NHL First Half Disappointments
As we draw closer and closer to the NHL All Star break, lets take a look at the biggest team disappointments in both the Eastern and Western Conferences thus far.
The Buffalo Sabers- Heading into this season the expectations in Buffalo were huge. With the likes of Ville Leino, Christian Ehrhoff and Robyn Regehr added via free agency or trade, many predicted the Sabers to challenge for home ice advantage in the much improved Eastern Conference. As of this writing, the Sabers currently sit in the 11th spot out East with 43 points. The 8th and final playoff spot currently belongs to the Florida Panthers who have 52 points. Can the Sabers, (with 36 games remaining) make up 9 points, while leap frogging two other teams in the process? The talent is their, but their have been no signs of this team breaking through. Expect some major changes leading up to the trade deadline, if this club doesn’t make their run asap.Top center Derek Roy has been the subject of recent trade speculation. Roy still has another year left on his contract. If the Sabers do trade Roy, it will be for a comparable talent, or he’ll be used as the centerpiece for an upgrade. They will not trade their top center for picks and prospects, unless those picks and prospects are immediately flipped as part of a deal for another top line talent.
The Anaheim Ducks- As of this writing, the Ducks are 13 points out of a playoff spot, sitting 13th in the Western Conference with 39 points. While the Ducks have never been mistaken for a team with great depth, they have an outstanding top line of Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan. When you add the ageless Teemu Selanne, Lubomir Visnovsky, Cam Fowler and goaltender Jonas Hiller into the mix, the Ducks look like a playoff team. Despite not having what you would call a very desirable defensive core, with Jonas Hiller in net, this team should still be able to get by. Well after a horrible start that lead to a coaching change, things are starting to turn around for the Ducks. Ever since winger Jason Blake got off the injured reserve list, the Ducks have started playing more like the team that should be a lower seeded playoff club. Now with only 37 games remaining for the Ducks, and four teams to jump over just to catch the 8th seed, does this team have enough time? With their recent hot streak and top line talent falling into form, the Ducks will continue moving up the Western Conference. While making the playoffs is a long shot, the Ducks will continue their winning ways and at least get back into playoff contention.