This season of hockey is going to be a crapshoot. We all knew that well in advance. However, we do know which teams are going to be around the top and which teams will be plugging away at the bottom. These, according to popular opinion, are the bottom five teams who will be fighting for the first overall pick.30. Washington Capitals
Taking up the bottom is the lowly Washington Capitals. Oh, how the might have fallen. Gone are the days of Juneau, Bondra and Iafrate and of course the one fluke wonder Jim Carey. Now they have Ovechkin, a disgruntled defenseman and a disgruntled goalie. They have a team much like the Pittsburgh Penguins a couple of years ago, except minus Lemiuex. Twenty guys who aren’t striking fear into the hearts of anybody, not even their AHL affiliates. It could be worse though… wait, no sorry check that, I’m wrong. The just got hosed by Carolina six nothing and couldn’t stay out of the penalty box. I’d calculate their odds to win the cup but my calculator doesn’t have that many digits…
29. Buffalo Sabres
There are two scary divisions in the NHL right now, the Northwest and the Northeast. Buffalo is jammed into the Northeast and it will be a dogfight to gain ground. Buffalo used to have one of the best lines in hockey with Hawerchuk, LaFontaine and Mogilny. Now? Not so much. Don’t count this team out though; they could be the sleeper hit of the year. They have a tremendous amount of good solid prospects, some of who are just about ready to break out and three of which are goalies. Imagine Buffalo if one of those three turns out to be the next coming of Hasek, a Hasek to turn the fortunes of the team around, brings Buffalo back to its former glory and, for Christ sakes, only retires once.
28. Minnesota Wild
The other super tough division is the Northwest were Minnesota isn’t expected to make much of a splash. A team that defines what it is to trap, clutch and grab there may be some serious growing pains heading into this next year. It’s weird that their hockey team is going to stink the big one this year, Minnesota is the self proclaimed hockey capital of the USA! They actually have a lot of fans. Disappointed fans, but fans none the less. Here’s hoping they can adjust to the new rules.
27. New York Rangers
I know there is a lot of Rangers fan on this site and I don’t want to start a riot but let’s face it, the long and the short of it is that the Rangers are in a rebuilding mode right now and even though they look an awful lot like the Czech national team, they won’t be doing a whole lot this season. If they can get their Czech players interested and get some blood moving through their veins then they have a chance but the usual MO for them is that they have more talent then they know what to do with so they just stop all together. They tend to, albeit not all of them, not have a lot of heart.
26. St. Louis Blues
Pronger is gone. Demitra is gone. MacInnis is retired. Their best player showed up to training camp so fat they suspended him. I have heard reports of being Tkachuk being 25 pounds overweight. I have to tell you, it can’t be that hard to lay off the Doritos when there is 7.6 million dollars riding on it (he has a weight clause in his contract… being fat can be considered a breach of contract if they wanted to go that route). St. Louis is keeping with the old pastime of using other people’s garbage as their net minders (first Chris Osgood, now Patrick Lalime who was ran out of Ottawa). There is a silver lining though; they have some great prospects coming up with Barret Jackman being one of them (assuming his shoulder is finally healthy). None of this hides the fact that this is a team in tremendous turmoil. Rookie coach, new owners… It may take them a while to get back up to speed.