Offseason

Playoffs 2015: Who will Miss?

New Post, Old Picture
New Post, Old Picture

Last Sunday, we looked at playoff teams from last year which should be playing late April hockey again in 2015. Sixteen teams make it, and though none of us have a crystal ball (and if you do, remember, sharing is caring), based on offseason moves and prospect development, we could all have a good sense of teams that will be good and teams that won’t. Speaking of teams that won’t, we all know that just being in the playoffs one year does not guarantee success in years to come.

Let’s take a look again at the playoff teams of 2014:

 

Thanks again CBS Sports

It’s a fairly safe bet to say that not each and every team on the above bracket will be there next year. Frankly, let’s hope not; it would make for a pretty boring year. Let’s take a look at some teams which may be facing locker room breakup day when the season ends next spring.

Detroit Red Wings

It actually pains me to write this, since some of the skill level on that team is just so high. But when you mix together spotty brilliant play with aging veterans, the cohesive level of play needed to be successful is just not there. You don’t ever officially write the Red Wings out of the playoffs – they’ve been there practically since I’ve been alive – but after nearly missing out last year and breaking their (now) 24 season streak, it’s a consideration to make. Captain Henrik Zetterberg has the leadership qualities to keep them together, but missing out on free agent defensemen Christian Ehrhoff (landed in Pittsburgh) and Dan Boyle (landed in New York) might be a dagger to them. If their veterans show stamina and their brilliance stays healthy, we’re looking at the 25th season in a row, but for now they’re a wild card.

Colorado Avalanche

A lack of consistency is what could be the eventual nail in the coffin of the Avs 2014-15 season. It’s fiery coach Patrick Roy’s second season coaching and, although his passionate (and at times, crazy) coaching got his players excited and moving along last year, it’s very possible that his antics wear thin and he faces the dreaded sophomore slump. The Avs lost Paul Stastny to free agency in July, and losing him to a conference rival certainly won’t help them at all. Colorado’s attempt to replace Stastny comes in the form of Jarome Iginla, a world class player, but he is aging and I can’t quite imagine him playing for Roy. A lot of the Avs being on this list really depends on Roy and how he handles his second season. Picking up Danny Briere for PA Parenteau was a pretty good move, but only if Briere is more helpful in high pressure situations, which wasn’t the case during the playoffs last season. Which brings me to the third team on this list…

Montreal Canadiens

The Canadiens did something I thought no team would do last year: beat the Boston Bruins, and in the second round, no less. Confession Sunday: I watched almost none of that series, since the further along in the playoffs the Rangers get, the more superstitious/zoned in/insane I get, but having watched the Rangers make fairly quick work of them, I’m not quite sure to what I should attribute their early playoff success. The offseason was unkind to Montreal, with the aforementioned loss of Briere, along with the losses of offensive spark Thomas Vanek and Captain Brian Gionta. The biggest noise that came from the Habs all offseason is the extension of PK Subban, but if he is named as Gionta’s successor, he may face some growing pains as Montreal’s fearless leader. Let’s not kid ourselves, Carey Price is great in net, and if he plays to his potential, the Canadiens can ride him up to and through the playoffs. But when we look at how hard they will have to rely on offensive lines whose only proven success consists of Max Pacioretty and (kind of) Brendan Gallagher, you’ll need a heck of a lot of leadership and luck to get through.

 

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  • Don’t forget Galchenyuk in MTL, kid is pretty damn good.

    I’d also say Philly misses, if the moves Washington made on the back end actually help them shore up their defense.

      • I think MTL has enough to make the playoffs. A goalie like Price alone can get a team to the 8th spot. The Rangers can attest to that. Pacioretty is a 30+ goal scorer and will lead the offense. I think they get in as much as it pains me to say.
        The Wings have a couple young kids behind Datsuk & Zetterberg. Defense is a problem for them but their coach is one of the best in the NHL and they have an endless supply of promising young Swedes to bring up.
        Of those 3 I think the Avs come back down to Earth and have a dissapointing year. They allow to many shots against. Varlamov is great but unless they get a shutdown defense pair they will likely have the same fate as Toronto last season. Just my opinion tho. I can’t see MTL missing the playoffs. They lost a bit but their GM will likely do everything in his power to get the Habs to the playoffs. Big market city would hang him if they missed after going to the ECF last season. There’s cup
        Aspirations in French Canada.

    • I could see Philly missing the playoffs. The owner gets too involved and has tried to put that team together with bubble gum and paper clips. No foundation and very little in the way of depth. They would have found use for one of the big free agent forwards this summer. I think Philly is one of the lowest scoring teams this year. They’ll rely on the PP to win games for them.

    • Don’t forget Philly picked up MDZ. Watch him have a monster season there and QB their potent PP. I still think they miss the playoffs but they’ll be in the hunt for the final wild card spot by seasons end.

  • I would also like to see MDZ have a breakout year. He definitely has the skills to do so. The Flyers will have a tough time making the playoffs as will Detroit. Montreals’ defence is brutal, but Price will Carey them into the playoffs.

    Even with the 3 Ranger additions, I am not sold on Tampabay making the playoff. Too much of a country club mentality down there in Florida, I think they will disappoint.

    • Disagree about Tampa, had a lot of good young players stand out last season (Palat, Johnson) and have Drouin on the way, that forward corp is going to be scary in a few years.

      As for defense, Stralman will be a very solid addition to their second line, and Hedman is only getting better.

      Then Ben Bishop in goal, I think TB will be fine getting back in.

  • Out West (here at home) the Avs will fall short and I also see Minnesota not making the grade. I forecast the young gun Oilers and the resurrected Predators taking their spot this year.

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