With the NHL season set to start next month, here’s a look at who could be left behind in the standings:1.
New York Rangers: Injuries are a major factor, with the team coming off a disappointing 10-day road trip to New Jersey and a five-game road trip that saw them win just one of their final seven games.
But the Rangers could use some help after they went 0-3-0 in their last 11 games and dropped their second straight.2.
Ottawa Senators: With Erik Karlsson playing well again, the Senators have the luxury of playing three games in seven days, which is probably what they need to get their legs back in gear.
But they could also use some stability with their goalie situation, as they’re currently 1-1-0.3.
St. Louis Blues: With Alex Pietrangelo back from a lower-body injury, the Blues could use a boost at the position, which they’ve had a hard time with.
However, if they can’t find any consistency, it would be nice to have Pietranson in the net for some games.4.
Chicago Blackhawks: The Blackhawks need some more stability with the goaltending situation, but the lack of depth at that position could make them vulnerable if things don’t go their way in the early going.5.
Detroit Red Wings: With Henrik Zetterberg on the mend, the Red Wings are probably looking at some changes to the depth chart, and with Michal Neuvirth out for a few games with a shoulder injury, there’s a chance the team could go without him for a bit.6.
Minnesota Wild: While their playoff hopes have been put on the back burner for the past month, the Wild are still looking for a spark in goal, and the fact that they’ll play five games in eight days could be a good sign.7.
New Jersey Devils: They’ve been struggling for years with injuries to players like Ilya Kovalchuk, Martin Brodeur and Chris Pronger, and now they’ll have to wait to find out if they have the right guy for the job.8.
Anaheim Ducks: The Ducks could be in trouble if not for the goaltenders they already have.
They’ve already had a rough start to the season, with a 2-0 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday and a 5-1 loss to Nashville on Tuesday.9.
Colorado Avalanche: The Avs have lost five of their last seven games, but they’ll get a chance to get some help on the blue line with Matt Duchene back.10.
Washington Capitals: The Capitals might be on their way out after losing Alexander Ovechkin to a hip injury, and if they do lose him, it could be tough to find any depth at the other end.11.
Pittsburgh Penguins: They’re currently sitting in fifth place in the Metropolitan Division, but a win over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday would push them up to fifth, and a loss would leave them just four points back of the Central Division-leading Blackhawks.12.
St Louis Blues.
The Blues are a playoff team and will probably be playing four games in six days, but losing the first two would be a major blow to their chances.13.
Tampa Bay Lightning: They have a chance of getting some stability in goal with Anton Stralman back in the lineup, but there’s been no shortage of injuries in the last three games and they’ve already lost three of their past four games.14.
New Hampshire Huskies: The Huskies are coming off back-to-back wins against Maine and Northeastern, and they should have a better chance to go with the two-game sweep over Northeastern than they did against the Wildcats.15.
Buffalo Sabres: The Sabres could be looking to get a boost with Nikita Zadorov returning from a back injury and the return of Connor Hellebuyck.
However it would probably be a stretch to say they’re going to get him for any of the four games this weekend.16.
Carolina Hurricanes: The Hurricanes are a top-10 team in the Atlantic Division, and their offense has been pretty good since the return from a four-game losing streak, but injuries to Nikita Kucherov, Anders Nilsson and Anders Nilssen could be an issue going forward.17.
Arizona Coyotes: The Coyotes could be out of the playoffs this weekend, but their defense could be the main factor in getting them back into contention.18.
St Peter’s IceCaps: The IceCals could be playing three consecutive games in the second round, but that would put them at the top of the East, and could make the playoffs even more difficult.19.
Buffalo Bills: The Bills are likely to be in the playoffs for the second straight year, and while the offense could be able to get going in the right direction, they need a couple of goaltenders to play well in the first round.20