In hockey, it’s hard to move from the outhouse to the penthouse because playoff contenders refuse to move out.
Of the 16 teams that made it to the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs, 12 were in the midst of a multi-year postseason streak. If you include the 2020 COVID-19 bubble qualifying streak, when the NHL allowed 24 teams to make the playoffs, the Pittsburgh Penguins have not missed the playoffs since the 2005-06 season, when Sidney Crosby was a rookie. The Washington Capitals and Nashville Predators each have an eight-season streak. The Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs have qualified for six straight seasons.
Colorado Avalanche (5), Tampa Bay Lightning (5), Carolina Hurricanes (4), St. Louis Blues (4), Edmonton Oilers (3), Florida Panthers (3 ) and the Minnesota Wild (3). The only postseason rookies last year were the Calgary Flames, Dallas Stars, Los Angeles Kings, and New York Rangers. And the Stars played for the Stanley Cup in 2020!
In the meantime, take a look at the 10 worst teams from the 2019-20 season. Since then, only two have qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs: the Montreal Canadiens, who dropped out of the All-Canadian Northern Division to play for the Cup in 2021 before rebuilding; and the Kings, who made the playoffs last season for the first time since the 2017–18 season.
However, every year there is hope that one of the “sure things” will drop out of the standings and open up a playoff spot for an upstart. That one of the lottery teams is suddenly ahead of its restructuring schedule and surprises by reaching the playoffs.
Here’s a look at the most likely candidates to miss the playoffs – and who are most likely to jump into those vacant spots – in each division in the 2022-23 season.
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