Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 09/30/13 at 06:35 AM ET
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
There are six teams that you would likely concede playoff spots to: the Chicago Blackhawks, the St. Louis Blues, the Vancouver Canucks, plus the three California teams – San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks. Over an 82-game schedule, all have enough depth and experience to get over the playoff Mendoza line.
What’s left is a mish mash of teams on the way up, on the way down or trying to find a place in the soft squishy middle of the NHL pack, where most teams reside, thanks to the evils of parity.
The Winnipeg Jets? Getting better but still searching for their first playoff spot since returning to the NHL? The Minnesota Wild? They squeezed in as the eighth seed last year after four years out of the playoffs, thanks in part to the free-agent acquisitions of Ryan Suter and Zach Parise. But Minnesota didn’t score a lot, changed a fair bit of their supporting cast and ultimately needs to see Charlie Coyle, Mikael Granlund and some of their hotshot prospects evolve into contributing NHL players.
It is that way in Edmonton too – a great young nucleus in place that may still be a year or two away from joining the playoff party. Taylor Hall made great strides last year, but Nail Yakupov isn’t there yet and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Sam Gagner start the year on IR, leaving a massive gap in their top six.
more plus a few more topics too...
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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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