The NHL standings grow more double-take-worthy as every day goes by, and teams that were considered Stanley Cup favorites during the preseason fall by the wayside as squads like the New York Islanders and Columbus Blue Jackets are charging hard for their piece of the playoff pie.
To say that the salary cap is working would be an understatement. To say that the NHL has been overtaken by parity and the death of dynasty would be accurate.
Long gone are the days of being able to buy a Stanley Cup, as are the days of being able to hold on to every single asset in the system. Some choices are tough and can hold a franchise back for decades.
The Islanders, for example, are just now digging out of the hole that Mike Millbury dug for them. The Blue Jackets are also fending off the repercussions of being arguably the worst drafting team in hockey over the last decade.
Yet these two underdog squads are fighting for their playoff lives while preseason Stanley Cup favorites—or at the very least, teams that were considered postseason locks—are on par with them or doing worse.