NHL Teams’ Path Back To Glory

Story posted April 9, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Maclain Young, Evan Smith

Plenty of teams have fallen well short of expectations this season. Some have simply been bad as expected. Either way, the teams at the bottom of the league have a lot of work to do in the upcoming offseason.

Here are a handful of the NHL’s biggest disappointments and their possible paths back to the limelight.

Montreal Canadiens

It was always going to be a tall task for the Canadiens to repeat their immense playoff success from last year, making it to the Stanley Cup Final.

Most people thought the Habs would take a step back. Some were even bold enough to predict Montreal missing the playoffs this year.

No one thought that things would go as bad as they did this year for Montreal. Cole Caulfield had to be sent down to the AHL, Claude Julien was fired and there were no sparks to be found on offense.

Thankfully for Montreal’s fans, interim coach and NHL legend Martin St. Louis has breathed some new life into the team. Caulfield has played well under him and the team has begun to perform well for being bottom two in the league.

Montreal’s climb back to greatness starts with putting a greater focus on young talent by offloading expensive veterans like Shea Weber and Jeff Petry.

This way the Canadiens can build a roster around Caulfield and whichever star they select in the upcoming draft.

Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers had lofty expectations going into this season.

Before the pandemic, the team looked like Stanley Cup contenders. Many thought a brutal 2021 was a fluke and their new look blue line would lead them back into the Stanley Cup playoffs.

However, like all the teams in this article, the Flyers fell short.

They fired a head coach, lost their big offseason acquisition to injury, lost their former Selke winner to injury and traded away their beloved captain after his 1000th game with the club.

The Flyers are in a tight situation and honestly have to do a lot of hoping if they want to bounce back next season. Philly will need to pray that their top players will heal up and solidify what has looked like an abysmal roster as of late.

They will also need to clear some cap space to try and improve one of the worst offenses in the NHL this season. Oh yeah, they also need to hire a new head coach.

Chuck Fletcher and the gang have a long offseason ahead of them in Philly, one that is going to be tough to get right.

Seattle Kraken

There were expectations for the Kraken heading into the expansion draft.

After the Vegas Golden Knights historic first season, the pieces were on the board for Seattle to follow suit. That has not come to fruition though, with Seattle near the bottom of the league so far.

Seattle has the pieces in place to build a contender as early as next season. Jared McCann looks to be a leader with his new contract and Matty Beniers could bring some young scoring to the fray.

The Kraken’s main asset this off-season is their draft capital consisting of seven second-round picks over the next two years.

This along with the picks, the Kraken have ample cap space to work with, setting themselves up to be able to pull some blockbusters.

To improve quickly, Seattle must add top-tier scoring and improve their goaltending. Both Chris Driedger and Philipp Grubauer carry goals-against averages of over 3.00.

McCann leads the offense with 25 goals this season, with no other player reaching 20. Filip Forsberg looks like an obvious target for the Kraken to add to their scoring.

Ottawa Senators

The Senators organization has a lot of questions that need to be answered this off-season. That begins with the ownership situation following the passing of Eugene Melnyk.

Currently, no comment has been given on the state of the franchise moving forward. This will be a major decision that could determine the fate of the Senators in Ottawa

Melnyk was intent on keeping the team in Canada’s capital, but with an arena over 40 minutes away from the city, talk of movement has been in the air. These will only intensify if new ownership acquired the team.

For Ottawa, to contend next season, they need to add veteran leadership to their young talented team. Ottawa native Claude Giroux is a free agent who could fit that mold.

Giroux can add guidance and some of the scoring prowess the team needs.

The Senators would also be keen on adding better contracts compared to the filler deals they took on during their rebuilds, such as Nikita Zaitsev and Michael Del Zotto.

Ottawa can contend if they invest in their roster next season

Evan Smith is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email ers5828@psu.edu

Maclain Young is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email macyoung21@gmail.com.