Another hockey season is underway and it is time to analyze the worst ten teams in the league. Some “surprises” that are off of the list: NY Islanders, Ottawa Senators, Calgary Flames, Nashville Predators, and the Winnipeg Jets. These teams are doing well, none so more than the Flames, which along with the Preds, have the fourth best record in the NHL. But, I digress, here are the bottom ten:
21. New Jersey Devils (6-6-2) (3-5-2 in the last ten):
The Devils started out strong and then lost veterans Jaromir Jagr and Mike Cammallerri. That took a lot of offense and wind out of their sails. This is a fringe playoff team, and they need to get back on track. Getting those two veteran players back will help, as will having their defense shore up. They need more from Zidlicky and Merrill. DeBoer is right, “time to stop the bleeding”.
22. New York Rangers (6-6-2) (Two game losing streak):
Despite the fact that Derek Stepan debuted for the Rangers, they still lost to the Oilers on home ice. Rich Nash, which lit it up through the first month of the season, has cooled off. The injury to Ryan MacDonaugh was tough, he is a complete defenseman who helps ease the pressure off the team. That took their chemistry away and it shook up the lines. More importantly, it was their captain going down. Ryan is not on the ice able to tweak things and help out, he is in the box and watching in a suit. The Rangers are in a slight lull, they need to pick it up.
23. Arizona Coyotes (6-7-1) (4-5-1 in the last ten):
The Coyotes need more from their defensemen. They are making too many stupid plays into the middle of the ice, which create turnovers, which create goals. Yes, Mike Smith has not been the same, and he is being pressured from Tomas Griess. The other younger players need to step up and play a more consistent style. The one thing the Yotes have going for them … coach Dave Tippett. Tippett is one of the best coaches in that he able to do the best for his team and get the best out of his team.
24. Edmonton Oilers (6-8-1) (Two-Game winning streak):
The Oilers are 6-4-0 in their last ten and have won two in a row, which means they may not be on this list for long, and this is without one of their top weapons in Taylor Hall. Ben Scrivens has proven to be a solid goalie, and Viktor Fasth will be able to share time once he is completely healthy. For once, Edmonton looks like they are on the right track.
THE SLEAZY SIX:
25. Colorado Avalanche (4-7-5) (3-3-4 in the last ten):
I knew the Avalanche would take a step back this season, but not a few. They defense is attrocious. They are relying too much on their goalie to make stops. They are near the bottom in the league in defensive time of possession. Their loss of Paul Statsny really hurts, but they had no need and reason to pay him $7 million annually. They need more offensive time and less relying on creative plays to get them goals.
26. Florida Panthers (4-4-4) (Two-Game Losing Streak):
The Panthers cannot even fill a third of their stadium, no one wants to see the product on the ice, and their arena is located on top of freaking hill. They have a bunch of talent, but they need to have more depth on the back-end and they need more goalie prospects. GM Dale Tallon hit a-lot of home runs in the draft during his tenure with the Chicago Blackhawks; but he might want to tank in order to get either Connor McDavid or Jake Eichel.
27. Dallas Stars (4-6-4) (2-5-3; Four-Game Losing Streak):
They have a great goalie in Kari Lehtonen, they have scoring in the Benns, Spezza, and Hemsk. I still contend that they need one or two more bottom-six defensemen and better role players. Their veterans are losing gas and they might be digging themselves into a hole they may not be able to get out of. Lindy Ruff is a solid coach, he will have his hands full with this team.
28. Carolina Hurricanes (4-6-3):
This team would have been on the bottom last week, but they have four wins and creep up two places. Their injuries are mounting and they are lacking depth at all positions. I have no clue what they are going to do with Cam Ward, but their problems seem to be a lack of defensive depth than helping Cam have the best pieces in front of them. They are probably going to try to right the ship instead of tanking for the crop in this season’s draft class.
29. Columbus Blue Jackets (4-9-1) (1-8-1 in the last ten):
Wow, I thought they might make the Eastern Conference Finals, but they have no scoring prowess. Their defensemen and their star players are not getting it done over the last ten games. After starting 3-1, they are going down hill fast. The offseason of chicken with Ryan Johanssen might have taken a toll on the other players in the room, because of how they might perceive management and how they “reward” their players.
30. Buffalo Sabres (3-11-2) (2-6-2):
They are on a two-game winning streak and they had to overpay for players in order to get to the salary cap floor. Ted Nolan is an okay coach, but he might not be the right voice for these youngsters. He is an old-school coach and the jury is out on how he manages and develops talent. The Sabres have a bunch of solid prospects in Elite Leagues and in college. They might have their choice of the “franchise altering” prospects of Connor McDavid or Jake Eichel.