Twelve years ago, the Edmonton Oilers and Carolina Hurricane went to game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals and the Hurricanes hoisted their first NHL championship. Since then, both organizations have only made the playoffs once in 12 seasons. The Hurricanes in 2009, going all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals, and the Oilers last year.
The Hurricanes have amassed 972 points over the past 12 seasons, while the Oilers have a league-worst 856. The Hurricanes are in the midst of missing the playoffs for the ninth straight season, but they’ve never been bad enough to get a top pick. They got Jeff Skinner at seventh overall in 2010, Ryan Murphy 12th in 2011, traded their eighth overall pick, and Brian Dumoulin, to Pittsburgh for Jordan Staal, then picked Elias Lindholm fifth in 2013, Haydn Fleury seventh in 2014, Noah Hanafin fifth in 2015, Jake Bean 13th in 2016 and Martin Necas 12th in 2017.
Being just good enough to avoid a top pick, or being really bad like the Oilers (five top-three picks), has proven equally fruitless.
1. Carolina has the longest active post-season playoff appearance drought at nine seasons. Buffalo is next at seven, Arizona is at six and if New Jersey and Colorado make it then Vancouver will be fourth at three seasons. But the Canes aren’t close to longest active streak without a playoff series win.
2. The Florida Panthers haven’t won a playoff series since 1996, and if they don’t win a round this year, it will be 21 NHL seasons. The Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets organization has never won (17 seasons), while Columbus hasn’t won in 16 seasons and the Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t won a series in 12 seasons (they’ve only made the playoffs twice). The Oilers, without question, have been the worst NHL franchise since 2006/2007, but Carolina and a few others have endured a lot of losing as well.
3. The Hurricanes have nine forwards with 12 or more goals, tied with the Rangers for most in the NHL, but they are 26th overall in goals for with 191. The Canes don’t have enough high-octane offensive players to compete. They could really benefit from winning one of the three lotteries and moving into the top-three. They currently own the 11th pick.
4. Some interesting stats courtesy of Elias Sports Bureau. When Connor McDavid scored three points in the third period Saturday in Florida, it was only the second time in his career he’d produced three points in a period. The first time was November 23rd, 2016 against Colorado.
5. More from Elias. McDavid now has 31 third period points this season. He had 34 last year and is the first Oilers players since Jari Kurri in 1989 and 1990 to have consecutive seasons of 30+ points in the third period.
6. At this point, I see the Oilers battling the Blackhawks and Islanders for the seventh, eighth or ninth best lottery odds. Dallas moved up from eighth to third last year. The real lottery battle is at the bottom of the NHL. Buffalo has 58 points while Arizona and Vancouver have 59 and they all have ten games remaining. In their past 15 games, Arizona has picked up 19 points, Buffalo has tallied 15 and the Canucks have nine. You read it here first; Vancouver will finish 31st and have the best odds to win the lottery.
7. I tweeted on Sunday the Flames were done, and last night’s 5-2 loss to the Coyotes hammered home that point. They have fallen apart down the stretch and currently they are without a first or second round pick for the 2018 draft. The New York Islanders own both those picks from the Travis Hamonic trade. The Islanders currently own the ninth and 13th pick heading into the lottery. Best case for them is they finish with the seventh and 12th pick before the lottery on April 28th.. Considering the Winnipeg Jets had lottery protection on the first round pick they gave up for Paul Stastny at the trade deadline, when they were comfortably in a playoff spot, many in Calgary will be wondering why the Flames didn’t, at the very least, get top-three protection for their draft pick. I suspect future trades in the NHL will have that type of protection, similar to what we see in the NBA.
8. In his first 192 NHL games with the Oilers, Predators and Coyotes, goaltender Devan Dubynk was 70-82-24. Then he was traded from Arizona to Minnesota in January of 2015 and he is 130-68-18 as a member of the Wild. Only Washington’s Braden Holtby has more wins since January 2015 than the 14th overall pick in 2004. Dubnyk now has 200 victories in his career.
9. Columbus has won eight in a row. Since March 4th they have gained ten points on Philadelphia, who is 3-5-0 in their last eight, and suddenly the Blue Jackets are tied with the Flyers for third in the Metro division, and are only two points back of Pittsburgh for second place and home ice advantage. I’d love to see the Blue Jackets and Penguins battle again. Those teams despise one another and they’d be a fantastic first round playoff match up.
10. The Predators are playing their best hockey of the season right now. They are 14-0-1 in this last 15 games and they’ve outscored their opponents 59-27. Pekka Rinne is 11-0 with a .950sv% and 1.64 GAA. I’d say he is the favourite to win the Vezina right now. He leads the NHL in shutouts with eight, is tied for the most wins, 40, has the best sv%, .931, of any starter and his 2.21 GAA is 2nd behind Marc-Andre Fleury’s 2.20. At 35 years of age he is having his best NHL season and it coincides with the Preds having their deepest team ever. Can they become only the second western conference team (Detroit 2008 and 2009) in the past 16 seasons to make consecutive Stanley Cup appearances? It is difficult to do, but they are a better than last year’s team.
GAME NOTES BROUGHT TO YOU BY ATB FINANCIAL
Let’s show Vegas something they’ve never seen before—Alberta hockey fans.
Enter the Vegas Breakaway for a chance to win a trip for two to Las Vegas and tickets to a Golden Knights game. Enter to win at atb.com/vegas
Source: Jason Gregor, Verified Twitter Account, 3/20/2018 – 9:00 am MST