Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 07/13/14 at 09:40 AM ET
from Matt Larkin of The Hockey News,
Here are three 2014-15 candidates to slide from in the big dance to out – and three to slide from out to in.
MADE PLAYOFFS IN 2013-14, COULD MISS IN 2014-15
1. Detroit Red Wings (My projection: 9th in East)
All good things come to an end, and maybe the epic playoff streak stops at 23 years. Detroit was shockingly inactive during the flurry of early off-season activity, whiffing on free agents like Matt Niskanen and Dan Boyle. This team has added next to nothing, its goaltending was suspect last season and, even though Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg are slated to return healthy, each is having an increasingly difficult time doing so.
Detroit’s blueline lacks elite puck-moving ability and, while Anthony Mantha is a promising prospect up front, the franchise’s history of patience suggests he’ll take another year to reach the NHL. Detroit still has an encouraging youth movement, as Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar have shown. But the teams it edged for a playoff spot (see the second section) have improved, while it has not.
2. New York Rangers (My projection: 7th in East)
It’s not a question of if the Rangers regress after a trip to the Stanley Cup final. The question is how much, and the slide could be significant if this team can’t generate offense.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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