NHL Post Lockout Blunders: The Five Worst Teams Since the Lockout
The lockout has brought a fresh view on the game. The League has striven to do away with the clutch and grab game and focus solely on the speed and skill of the game to bring more excitement to the league.
It's been a half decade since the ever infamous lockout occurred, and by that point you would figure teams would have their affairs in order and adjusted to the new system.
However, even after five years, five teams are still struggling to adjust.
For some, there is reason to be optimistic, for some not so much, but one thing is for certain—it should be interesting to see whether they can even pull themselves out of the gutter to the penthouse.
Without further adieu, here are the five worst post-lockout teams.
5. Atlanta Thrashers
After winning the Southeast division crown in '06/'07 it has been a downhill slope ever since. The Thrashers have not made the playoffs since, and have lost franchise players Marian Hossa and Ilya Kovalchuk in the process.
These past two seasons have been especially bad, as they have not just missed the playoffs in both years, but have also seen the worst attendance records as well.
The worst part about the Thrashers is that aside from a few promising players they seem to be lacking a real franchise player. They have guys like Bryan Little, Evander Kane, and Zach Bogosian, but none of them have shown real superstar potential.
However, they seem to be heading in the right direction. They have revamped the roster, and another year under the belts of some key young guys they may have a decent run this coming season.
If they flop again, however, a possible sale of the team or relocation may be in the works.
4. Columbus Blue Jackets
Two years ago the Blue Jackets made their first and only playoff appearance in the team's 10-year history.
This past season, the team regressed to the worst showing in three years. The Blue Jackets have lacked anything resembling consistency since being formed, and really don't have a clear direction.
Sure, they have some key players in Nash and Huselius, and some promising young guns in Russell, Brassard, and Mason, but they can't seem to pull it together.
The Blue Jackets may surprise many next season, or could likely disappoint their faithful followers once again.
3. New York Islanders
The problem with the New York Islanders is that they are a young team that lacks real veteran leadership. They have plenty of promising young players, but with no one to guide them, and show them the ropes they may never reach their full potential.
Many teams have to envy the fact that the Isle have players like John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, and Josh Bailey, but who knows if they can pull it together.
The Isle have had limited success over the past five years, only recording one season above 80 points. The only thing keeping them out of first place is a brief playoff appearance in 2007.
The Isles are another team on the bubble, with limited fan support, and the lighthouse project on the ropes don't be surprised to see Wang move the team before long.
2. Florida Panthers
The Florida Panthers are one of two teams that have failed to make the playoffs since the lockout. They have had up and down teams, and haven't really gotten a real contender together in a long time.
The old management had a tough time, but under Dale Tallon the team has real direction. They had the best draft of 2010, and are on the right track.
During that span however they have had some decent players, but couldn't put anything together, they have had close calls, and some real misses, but the one thing fans can bank on is that they are heading in the right direction.
In all likelihood they will not be on this list again.
1. Toronto Maple Leafs
Sorry Leafs fans, but the Buds have been the worst team over the past half decade. They are one of only two teams to have missed the playoffs in the "new NHL," and have produced less then the Florida Panthers over that span.
Under the JFJ/Fletcher days the Leafs were decimated by poor signing after poor signing, and is the main reason the Leafs have been trying to recover ever since.
The Leafs seem to be going in the right direction, but really flubbed up in acquiring Phil Kessel. Sure Kessel is better now, but the Leafs are not in a position to make the playoffs now, and they need every draft pick they can get.
Also with clashing personalities types in Kessel, Phaneuf, and Versteeg it has still yet to be determined if they will get along. Phaneuf's personality lost favor in Calgary, Kessel lost favor in Boston, and at times Versteeg's was an issue in Chicago.
Another problem with the Leafs was penalty killing, they finished worst in the league, and ended up picking up several players prone to big minutes, a lot of Burke's moves are counter-productive
Despite all this though, you can start to see a team form, that could contend in a few years.