Which NHL Playoff Teams Are In Most Danger Of Missing Them This season?
Looking at you Florida, New York Islanders, Winnipeg and .... Boston?
Earlier this month we talked about the NHL teams that have the best chance of making the playoffs this season after missing them a year ago. Now it is time to take a look at the opposite side of that situation because if you have somebody new making the playoffs, it means somebody new is also going to have to miss them.
Let’s take a look at the best possibilities among the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoff teams.
The Best Bets To Miss
1. Florida Panthers
The Florida Panthers have had quite a fascinating run over the past two years. They won a Presidents’ Trophy. Almost missed the playoffs. Then went on a shocking run to the Stanley Cup Final this past season by beating three really good teams, including a record-setting Boston Bruins team in the first round.
It has been an absolute roller coaster for the team and their fans.
I know they just reached the Stanley Cup Final and still have a really good roster led by an MVP front-runner in Matthew Tkachuk, but I am still not totally convinced on them going into this season.
Couple of superstars.
They will score a ton of goals and be one of the most wildly entertaining teams in the league.
I just wonder if they will be able to stop anybody?
The fact they nearly missed the playoffs was not a fluke. They do not defend well and goaltending should a huge question mark going into the season.
Their regression during the 2022-23 regular season should not have been totally unexpected given the departures last offseason, while they needed some huge breaks down the stretch (like Pittsburgh completely shitting the bed) just to get in the playoffs.
If Pittsburgh takes care of business and beats a bad Chicago and a bad Columbus team we might already be talking about a team that missed the playoffs.
But they did get in, and they did go on a crazy run once they were there. They deserve credit for that. I just do not know if all of that is repeatable for this team as it is constructed.
That playoff run was driven by Sergei Bobrovsky finding the fountain of youth in goal and posting an incredible .934 save percentage through the first three rounds of the playoffs. At that point he was a not only a legitimate Conn Smythe candidate, he was probably the favorite and one of the biggest reasons they even got through the Boston series.
It was a level that he has never come close to playing at since joining the Panthers. Prior to the start of that playoff run (when Bobrovsky was not even the starter for Florida) he managed only a .904 save percentage in nearly 200 games (including playoffs) with the team.
Chances are, he will revert back to that form over a full season.
Especially as he enters his age 35 season.
Maybe Spencer Knight returns and has a breakout year to help make up for that, but even that is far from a certainty.
There are just simply a lot of question marks here with this team, even if they are an entertaining and fun team to watch.
2. Winnipeg Jets
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