Now that the new season is underway it’s time to take a look at five teams that need to have a better season than their 2014-2015 results. For whatever reason last season, these teams couldn’t put things together and fulfill their maximum potential. Keep an eye on the teams below as the season progresses.
The Ducks are at the top of my list for one reason – they were built to win it all last season and failed to do so mostly because of their own laziness. With about a third of the season remaining and the playoffs clinched, the Ducks took their proverbial foot off the pedal and coasted into the playoffs. The coasting and just plain lazy habits that resulted in inconsistent play was so bad the Ducks TV broadcast team brought this topic up regularly during games.
What happened come playoff time shocked even me – their laziness and inconsistent play carried into the playoffs. The Ducks never played a full sixty minutes of hockey coasting for 20 or more minutes per game. As I see it, the Ducks got lucky in the first two rounds as they faced Winnipeg and Calgary who had way too many injuries to field even the slightest opposition to the Ducks. Had either of these teams not have any injuries, its quite possible that the Ducks would have been eliminated in these rounds.
This may not be related but it needs to be said. One of Ryan Getzlaf’s biggest knocks against him when he was drafted was his inconsistency. It makes one wonder if this habit has seeped into his captaincy in the playoffs last year and if the Ducks can overcome this laziness if it happens again.
The Ducks this season need to figure out if they’re really the fierce team they appear to be on paper or the lazy team that we saw the last third of last season and the playoffs.
The Winnipeg Jets are an average team. There. I said it.
They have an average roster, average goaltender, and an average General Manager who seems happy with his average team’s mediocrity year in and year out. Not really fair for one of the best fan bases in the league to have to deal with this year in and year out. This team seems to be happy with mediocrity as opposed to wanting to win a Stanley Cup this season.
What is Winnipeg’s goal this season? More of the average? Because if that’s the case, it’s not going to be long before the fans will speak their minds by not purchasing tickets.
It’s time for the Jets front office to grow up, take this team mired in mediocrity, and take the next step up. Upgrade the roster, replace their goaltender, do something to show their fans that the Jets are here to win it all and not just play average hockey year in and year out.
Now let’s be real here. I am not (and I’m sure no one else is) expecting the Oilers to make the playoffs this season. Given how messed up the franchise was for the past eight plus seasons the bar needs to be set really low here. While everyone will be focusing on Connor McDavid (the Oilers 2015 first round draft pick) they need to watch how the team around him progresses, especially the forward depth.
The expectation for the Oilers this season is to compete on a nightly basis and show everyone they have turned the corner from the train wreck they were in seasons past.
I have a feeling the corner has been turned with this team for the better.
Jason Spezza, Patrick Sharp, Tyler Seguin, Ales Hemsky, Jamie Benn, Johnny Oduya, Antti Niemi.
This team is built for one reason – to leave a path of death and destruction on their way to winning the Stanley Cup. This team can win it all. However, last season they fell short of making the playoffs for numerous reasons including the shoddy play of goaltender Kari Lethonen.
Missing the playoffs is inexcusable this season. So is an early round exit from the playoffs.
New York Islanders
I’ve been watching the Islanders closely for many years while General Manager Garth Snow has been slowly and patiently rebuilding the team from within. The Islanders have turned a corner from being the leagues door mat to a team that has the potential to not only make the playoffs but do some damage in the deep rounds.
At this time in the history of this franchise the Islanders are in the perfect moment that they’ve been working so hard for many years to attain. They’ve changed the culture, they’ve built a winning roster, and now they’re playing in a new arena.
This season it’s time for the Islanders to not only win the division but to go deep into the playoffs. Sure it’s a tall order given the competition in their division but with the potential of this season’s roster, its a very realistic goal.