We’re now nearly two months into the 2015-16 NHL season, and we’ve seen our fair of surprises. There’s the good – like the incredible Dallas Stars, who are outperforming expectations in the Central Division – and the bad. Let’s take a moment to talk about the latter.
These are the four teams that we expected more of this season. We’re not mad, we’re just… disappointed.
The Anaheim Ducks were a popular preseason pick to win the Stanley Cup. A lot of people are looking pretty dumb right now, though, because the Ducks look lost. Worse yet, it’s hard to see what the problem is. They’re just not getting great production from guys that usually provide it, and they’re a lousy 9-12-5 with no clear path to improvement. Yikes.
The Calgary Flames were supposed to still be rebuilding last year. Instead, they got into the playoffs and even made it to the second round.
That’s great, and it led to even more expectations this year. The team still has a talented young core, and they should only be improving as they continue to retool this squad – right? Well, it’s not going that way so far. Calgary has the same number of points as their basement-dwelling buddies, the Oilers (thought the Oilers have played one more game). Both the Flames and the Oilers, who we’ll talk about in a moment, were teams that expected to be on an upward trajectory. Instead, they both look as stagnant as ever.
We didn’t expect the world from the Edmonton Oilers this season, but we did expect to see a franchise that was headed in the right direction. With number one draft pick Connor McDavid leading the way, the Oilers were supposed to show some glimmers of the glory days to come. It’s not happening – instead, the Oilers have lost McDavid to injury, and the rest of the team looks terrible. They’re dead last in the Western Conference.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Last year’s Stanley Cup runners-up were, like the Ducks, a popular preseason pick to go all the way. They have Steven Stamkos and a great young core, and they didn’t mess with their formula this offseason, so why shouldn’t they be great again? But here we are, and the Lightning are fifth in the Atlantic, below even the surprising Boston Bruins.
The Winnipeg Jets were a trendy pick to move up in the Central Division, thanks to a crew of young stars. Instead, they are second-to-last in the division, topping only the lowly Colorado Avalanche. They’re still within striking distance of the middle of the pack, so they could yet turn this around and sneak in to the playoffs, but for now we’re very disappointed. It has not been a great season for fans of young teams with potential.