As the NHL's 16 top teams prepare for the opening round of the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs, the 14 non-playoff clubs must absorb the disappointment of failing to qualify. These teams face a long offseason dealing with the issues that kept them out of the postseason.
These non-contenders were hampered by various weaknesses. Several of them have more than others, but all have one specific problem area that must be addressed before next season.
A few were hindered by poor management. Some must either change their coaching or style of play. Scoring was a problem for several teams, while others did a poor job preventing goals.
Here's a look at the top offseason priority for each of this year's non-playoff clubs, the importance of addressing those priorities and how to fix them.