Which NHL non-playoff team will be back next year?


The 2021-22 Stanley Cup playoff roster is set. Before we spend the next two months enjoying the biggest tournament in professional sports, let’s say a final farewell to the 16 franchises that missed the big ball.

Of all the teams that failed to qualify for the playoffs, which one is most likely to return next season?

The daily confrontation The round table weighs.

MIKE MCKENNA: I think the Vancouver Canucks are in a good position – especially if Bruce Boudreau returns as head coach. Certainly, there is work to be done with the roster. Brock Boeser is a restricted free agent who deserves a big qualifying offer. Both Bo Horvat and JT Miller will be unrestricted free agents after the 2022-23 NHL season. Decisions have to be made. But Elias Pettersson has been a second-half superstar this year, and Quinn Hughes is one of the most exciting defensive talents in the NHL. The Canucks have a strong core and one of the best goaltenders in the game in Thatcher Demko. Under Boudreau, Vancouver played at a 105-point pace. I’m not sure that’s sustainable over an entire season with the Canucks’ current roster, but it makes me optimistic that they enter the offseason feeling pretty good about how they finished. The Pacific Division is full of uncertainties for next season. I could easily see the Canucks making the Stanley Cup playoffs.

CHRIS GEAR: My personal bias is to agree with Mike that the Canucks are the best of the rest after their late-season run, and they would have made the playoffs this year if not for Pettersson’s terrible start. However, I will go with the Winnipeg Jets as a team that will get back to form next year. It makes no sense for a team with a roster that includes forwards Kyle Connor, Mark Scheifele, Nikolaj Ehlers, Blake Wheeler, Adam Lowry and Pierre-Luc Dubois to look outside. Their defense is a solid group, but not spectacular. who should be able to do the job, while Connor Hellebuyck remains an elite goaltender. The Jets just might never find consistency this year, and they probably need to shake up the roster a bit in order to reset whatever’s missing in their culture and chemistry. However, they have plenty of tradable assets to do so, and they have all of their key players other than Dubois locked in with some term. A little tinkering by general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff can get this team back to the playoffs quickly and without a massive rebuild.

SCOTT BURNSIDE: Boys, you missed the lowest fruit at hand. Everyone had a good laugh at the expense of the Vegas Golden Knights and how they will look to the playoffs for the first time since entering the league in 2017-18. And management has a lot to answer for about how they conduct business and how roster and salary cap management was a direct factor in their exit from the playoffs. Yet injuries to this deep and talented roster created a constant level of uncertainty and even the players who managed to get back into action – like captain Mark Stone – were clearly far from healthy, adding to the belief, at least my belief, that this season was just a speck on the radar. The cap situation isn’t going to get any easier in Vegas, but the team should be healthier and, with a full offseason to reflect and recuperate, not only will the Golden Knights be back in the ’23 playoffs, but I guess that’s a lot of us will put them back to No. 1 in the Pacific Division when we do our season forecast next fall.

FRANCK SERAVALLI: Oh Scott, leave it to yourself to pick up the fruits at hand. I wouldn’t bet against them, but I’m not as sold on the Golden Knights – and I certainly wouldn’t bet on Mark Stone being at full strength next season, it looks like his back problem is chronic for him. foreseeable future. It will be interesting to see what changes Vegas makes overall. I think with the right changes, the Jets could be on their way to bouncing back next season. I know, I know, I picked them to win the Stanley Cup this year. It’s still too fresh to tear that away from me. But I see no reason why the Jets couldn’t do next year what the Flames did this year: come back from outside the playoff picture to be the best in the division. I believed in this kernel. What I don’t know is if they will stay together or not. Cheveldayoff waited a long time to reunite Scheifele and Dubois, as his one-two punch down the middle, and he might not give up so quickly.

MAT LARKIN: Lou Lamoriello bowed his hand at the 2022 trade deadline when he made no seller trades and instead doubled down on his fight next season by announcing extensions for veteran forwards Zach Parise and Cal Clutterbuck on this day- the.. The message was clear: the New York Islanders want a mulligan for this season. I don’t blame them. Not only did they open the year with a 13-game road trip while waiting for their new arena to be ready for play, but they also played 50 games in 99 days to close out their season. They were out of action at Christmas. It’s still pretty much the same team that lost back-to-back matchups to eventual Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning in 2020 and 2021. They’ve seen exciting progression from goaltender Ilya Sorokin and of young defender Noah Dobson this season. With RFA Dobson being the only top-tier Islander needing a new contract this offseason and the Islands slated for over $12 million in cap space, Lamoriello may be able to add another piece in free agency. . Bet on a big rebound for this team in 2022-23.




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