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Three Disappointing NHL Teams so Far

CALGARY, AB - JANUARY 18: Colorado Avalanche Center Nathan MacKinnon (29) warms up before an NHL game between the Calgary Flames and the Colorado Avalanche on January 18, 2023, at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, AB. (Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

As the NHL season has just surpassed its halfway mark, there have been a lot of disappointing teams thus far. There are three NHL teams in particular who have disappointed us the most this season. Let’s take a look at which NHL teams have disappointed, examine their seasons up to this point, and determine why they aren’t living up to expectations.

Disappointing NHL Teams

Florida Panthers

There may not be a team who has disappointed thus far as much as the Florida Panthers have. After coming off a Presidents’ trophy win last season many expected Florida to be amongst the league’s premier teams again this season. However, the Panthers currently sit well outside a playoff spot and are amongst the bottom ten teams in the league. Losing MacKenzie Weegar and Jonathan Huberdeau has seemingly hurt the team although newcomer Matthew Tkachuk has fared well thus far as he paces the team with 56 points. Relieving interim head coach and Jack Adams finalist last year, Andrew Brunette of his duties also appears to be a mistake early on. The team replaced his position with former Winnipeg Jets bench boss Paul Maurice who signed a three-year deal in June.

The 2023 draft will have lots of elite talent but the Panthers don’t have that to lean on as a consolation prize. The team gave up their unprotected first in this draft to the Montreal Canadiens in the Ben Chiarot deal last March. This move could prove to be costly if the Panthers can’t rebound in the second half of the year.

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Colorado Avalanche

The defending Stanley Cup champs have gotten off to a less-than-stellar start to this campaign as they currently sit just outside of a wild card spot. The team has been riddled with injuries this year as their captain, Gabriel Landeskog hasn’t even played a game thus far. Other key players like Nathan MacKinnon have missed long stretches as well. The Colorado Avalanche are probably also dealing with the “Stanley cup hangover” as the fatigue from a long playoff run oftentimes takes a toll on players in the coming season.

The loss of Nazem Kadri also has taken a big hit on the team. His production and play at both ends of the ice are hard to replace, and the Avs don’t have anyone capable of filling that role on the roster. They will probably be in the market for a quality second-line center at the trade deadline. Some players they could be targeting include Bo Horvat, Jonathan Toews, and Sean Monahan.

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St. Louis Blues

The St. Louis Blues fall from last season is a puzzling one. They were a top-ten team in the league last season and a cup contender. They made it to the second round where they fell to the eventual cup champion. However, this season the Blues find themselves closer to the bottom ten teams than they do to the top ten. Jordan Kyrou struggled mightily to start the year, but had since rebounded nicely and is pacing the team with 42 points. Robert Thomas, Brayden Schenn, Vladimir Tarasenko and Pavel Buchnevich are also all having solid years.

The only stars on this team who have been disappointing are Ryan O’Reilly and Jordan Binnington. O’Reilly has been vocal about needing to be better as he’s managed a measly 16 points on the season. Binnington has also been in the spotlight this season for the wrong reasons. He was called out earlier in the season by his head coach for his on-ice antics and was told to focus more on hockey. Binnington has a sub-.900 save percentage on the year and if the blues are to rebound he and O’Reilly need to step up their play.

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These three NHL teams have disappointed to start the season and haven’t lived up to the high expectations placed on them. The Blues and Panthers have dug themselves a monumental hole to climb out of in the second half. Their chances of making the playoffs are thin, especially for the Panthers who find themselves in a stacked Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division. However, the Avalanche are simply too talented of a squad to miss the playoffs. Expect them to continue to get healthier and bounce back in the second half as they look to regain their Stanley Cup calibre form for the playoffs. Will we see the Panthers, Blues, and Avalanche turn their seasons around and make the playoffs? Only time will tell as we begin the back half of the 2022-23 season.

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