6 NHL Teams That Will Definitely Miss the Playoffs in 2012-13
It's just the beginning of August and training camp is still a month or so away.
However, when we look in the crystal ball, we are already dismissing six teams and saying they don't have a legitimate chance of making the playoffs.
Let's face it: these are rather cheeky prognostications. We are saying that these teams might as well cashier their entire season because they have no chance of playing postseason hockey.
A team like the Florida Panthers probably would have been on this list a year ago. They ended up winning the Southeast Division. They earned the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Miracles happen and teams can rise from the ashes.
But that doesn't stop us from burying them in the summer.
The Canadiens were awful last season, but they had made the playoffs the four previous seasons and a bounce back seems likely. The Maple Leafs endured a hellish collapse over the final third of the season, but the core looks decent and the playoffs are a possibility. The Oilers are loaded with talent and only a fool would think they will remain buried and with no hope in the Western Conference.
New York Islanders
The competition is simply too stiff for the Islanders to have any hope of getting into the playoffs.
They play in a division with the Rangers, Flyers, Penguins and Devils. They are not going to catch any of them. The Devils have had their own trauma in the offseason, losing star forward Zach Parise. However, they will get over the depression and they will remain competitive.
The Islanders have one of the best young players in the league in John Tavares. He scored 81 points last season. He has improved every season and he could exceed the 100-point mark this season. He has an excellent running mate in Matt Moulson.
However, the goaltending, defense and coaching are unimpressive. The Islanders can only dream of making the playoffs. It won't happen in 2012-13
Columbus Blue Jackets
They had the worst record in the league last year at 29-46-7 and they traded Rick Nash to the New York Rangers. Nash was unquestionably their best player.
They had traded high-scoring Jeff Carter prior to the trade deadline last season.
General manager Scott Howson has given this team little to work with and the 2012-13 season will be difficult for their fan base to endure.
Is there hope? Perhaps. They picked up defenseman Jack Johnson last year in the trade for Carter and they also have Sergei Bobrovsky to play goal this season.
Johnson is big and strong but he needs to play with more of an edge. Bobrovsky has size and athletic ability, but he was ordinary for the Flyers last year. He recorded a 3.02 goals against average and had an .899 save percentage.
The Flames are about as mediocre an organization as you can find in the NHL.
They have failed to make the playoffs for each of the past three seasons, and it's not going to get any better this year.
They may get hot for a while or prove to be tough when they play at the Saddledome, but the team lacks sufficient talent and energy. They finished five points behind the No. 8 seed Los Angeles Kings last season and that's about as good as it can get for the Flames.
General manager Jay Feaster has placed this team in the NHL's version of purgatory. They are not good enough to make the playoffs but they aren't bad enough to get the No. 1 pick in the draft.
They probably should have traded top assets Jarome Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff last year. If they don't trade them this year, it will be another year of frustration for loyal Flames fans.
By trading their biggest names and getting draft picks and young talent, the team will at least have a game plan for the future.
The Winnipeg Jets are a talented team and they have plenty of hope for the future, but they are not ready to make the jump to the playoffs just yet.
It will be difficult for them to match last year's 37-35-10 record. The move from Atlanta to Winnipeg was accompanied by incredible excitement of the NHL returning to a city that had been mourning the loss of its original team for 16 years.
The Jets' players are worshiped and adored. However, the novelty factor will not be there this season and opponents will get used to coming to Winnipeg and will find a way to beat the Jets.
Evander Kane has a chance to be an all-star player for years to come and he's joined by Blake Wheeler, Dustin Byfuglien and Bryan Little. That's a decent core. But it's not enough to get the Jets to the playoffs next year, especially with an average goalie like Ondrej Pavelec.
Don't try to fool yourself by looking at his four shutouts. He had a 2.91 goals against average and a .906 save percentage. That's just ordinary.
The Ducks are rapidly becoming one of the most dysfunctional teams in the NHL.
They failed to make the playoffs last season, making it twice in the last three years that have not been to the postseason.
The Ducks fired head coach Randy Carlyle last year and replaced him with ex-Washington head coach Bruce Boudreau. That move did not give the Ducks the kind of lift that the Los Angeles Kings, Washington Capitals or St. Louis Blues got when they fired their head coaches.
High scoring Bobby Ryan is unhappy that his name has been mentioned in possible trade scenarios and is no longer happy in Anaheim (source: Los Angeles Times).
Teemu Selanne will be back for one more year, but he's not going to be able to carry the team. Selanne is 42 and he can still find the back of the net, but he has slowed dramatically.
Jonas Hiller is not a difference maker in goal and the defense is non-descript.
The Phoenix Coyotes were one of the top stories of the 2011-12 postseason.
Normally, two playoff series wins would bode well for a team heading into the following season, but there are just too many questions facing the Coyotes.
They still don't have a legitimate ownership group at the front. The league wants to sell the team to Greg Jamison, but he doesn't have the funding. Plain and simple. Maybe he will later, but maybe he won't (source: ArizonaSports.com).
High scoring Ray Whitney signed a free-agent deal with the Dallas Stars and Shane Doan could leave at any time.
Whitney said he didn't think the Coyotes always got a fair shake from the NHL. "I found in Phoenix, without an owner, we got stuck with some of the worst scheduling I've seen in 20 years," Whitney told ArizonaSports.com.
It's all going the wrong way for the Coyotes and a dreadful season is on tap.