Non-Playoff Teams in the Basement
(San Jose Sharks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Chicago Blackhawks, Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers)
This might seem kind of harsh for a couple of these teams, but this is my group that is either trending down from last season or they’re going to remain near the bottom of the NHL in 2023-24.
As you might notice, I’ve left the Predators out of this group because despite being heavy sellers, I don’t think they’re doomed for a long and painful rebuild like some of these other non-playoff teams.
The San Jose Sharks might be the worst team in the NHL. I don’t see any clear direction that this team is going in and they lack any noticeable strengths with the exception of possible 2023 Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson.
Tomas Hertl is their centerpiece, but outside from him, it’s a lineup that lacks any star power that can get them out of inept purgatory.
The Blue Jackets faded badly this past season and they’re hoping they can land the top draft pick and draft Connor Bedard to save them. They’ll draft a quality first round pick regardless, but they’re a ways off as well.
The Blackhawks are knee deep in a rebuild that doesn’t seem to be showing much promise to shift in a positive direction anytime soon. Again, they need Connor Bedard badly.
The Canadiens and Flyers are two teams that weren’t quite as bad as the others in the standings, but are trending downward and are probably in store for ugly 2023-24 campaigns.