7 NHL Teams That Would Suffer Most from a Lockout
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A lockout would be disastrous for the National Hockey League.
After losing the 2004-05 season to a work stoppage, it seemed many fans would never relent on their resentment of the sport.
They did and the league is making more money that it has in the past. There's no guarantee another resurrection would occur if there was another work stoppage.
Such an event would hurt all 30 teams in the league, but the teams that might feel the most pain are the ones that have the best chance to contend for the Stanley Cup championship next year. One team with a significant number of young superstars would also be impacted severely.
New York Rangers
The Rangers appear set up for a potential Stanley Cup run.
They were the best team in the Eastern Conference during the regular season last year, but they got knocked out by the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference Finals.
One of the biggest problems the Rangers had last year was goal scoring, or a lack thereof. They simply did not put the puck in the net enough. General manager Glen Sather addressed that situation in the offseason by acquiring high-scoring winger Rick Nash from the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Rangers already had the goaltending with Henrik Lundqvist and the shot-blocking defense. The addition of a goal scorer to go along with Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik (although he will start the season recovering from shoulder surgery) should give the Rangers enough to get over the top.
This team would clearly suffer if there was a lockout because they would miss a substantial opportunity to raise the Stanley Cup.
St. Louis Blues
The St. Louis Blues appeared to be going nowhere at the start of last season.
Despite a roster filled with talented and hustling players, the Blues did not respond to Davis Payne and he was replaced by Ken Hitchcock.
It turned out that was just the move they needed to make. The Blues were 43-15-11 after the coaching change became one of the best teams in the league. They finished with 109 points and they were the No. 2 team in the Western Conference behind the Vancouver Canucks.
Losing the 2012-13 season to a lockout would do significant damage to the Blues. No, their roster is not dominated by older players who are on their last tour of duty around the league. However, the Blues have momentum on their side for the first time in years and they would give it away if they couldn't play this year.
Prior to last year, the Blues had missed the playoffs in five of the previous six seasons. A lockout could return them to "ordinary" status.
Tuukka Rask takes over from Tim Thomas as the team's No. 1 goalie.
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The Bruins celebrated long into the summer after winning the Stanley Cup in 2011.
They got off to slow start that was often characterized as a "Stanley Cup hangover." While they righted the ship in November and looked like the best team in the league by a wide margin through December, they could not sustain it.
They came up with a so-so effort in the playoffs and lost in the first round to a hungry Washington Capitals team.
The veteran Bruins want to make another run and they depend on veteran defensemen Zdeno Chara, 35, and Dennis Seidenberg, 31, for leadership.
While both players keep themselves in excellent condition, missing a year would not help their cause.
The 2012-13 season is a potential championship season for the Bruins and losing the year to a lockout could have disastrous implications.
The Canucks have been close, but they haven't gotten the big prize yet.
They have a team that appears fully capable of winning the Stanley Cup, but how many times can a team make a run and fail before it is no longer a legitimate contender?
It's hard to answer that question definitively, but the Canucks are getting close to the tipping point.
In the last three years, they have dropped playoff series to the Chicago Blackhawks, the Boston Bruins and the Los Angeles Kings, the league's three most recent Stanley Cup champions.
The Canucks have explosive offensive talent led by Henrik and Daniel Sedin. Losing the 2012-13 season would not help this team shake the sting of previous losses.
Tampa Bay Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning want to get right back on the horse that threw them off so violently last season.
Tampa Bay was one of the top success stories in the NHL in 2010-11, reaching the seventh game of the Eastern Conference Finals before dropping a 1-0 heart breaker to the Boston Bruins.
The 2011-12 season was not so kind. The Lightning, despite having a talented cast of Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, Vinny Lecavalier and Victor Hedman, did not even make the playoffs.
There were a lot of reasons, but the biggest was poor goaltending. Tampa Bay addressed that situation by acquiring Anders Lindback from Nashville.
Head coach Guy Boucher wants to erase the losing taste by jumping back into action and returning the Lightning to their winning ways. Forcing them to sit on the sidelines due to the lockout may keep them from bouncing back in the future.
They need to get the bitter losing taste out of their mouths.
San Jose Sharks
The Sharks are another team that is running out of legitimate opportunities to hoist the Stanley Cup.
They are a team of aging veterans who have had several stellar regular seasons, but they have failed to get out of the Western Conference playoffs.
Perhaps they should have been broken up this year after losing to the St. Louis Blues in the first round of the playoffs. However, general manager Doug Wilson decided to give it one more go.
Joe Thornton, 33, and Patrick Marleau, 32, have been two of the key go-to guys on the Sharks and they may be starting to slow down in their skating speed.
Losing this season to a lockout will almost certainly slam the door on the Sharks.
Jordan Eberle leads the young and talented Edmonton Oilers.
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It's not likely that the Edmonton Oilers are going to contend for the Stanley Cup in 2012-13.
However, the Oilers have many young players who need to develop their game at the NHL level so they can possibly make the playoffs this season and become legitimate contenders in the foreseeable future.
If Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov don't get to play together, they will lose a chance to build greater rapport and become more formidable.
Young teams need a chance to get better as well by playing regularly, and a lockout would hinder their development quite a bit.