30. Colorado Avalanche
There is no word to describe how bad the Avalanche have been this year, it is time to move on from past third overall pick Matt Duchene. It will take a lot more than the number 1 overall draft pick for them to compete.
29. New Jersey Devils
The Devils have been horrific for the last month and in their last 10 games they have finished 1-8-1, the one bright spot of this team was supposed to be Cory Schneider but he has struggled too. They need an elite scorer like Nolan Patrick or a defensemen like Timothy Liljegren in the draft.
28. Arizona Coyotes
The Coyotes have been better of lately so their is some hope for next year and future seasons but this team is still probably three years away from competing for the playoffs. Winning the draft lottery and picking Nolan Patrick would be huge for them.
27. Vancouver Canucks
The Canucks have been bad for the majority of the season, the only bright spots have been the play of their goalies and Bo Horvat. They need to take the next step in their rebuild and get rid of the Sedins but signing players like Loui Eriksson does not help.
26. Dallas Stars
A team loaded with offensive fire power had the injury bug hit early this season and could not recover, making things worse is all star Jamie Benn went down fighting Nikita Trymakin. The weak D-core and terrible goaltending will need upgrades this summer if they are to contend.
25. Detroit Redwings
This will be the first time I have never seen Detroit in the playoffs, new territory has been approached and a new era is taking over with the departure of Datsyuk. Detroit’s young players like Dylan Larkin and Gustav Nyquist did not live up to expectations and neither did veterans Niklas Kronwall and Henrik Zetterberg.
24. Buffalo Sabres
When Buffalo’s prized future star Jack Eichel got injured during preseason it was to much for this Sabres team to overcome. For a team who has not reached the playoffs for a while another disappointing season could mean more changes are coming.
23. Florida Panthers
A team stocked with potential, started the year slow due to key injures to future stars Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad. Last year’s Atlantic division champs won’t be back in the playoffs but the fans can still watch intriguing young stars Aaron Ekblad and Alex Barkov.
22. Winnipeg Jets
The Jets young stars Patrik Laine and Mark Scheifele have impressed this season but a lack of goaltending and defence have hurt this young team. Winnipeg will be good for years as they may have the best prospect pool in the entire league, Paul Maurice might be on the hot seat.
21. Carolina Hurricanes
After getting eight of a possible 10 points in their last five games the Hurricanes are looking good but it is too little too late for them. This team is young though especially its D-core so look for them to contend for years to come.
20. Philadelphia Flyers
After Philly went on their 10 game win streak they looked like a lock to make the playoffs but everything went downhill from there. Now sitting five points out and a loss to the Devils earlier this week they would need a miracle to make the postseason.
19. Los Angeles Kings
The Kings are losing to all the teams that they need to catch and with losses to the Blues and Flames their playoff hopes have faltered and they will struggle to make the cut. With 11 games left and sitting six points back of Nashville for the second wildcard spot it will be tough to qualify for the postseason.
18. New York Islanders
Another team that stumbled out of the gate who have played better since the firing of head coach Jack Capuano. They still have issues in goal and if they can’t solve those problems this team will not be competing for the cup come April.
17. Tampa Bay Lightning
The Lightning went into the season as one of the favourites to win the cup but when Steven Stamkos went down they struggled. After unloading Ben Bishop, Brian Boyle and Valtteri Filppula at the trade deadline they have made a late season push and sit two points back of Toronto, they are still very dangerous if they get in the playoffs.
16. Toronto Maple leafs
A huge 5-0 win for the Leafs over the Lightning has Toronto in the final wildcard spot for now but there are still games to be played. Will young guns Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner be able to keep the spot against Victor Hedman and the experienced Tampa Bay Lightning?
15. Nashville Predators
Without Shea Weber for the first time in a decade and PK Subban sidelined, the Predators struggled at the start of the year but have been winning more games of late. Pekka Rinne has underperformed in net this season but if they can return to last year’s form a playoff run could be possible.
14. St Louis Blues
St Louis leaped Nashville in the standings to get out of a wildcard spot and with a win over the Kings on Monday it looks like they are playoff bound once again. This team is not as good as last years without key pieces David Backes. Brian Elliott and Troy Brouwer but they still might sneak out a series win.
13. Boston Bruins
Brad Marchand is playing incredible with 79 points and 37 goals and he may be a dark horse candidate for the Hart trophy leading Boston to a win against Vancouver with a hat trick and defeating the red hot Flames. With their experience they could still be very dangerous when the playoffs start.
12. Ottawa Senators
Ottawa had a chance at top seed in the Atlantic but after back to back crushing losses to their rival Canadiens it is unlikely. One of four Canadian teams in the top 12, they might be the least likely to win a playoff round without an elite goalie or a star forward.
11. Edmonton Oilers
The Oilers scored seven goals in two straight games and shut out the Canucks in their only other game this week. Now its time to see if Connor McDavid can live up to the hype in the playoffs, maybe a big physical Battle of Alberta will take shape.
10. Anaheim Ducks
Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry are not the same players they once were but with their experience this team is still dangerous especially after pulling within four points of the division leading Sharks. Jonathan Bernier has played solid in net the last week with John Gibson recovering from an injury.
9. Calgary Flames
The Flames are on fire finishing 12-1-0 in their last 13 games while Brian Elliott has a personal 11 games franchise tying win streak and was awarded third star of the week honors. Johnny Hockey is back and this team may be the deadliest in the west after Chicago, I would not want to play them now.
8. Minnesota Wild
With five straight loses and a record of 2-8-0 in their last 10 the Wild are stumbling down the final stretch of the season. Dubnyk is no longer playing like a Vezina winning goalie and everything is going wrong at the wrong time for the team who led the west for a majority of the year.
7. San Jose Sharks
The Sharks are struggling to win games this week with their only win against the Sabres but still hold a four point lead for top spot in the Pacific. If Brent Burns can return to his early season play there is no better blue liner in the NHL, the defending Western Conference champs are still dangerous.
6. Montreal Canadiens
With two huge wins over the Senators on back to back nights they look like they will win the Atlantic division and face off against the Rangers. If Carey Price can stand on his head like usual the Canadiens could make a run and face one of the east’s powerhouses during the conference finals.
5. New York Rangers
The Rangers are in the division of death this year so they will likely get a wildcard spot and play Montreal who they have struggled to beat. Without a true elite scorer anymore this team might struggle to score goals during the playoffs especially if they match up against Carey Price.
4. Columbus Bluejackets
This year’s surprise team, the Bluejackets are on a quest to win their first ever playoff series and take a deep run at the cup. Being stuck in the Metropolitan division with Pittsburgh and Washington won’t help their chances but young guns Zach Werenski and Alex Wennberg look to prove the doubters wrong.
3. Washington Capitals
After losing four straight games, the Capitals bounced back with wins over the stumbling Wild and desperate Lightning. Will this finally be the year the Capitals get past their playoff demons or will another playoff collapse cost them a shot at the cup?
2. Pittsburgh Penguins
The defending Stanley Cup Champions look poised to make another run at the cup if they can escape the tough Metropolitan division. Sidney Crosby is playing as good as he ever has with a hat trick in a win over Florida on Sunday. Will we finally get to see Toews vs Crosby in the finals?
1. Chicago Blackhawks
The Blackhawks look like the best team in the west again as they look to win their fourth Stanley Cup since 2010. With Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith playing at elite levels once again and even without the depth they have had in past seasons they are still the most experienced and dangerous team in the league.