A couple of days ago I reviewed a few of the teams that in my eyes are going into the 2016-2017 season stronger and looking towards a better season. Now I’ll go over a few of the teams that, well aren’t looking too good going into the upcoming season.
First the Chicago Blackhawks. After a Stanley Cup win in 2015, the Blackhawks playoff run ended rather shortly and shorter than everyone expected. Whilst letting go off Patrick Sharp, Brandon Saad in the 2015 offseason two players that showed signs of amazing upside, but for some reason Chicago let them go. Now this year the Blackhawks let go off Andrew Shaw, who has been nothing but consistent during the regular season as well as a big time performer in the Blackhawks playoff runs. Bryan Bickell and Dale Weise, while Weise didn’t see much ice during his time in Chicago, I still believe Weise is a solid bottom six forward on any NHL team, as is Bryan Bickell. Two veteran players the Blackhawks have lost now.
The big shocker here is the trading of Teuvo Teravainen. During Teravainen’s first full year in Chicago he posted 35 points in the form of 13 goals and 22 assists. I’m not too sure what the reasoning behind this was, but Teravainen is a young player who had a ton of upside playing alongside Kane or Toews. With the loss of Andrew Ladd, you can’t say it’s neither a loss nor a gain due to his short time in Chicago but still, the caliber player Ladd is you know he is going to post a consistent 55-60 points a year. I truly would not be surprised if Chicago does not make playoffs, or has an early exit yet again. But yet again it’s Chicago and they always seem to have successful seasons year after year.
Dallas Stars, yes I’m putting the Stars in the loser section for two reasons. Firstly they’ll be relying on young defensemen for the 2016-2017 season. Secondly, they’ll be bringing back both Antti Niemi and Kari Lehtonen. The Stars struggled on the defensive side last year, many thought that the mid-season transaction for Kris Russell was a decent move as he could be a good defensive defenseman for the Stars. Going into the upcoming season, the Stars have lost Alex Goligoski, Jason Demers and possibly Kris Russell – who is under contract talks as of right now.
This leaves the Stars to develop the young prospects of their organization, which they have much faith in. But for a team looking to get into the playoffs, relying on their youth is probably not a smart move. Bringing back Niemi and Lehtonen causes goalie controversy for Dallas yet again. During the regular season, and a portion of the playoffs, the goalie situation was a problem for Dallas, and it looks like it will be a problem yet again. Although they did add former Canuck blue-liner Dan Hamhuis, losing two defensemen in your top four is never a good thing.
Lastly, the Los Angeles Kings. It’s been a rough offseason for the Kings so far, letting go of Milan Lucic who fit well with the system in Los Angeles. Lucic posted 20 goals – eight on the powerplay – and 55 points in 81 games for the Kings last year, so the loss of Lucic will be felt next year. Ripping the “C” off of Dustin Brown definitely causes some tension with management, obviously Brown wasn’t too thrilled with losing his captaincy, so the move could put Brown in a positive direction or just backfire completely and keep him dredging downwards in his career. Adding defensemen Tom Gilbert, who’s a subpar defenseman, to try and fill the void of Willie Mitchell and Slava Voynov isn’t going to work out too well in Los Angeles either.
It’s still early into the offseason so some of these teams can make some progress and turn their fortunes around, and put their team trending in the right direction. But as of right now these three teams have taken a huge blow so far.