Ten Teams Out of the Playoffs
As Christmas draws upon us many teams are asking Santa for a ticket to the
Stanley Cup Playoffs. Unfortunately the play of some teams this year has earned them a ticket right out of the playoffs. Here are the 10 NHL teams that I believe will not make the playoffs this year.
1- Columbus Blue Jackets – 29 pts Eastern Conference – The Blue Jackets season has been a complete nightmare. A terrible start, lead to a coaching changes that brought in John Tortorella. Which in turn caused a riff with star player Ryan Johansen who has been at odds with the new coach since day one. If that was not enough the early season play of goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky was horrendous. It is time for the Blue Jackets to hit the reset button and gun for the #1 pick in this years draft.
2 – Carolina Hurricanes. – 31 pts Eastern Conference – Carolina is a team lost in space. A slow start really put this team behind the 8-ball. The play of captain Eric Staal has been mediocre, and the question also looms of what will happen with goaltender Cam Ward. The Hurricanes have some good young talent, but this team just looks to be in disarray.
3 – Anaheim Ducks – 29 pts Western Conference – The Anaheim Ducks are the biggest question mark of the NHL this season. I had them penciled in to win the Stanley Cup, guess not. This team will not make the playoffs. I have no explanation for this collapse, none! Superstar Ryan Getzlaff has one goal, and that one was an empty netter. The Ducks may just be biggest shock in all of sports this year.
4 – Toronto Maple Leafs – 31 pts Eastern Conference – Toronto is just not ready. They show flashes of playoff capabilities, but this team just does not play consistently good hockey. Jonathan Bernier has struggled all year in net. James Reimer has been good in net, but has been injured. Offensively they have showed times of greatness, and times were they look like they will never score. This team needs help, and time.
5 – Buffalo Sabres – 32 pts Eastern Conference – The Sabres were not expected to make the playoffs so this is not a surprise. They were expected to battle for the #1 pick in the draft, but they look better than that. This young team has played fairly good considering their age and lack of depth. Jack Eichel will continue to mature as a player, and this team will be a playoff team, just not this year.
6 – Pittsburgh Penguins – 35 pts Eastern Conference – The Penguins are the second biggest surprise of this season. I had them picked to be taking on the Ducks for the Stanley Cup (shows how much I know). Sidney Crosby has really struggled this season. He has 6 goals, 16 assists in 32 games. Very unlike the Sidney Crosby we are used to watching. The Phil Kessel experiment has not panned out. The result of this slow start was the firing of coach Mike Johnston.
7 – Philadelphia Flyers – 37 pts Eastern Conference – Newly hired coach Dave Hakstol entered his position knowing that this Flyers team lacks depth, and high-end talent. The season started horribly, but things have begun to turn around. Clutch scoring by young defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere has helped the Flyers pick up points in key games. The struggles of superstar Jakub Vorchek have been a surprise. Is it because of the system? Or just a difficult slump for Vorachek. The Flyers will look to continue their recent success, but it will be just too hard to fight them back into a playoff spot.
8 – Edmonton Oilers – 32 pts – Western Conference – Things are starting to look up in Edmonton. Just not quit up enough to earn a playoff spot. Scoring is up, but the injury to Connor McDavid has hurt the surge of this young (not so young) team. The time is drawing closer, but the defense and goaltending must improve before Edmonton is back in the playoffs.
9 – Colorado Avalanche – 35 pts Western Conference - This one was a little more difficult to call, but there was one factor that is going to make it very difficult for the Avalanche to make the playoffs. They are in the Central Division. With three teams earning division spots and two wildcards up for grabs, there just may not be space for them to make it in. Semyon Varlamov and Matt Duchene are back to their superstar levels. Defensively they struggle, and offensively they just have not found their groove this year. They look to be a few pieces short of the puzzle, but I know general manager Joe Sakic is exploring ways to strengthen this team. They are close, but not this year.
10 – Winnipeg Jets – 32 pts Western Conference – The Jets are another team that is in a difficult spot because of the strength of the Central Division. Last year the Jets worked their way into the playoffs, but this year they do not look as intense. They have struggled on the road and defensively. This will be a critical year for the Jets on and off the ice. Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd are unrestricted free agents at years end and Jacob Trouba is a restricted free agent at years end. This will be an interesting year watching how the Jets fight for a playoff spot on the ice, and battle to sign their stars off the ice.
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