The NHL’s Top Two Most Disappointing Teams
By; Joe Borek (@jjbork26)
Along with surprising teams, then, of course, comes the disappointing teams on the season thus far. There are many to pick from, but in this one, we will discuss the top two disappointing teams in the league to date. So let us get right into it.
1. Vancouver Canucks
The Canucks just cannot figure it out. They have never got out of their engines sputtering that started at seasons beginning. Now their engines just seem to be dead. Both Thatcher Demko, who emerged last playoffs, and offseason signee Braden Holtby have been struggling mightily. This is in no small part because the Canucks are only 20th in goals for on offense. On the defensive side, they are far worse at 29th in the league allowing 3.54 goals a game.
Those numbers are not a recipe for success and something the Canucks need to primarily focus on fixing to build a winning culture going forward. The operative word culture. They have skilled players and even names like vet Alex Edler on defense with Quinn Hughes, Tyler Myers, Travis Hamonic, and fellow youngster to Hughes Olli Juolevi. So they have the guys. The system they are running just clearly needs to grow or change. Nate Schmidt, who broke out in Vegas, has also been sputtering since coming over to the Canucks this season. With stars like Brock Boeser, Elias Pettersson, and Bo Horvat combined with the defense, as mentioned earlier, the Canucks should not be in the spot they are. They need their goaltending and defense to step up and step up fast. Then hopefully, like many teams, a good defense will help fuel the offense. Otherwise, this is a business first and foremost, so do not be surprised if there is a coaching change in Vancouver soon.
2. Nashville Predators
Just like the Canucks the Predators did not have any good runs thus far this season. That, like the Canucks is in large part due to goaltending but not in the same ways as the Canucks. For the Canucks both Demko and Holtby are struggling, where for the Preds, it is just who they thought was their future, for now, starter Jusse Saros. The Predators drafted future projected star netminder Yaroslav Askarov with their 11th pick, but he is still only 18 years of age and is under a KHL contract playing for SKA Saint Petersburg. Saros, on the other hand, over here in the NHL has a .882SV% and 3.47GAA. We could blame the team stats on this again because the Preds are 25th in goals allowed at 3.26 a game and 28th in PK at 70.3%. The Problem is like Demko, who really should be better; we have seen Saros since his debut step up big for the Predators before this season. He was able to take over the job from Pekka Rinne. Now it seems Rinne has regained the job, at least to the degree his 38-year-old body can handle. That is not a recipe for success going forward. It is excellent to see Rinne putting up a solid .911SV% with a 2.52GAA, but he is not getting any younger.
The Predators need Sarros to turn it around or need their young defense led by veteran Norris Trophy winner Roman Josi to step up. Both would be great. It seems. However, the Predators see the writing on the wall and have been rumored to be moving very consistent D-Man Mattias Ekholm as long as he’s healthy, which should be the case soon. So it seems this team is going to be going into at least re-tool mode. Can then have someone take the contracts of Matt Duchene and fellow center Ryan Johansen? That remains to be seen and is going to be a challenging feat to pull off. Their main issue is their additions, including Duchene and Johansen, have not played nearly to the degree the team expected them to play. Now Luke Kunin, Erik Haula, and Mark Borowiecki are added to the least of players Nashville acquired that have not panned out at least as of yet for them. The writing is on the wall. The Predators need to change their ways, or they are going to be stuck in limbo. Maybe it is time for David Poile to hang them up finally, and do not be surprised if Hynes, who was probably not the right move in the first place, is let go soon enough as the head coach as well. Nashville needs a shake-up, and it seems to be coming soon.