl, stanley cup playoffsConnect: In regards to the AuthorSam McCaigCopy editor Sam McCaig rejoined The Hockey Information in 2017 after beforehand working at THN from 1999 to 2010. His profession excessive for targets in a season is one.