Welcome to another edition of the Hockeybuzz hotstove.
In this one we’ll be taking a look at some of the biggest disappointments in the NHL this season. Todd Cordell: Columbus
After the season Columbus had last year, expectations were high for them this season. From Day 1 they were crushed by injuries, and sit near the bottom of the standings because of the injuries they’ve faced.
Ideally you can battle through it and I don’t like to make excuses, but for a good chunk of the year they were missing up to 10 regulars, which is absolutely unheard-of. What made it worse was it wasn’t the team’s depth guys they were losing, but rather their high-end guys.
Nathan Horton, Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Ryan Murray, Sergei Bobrovsky and co. have all missed considerable time, and in large part because of that the team has still not been able to get their feet off the ground.
I expected the Jackets to be a playoff team and win a round or two, and it looks like they won’t even be given a chance. Matt Henderson: Edmonton Oilers
I’m biased, but I’m picking Edmonton. It wasn’t supposed to be this bad. They thought they solved their goaltending but they have gotten sub.900 goaltending more than 1/4 of the way through the year. They paid a high price (dollars) to add some NHL defensemen to their stable of blueliners but the coach has barely played Fayne (we don’t know why) and Nikitin has been Jekyl & Hyde from shift to shift so far. They picked a man-child German 3rd Overall and the GM fell over himself talking the kid up but he has looked exactly like you would expect a 19 year old rookie in the NHL to look. Justin Schultz was given a 1 year deal to prove he could take the next step forward and he’s been a disinterested mope for the whole year. He has actually regressed. The few bright spots include the play of RNH, Gordon, and Petry. Beyond that this team boasts a garbage Power Play and (at least at the time of writing this) STILL hasn’t beaten a team from the Western Conference. To say they have disappointed me would be like saying the Titanic took on a little water. I am crushed. Ryan Wilson Edmonton Oilers
I didn’t have them as a playoff team and in some ways they are indeed improved. Possession is up from last year but goaltending woes have plagued them. Ben Scrivens and Viktor Fasth have been terrible. They are currently tied for the worst goal differential in the NHL at -32 with the Buffalo Sabres. Columbus is in that same neighborhood at -30 but they have legitimate injury excuses. The Sabres are purposely trying to be bad. Not sure the Oilers have those same build in excuses. They are just a poorly constructed hockey team Michael Stuart: Dallas Stars
The biggest disappointment so far this year has been the play and performance of the Dallas Stars. A darling of the analytics crowd over the summer, the Stars looked great on paper heading into the season. Another summer of development for Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn plus the addition of Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky made the Stars look like true contenders. Through 25 games this season, however, they’ve looked like anything and everything but.
While their offense has been performing quite well, the Stars’s defense and goaltending have been a mess. The fact that they’ve allowed more goals against than the Edmonton Oilers and Buffalo Sabres is unfathomable. It’s hardly a recipe for success. Further, their possession numbers have fallen significantly since last year, and their PDO is fairly average.
What does all that mean? Things are a mess right now in Dallas. And it’s hard to predict when things might get better. Disappointing doesn’t begin to describe it. Tim Chiasson: Washington Capitals
I’m disappointed in a lot of people/teams this year but the Washington Capitals are the biggest for me.
The Caps burned through another coach and the results have yet to change. This team has fallen far from where they were in the first half of Ovechkin’s career and they can’t seem to get back there. Ovechkin is nowhere close to being the superstar he was prior to the 2010 Olympics and this team is too dependent on a player who just can’t carry a team.
I at least expected the team to come out hungry after missing the post-season yet again and going through another coach. Clearly I overestimated the team. It might be time to think about trading Ovechkin and his overpaid salary hit for a good return before people lose interest in #8.
Honorable Mentions: NHL fans having Zemgus Girgensons leading All-Star voting and the Florida Panthers attendance. Adam French: Minnesota Wild
Now before you pounce on me, let me explain. Take a look at their roster. Particularly their forward core. Look at capgeek. Look at the stats sheet. Ah, now you’re seeing it aren’t you. Aside from Zach Parise, this team is underwhelming on offense with a group that should be great. Vanek, Koivu, Granlund, Pomminville, Coyle, Zucker and Haula form a really strong core in my opinion. Yet Yeo is not getting the best out of them and in Haula’s case, his play has fallen off the map.
Their top centre’s have 20 points combined, that’s not good enough for players of Koivu and Granlund’s talent level. Vanek has 2 goals, sure he has 14 points, but 2 goals is pathetic for him, he’s on pace for his worst season since…well…ever! He’s not even taking shots anymore. 39? Yeesh, 6.5 mil my rump.
I’ve never seen such a weird disparity in shooting percentage. Most are near the worst in their careers (Parise, Nino and Zucker being the exceptions).
I like the Wild, I think they will likely slide into that bottom playoff spot, but they are underachieving in my opinion. They should be contenders, yet right now they are pretenders. Maybe it’s a coaching thing? Maybe it’s a style thing. Yet you can’t tell me they don’t have the pieces to be a top threat in the West? A top-four that most teams are jealous of including one of the best defensemen in the world, a great 1-2 that play an excellent two-way game, a lot of surprising youth in the top-9 and two guys who “should” be top line players.
This is an exciting team playing a boring brand of nothing hockey. Lemaire is gone, you can let go of that style anytime soon Minny. Recent posts NHL power rankings: Pens remain on top Biggest surprise this season? What is the Oilers’ biggest problem? Was Jason Spezza’s extension a good one for Dallas? Will the Flames make the playoffs? Will the Blue Jackets make the playoffs? Best line in the NHL this year?