Although they lost in the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals, the New Jersey Devils came a long way from the depressing, playoff-missing season they suffered the year before. The Devils showed the NHL that there is no limit to the amount of impact a team can have on the playoffs, no matter what their previous record had been.
After missing the playoffs, teams undergo draft picks, trades, restructuring, staff changes and most importantly attitude changes. These alterations can change losing teams into powerhouses or pull elite teams into a season-long slump.
The 2012 playoffs were as thrilling and unpredictable as ever. The first-seeded Vancover Canucks went from being Stanley Cup finalists in the 2011 playoffs, to losing in the first-round to the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Kings, who went on to become the 2012 Stanley Cup Champions.
There is no telling how a team will do at the beginning of a new season. Every losing experience is a growing one and missing the playoffs one season can ignite a team’s fire for seasons to come.
In these slides are the top five playoff-missing teams whose fires could be blazing throughout the next season.