Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Rating the 2013-14 season for all 30 teams.

So now that the season has come to a close, we can determine whether or not the campaign was a success for all the teams.  For this I’ll only give a straight up/down on its success, and an explanation.  All records are from the NHL.

Anaheim Ducks (116 pts, Conference Semis) Success, but only just.  Winning the tough Pacific Division deserves some praise, but the Ducks have been booted from the playoffs in the first or second round 3 of the past 4 years, and the glaring holes in net reared their ugly heads in the playoffs.  They managed to beat an inexperienced Dallas team, but couldn’t pull that on LA.

Boston Bruins (117 pts, Conference Semis) Not a success, the Bruins had to be hoping to improve on last year’s Finals run, and got beat by their arch nemesis, Montreal.  Plus they couldn’t get a cup for Iggy.

Buffalo Sabres (52 pts, out of the playoffs) Sooooo not a success.  For a while the Sabres were on pace to hit about 40 points this season, but the only silver lining is that they certainly won the Thomas Vanek trade to the Islanders, and made out pretty well on the Ryan Miller deal.

Calgary Flames (77 pts, out of the playoffs) Not a success, the Flames continue their decade long slide into obscurity and failed even harder in the far superior Pacific Division.  Calgary’s rebuild on the fly didn’t work, and they’ve set themselves up for a long ugly total rebuild.

Carolina Hurricanes (83 pts, out of the playoffs) They fired their GM, so not a success.  Another team going from a soft division to a (marginally) tougher one, the Canes will have some issues to deal with for a few years, though Anton Khudobin could be a solid goaltender in the future.

Chicago Blackhawks (107 pts, Conference Finals) Success.  The Hawks managed to avoid another post-Cup selloff, losing only a handful of players, and made another deep playoff run.  Admittedly the regular season could have gone better, however the new Central division could be the best in the league.

Colorado Avalanche (112 pts, First Round) Success.  The Avs catapulted from 15th in the West and last in the Northwest (two records they literally could not replicate), to first in the hard Central Division.  Patrick Roy’s first season as an NHL head coach could very well net him a Jack Adams award.

Columbus Blue Jackets (93 pts, First Round) Success.  The Jackets won the first two playoff games in franchise history, and are selling seats at Nationwide Arena better than ever.  Columbus has certainly benefitted from moving to the Metropolitan Division, and now has a core of young stars to build a successful franchise around.

Dallas Stars (91 pts, First Round) Success.  Dallas ended a long playoff drought, while not massively going up in the standings (the past few years they have been close to the playoffs, just outside), and, like Columbus, they have a core of young talented players to build around.

Detroit Red Wings (93 pts, First Round) Success.  Detroit, in a zombie like trance, shuffled into the playoffs and completed the one and only goal they could have, extending that long playoff streak.

Edmonton Oilers (67 pts, out of the playoffs) Not in any way a success.  The longer rebuild of Alberta continues unabated.

Florida Panthers (66 pts, out of the playoffs) Not a success.  The only reason they weren’t worst in their division was because Buffalo happened.  At least they won the draft lottery.

Los Angeles Kings (100 pts, Stanley Cup Champs) The most successful team in the league, the first team since the 2010 Flyers to come back from 3-0 down and win a series, then continued on to win the Cup, with 2 more game 7s along the way.

Minnesota Wild (98 pts, Conference Semifinals) Success, Minnesota continued building a franchise, made the playoffs in a difficult division, and upset Colorado in the first round.  Unfortunately they had to play Chicago after, but not a bad season by most any measure.

Montreal Canadiens (100 pts, Conference Finals) Success, Les Canadiens made it past a Steven Stamkos-led Lightening and the big bad Bruins to a relatively surprising conference final spot.

Nashville Predators (88 pts, out of the playoffs) Not a success, Nashville continued their regression and finally let Barry Trotz (the only coach the team had known) go.  I think it’s because of the godawful jerseys they have to wear.

New Jersey Devils (88 pts, out of the playoffs) Not a success, trading for Cory Schneider was a relatively good move, until they let Marty Brodeur keep the starting job.  Not much good happened for the Devils, and they get to pick dead last in the first round.

New York Islanders (79 pts, out of the playoffs) So not a success.  After almost making it out of the first round last year, the Islanders traded longtimer Matt Moulson and picks to Buffalo for Thomas Vanek, who didn’t pan out at all on Long Island, and ended up traded again to Montreal.

New York Rangers (96 pts, Stanley Cup Finalists) Success.  The first year under Alain Vigneault got the Rangers closer to the Cup than they’ve been in about 20 years.  The St. Louis for Callahan trade to Tampa worked out pretty well for the Rangers too, now if only they could get a better building.

Ottawa Senators (88 pts, out of the playoffs) Not a success.  The Sens thought that adding Bobby Ryan would put them over the top into Eastern Conference contention, but they highly regressed, and now it looks like Jason Spezza, one of the best players in franchise history, is asking out.

Philadelphia Flyers (94 pts, First Round) Not a success.  While the Rangers-Flyers series was one of the better ones of the first round, this isn’t a team that’s hoping to make the playoffs, the Flyers are trying to win a Cup, and they can’t do that losing in the first round.

Phoenix Coyotes (89 pts, out of the playoffs) Success, if only because they finally found an owner that isn’t going to move the team to Hamilton right now.  Hopefully with stable ownership the franchise can build on and improve even in a harsh Pacific.

Pittsburgh Penguins (109 pts, Conference Semifinals) Not a success.  Both Shero and Bylsma were fired after bowing out in the second round and not producing another Cup for the Pens since 2009.  With so much cap room tied up in 4 players (Crosby, Malkin, Fleury and Letang), you have to wonder what new GM Jim Rutherford can do to turn the Pens back into a contender.

St. Louis Blues (111 pts, First Round) Not a success.  Ryan Miller was supposed to be the “missing piece” that unlocked a Stanley Cup for St. Louis, but their Arch (see what I did there?) rivals in Chicago put an end to that.  Jonathan Toews probably causes nightmares on the other side of the Mississippi.

San Jose Sharks (111 pts, First Round) Very very much not a success.  Any team that goes up 3-0 on a heated foe and loses the series isn’t having a happy offseason, and with the window rapidly closing on the Sharks core players, one has to wonder if they’ll be able to put together another postseason run in the short term.

Tampa Bay Lightning (101 pts, First Round) Partial success.  Despite being swept convincingly in the first round, the fact that the Lightening could make the playoffs without the services of their best player for the majority of the season has to be good for the team.  The fact that Stamkos came back and produced, along with the good goaltending of a young Ben Bishop gives hope in non-south Florida.

Toronto Maple Leafs (84 pts, out of the playoffs) Not a success.  The Leafs were blown away in the late part of the season.  A terrible new year took them from what had to be a sure playoff spot to well out of the postseason.  It was a collapse of epic proportions.

Vancouver Canucks (83 pts, out of the playoffs) Not a success.  The first and only season of the John Torterella era was harsh.  Very harsh.  From the complete humiliation of the Calgary line brawl and Tort’s suspension for going at the Flames’ locker room, to the pitiful performance down the stretch while they were mathematically alive, to the fact that Vigneault coached Torts’ former team to the Stanley Cup Final, this was a season to forget in British Columbia.

Washington Capitals (90 pts, out of the playoffs) Not a success.  The Caps missed the playoffs for the first time in quite a while, likely due to, like Vancouver, moving from a super soft division to a more challenging one.  Ultimately it cost Adam Oates and George McPhee their jobs, meanwhile everyone will remind Alex Ovechkin that he hasn’t won a Cup, despite being one of the best goal scorers ever.

Winnipeg Jets (84 pts, out of the playoffs) Not a success.  The Jets left a soft Southeast Division (HEY, REMEMBER WHEN THE NHL THOUGHT HOCKEY COULD WORK IN ATLANTA, AGAIN?!) for the tough Central, and didn’t improve at all.  At this point it wouldn’t be surprising to see a retooling in Winnipeg.

And that’s it! All 30 teams, judged by their relative performance.

Soon I’ll make soccer posts, what with the World Cup and all.

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