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Photo Credit: AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Who had the most disappointing 2017-18 season?

2016-17 was supposed to be the beginning of a dynasty. Led by Connor McDavid, the Oilers had vaulted into a playoff spot with a 103 point regular season.

When things ended in the second round, there was still a great amount of positivity around the organization. They were supposed to go even further this year. As we know, that didn’t happen.

The past 82 games have been incredibly disappointing for Oilersnation, but they weren’t the only team who failed to hit the bar they had set at the beginning of the year.

Is it fair to say the Oilers 2017-18 season was the most disappointing? Let’s take a look.

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CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS

The Hawks had 109 points last season, and this year saw them sink all the way down to 76. Not only did the Hawks miss the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade, they finished seventh last in the NHL.

The end of a playoff streak stings, and seeing the core of the team continue to age certainly adds to the sting of a poor season. The huge contracts they have on the books will certainly limit their ability to improve as well.

But honestly, they won three cups in the past decade and they have so much recent success, you struggle to feel any sympathy for them or their fan base.

BUFFALO SABRES

Where do you even start with the Sabres? They’ve now gone through Jack Eichel’s entry-level contract and still haven’t made any positive strides as an organization.

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Their fans had to endure another basement finish and although they will have the best chance to select Rasmus Dahlin first overall this June, this organization is far from just one piece away.

You feel for Sabres fans because they’ve sat through so much awful hockey over the past six years, and still, they seem so far away from competing.

CALGARY FLAMES

Now, I completely realize that Oilers fans aren’t exactly going to feel pity for their southern rivals, but this past season was all kinds of disappointing for the Flames.

The team thought they had their answer between the pipes and sold a sizeable chunk of their future to shore up their defence. Now they sit with a 36-year-old starting goalie who couldn’t stay healthy this year and no lottery pick.

Things started well, they were three games over .500 when the calendar flipped to 2018 and even rattled off a seven-game win streak to start the new year, but things fell apart quickly.

The team would go on two separate losing streaks of six or more games during the last two months of the season and vanished from the playoff picture. You could argue that collapsing down the stretch stings more than just being bad all season like the Oilers were.

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They head into the offseason with no first or second round pick and as it stands right now, they won’t have a second or third rounder in 2019.

While they had some success, and finished higher in the standings than the Oilers, in the grand scheme of things, you could argue 2017-18 was more disappointing for the team down in Calgary.

OTTAWA SENATORS

This season was all types of disastrous for the Sens. The fact they went from being one-goal away from a Stanley Cup Final berth to 20th in the league in less than twelve months in bad enough, but off the ice, it got even worse.

There was drama around every corner for the Senators organization this season, most of it centred around their owner and it was painful to observe.

While most teams that miss the playoffs go into the offseason with the mindset of improving, the Senators appear to headed towards a complete strip down that will begin with the best player the organization ever had, Erik Karlsson.

Back in September, many considered the Oilers favourites to win the Western Conference and contend for the Stanley Cup. Obviously finishing in the bottom third of the NHL’s standings is disappointing but when you look at the big picture of things, there were organizations who experienced much worse failure this year and don’t have the young core that the Oilers do.

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What say you? Do you think the Oilers had the most disappointing 2017-18 campaign?


  • VK63

    I would say the Flames.
    They spent to the cap. Hooked their wagon to that expensive blueline and an aging tender and got submarined by the PDO gods.
    As a franchise that needs playoff revenue to justify cap spending they went all in with their “Vegas bucks” and got scant return.
    I don’t content that they have to blow it up as the PDO gords are a fickle lot but they will have to address the raise to Matty Mouthpiece, the aging of gio and smith, the cliff that Brodie fell off and the fact that Hamonic is… well… not that good.
    Also.. that building is a revenue wasteland. Its not good in Calgary…. not good at all.

    • Hockey for life

      Lol only disappointment in Calgary is the terribly bad luck. Out shot out played and out shot teams in almost every game last few months. Very promising for flames next year. Hamonic was actually very good last half the year. No problem with himand the price they paid is the going price. Brodie is the only concern. Oilers are forsure worst off. Last year of McDavid elc and they were terrible. If not for mcdavid they would be lucky to have 10 wins. Now he becomes very expensive(though wit worth his money) none the less cap will be issues. Not to mention others were considered Stanley cup favorites where flames were only expected to make playoffs so allot bigger disappointment for Oilers.

      Tkachuk will be signed for a very good contract because he loves it here and BT isn’t Chia.

          • Hemmercules

            I thought they picked up Hamonic because he was both an offensive and defensive Dman. Looking at his stats over the last couple years, he doesn’t really appear to be either. Im actually glad the Oil didn’t pony up for him and they need Dmen badly.

      • Hemmercules

        Shots aren’t everything unless they are quality. The Flames actually did outshoot a lot of teams this year but it would be nice to see the quality/area these shots were taken from.

        Calgary was one line team this year with really good goaltending. If the Oilers had good goaltending I’m sure they would have been neck and neck all season.

        I wouldn’t say either team was more disappointing than the other considering all the picks Calgary ditched and all the guys they signed and weren’t even in the hunt in the final 3 weeks or so. Oil had high expectations but got decimated by sickness and injury early on and could never bounce back. Next year should be interesting. Both teams healthy with good goaltending and they will be back in the show I’m sure.

    • LAKID

      Come on the flames played way over their heads. They have a crappy management group, a really crappy coaching staff and an over rated defense. The team has a below average forward group and sold the farm on on Smyth and Hamonic ( thank you Treliving for stopping Chia getting him). The flames were not and will not be playoffs contenders for a few years, no many years as they have traded away their future.

    • BringtheFire 2.0

      @ VK

      Yup. Also, as it said in the article, at least Edmonton didn’t toy with your emotions, get you all excited, then make you feel like you did after the last episode of LOST.

      Horrible. Just horrible, ugly anger and disaragement.

  • TKB2677

    I think it has to be the Flames. The Flames went all in. I looked up their picks. For 2018, they have no first, no seconds and potentially no 3rd rounder as they have the option to give Arizona either their 3rd this or next season.
    2019. They have no second.

    Not to mention they gave up high picks to get Hamilton. Worst of all, their 2018 first was not lottery protected. Their goalie Smith who had a very good season will be 30 next year. What are the chances he repeats this season? Not good.

    It’s funny, there were A LOT of Oilers fans losing it when Hamonic was traded and felt the Oilers should have picked him up. While not ideal, Russell can play in your top 4 if you had too and he can give you OK mins. He can play both sides and do an OK job at it. He can skate decently, he can move the puck a bit, doesn’t score a ton but has some offense, blocks a ton of shots and is usually healthy. Hamonic can’t skate that well, gives you almost ZERO offense, isn’t a great puck mover, is a 3rd pairing guy now and if a give to miss at least 10 games a year due to injury. Everyone raves about his contract, well it’s 160K less than Russell.

    I am not a Russell fan at all but I would rather have Russell than Hamonic any day and it isn’t close.

    • Hockey for life

      Not an issue. We have a great pipeline right now and great prospects. I know that’s a weird concept for an Oilers fan.

      Really with a complete unbiased opinion the biggest disappointment has to be the sens. 1goal from a Stanley cup final to one of worst teams this year. I have a few Sens fan friends who are so angry they dobt care about hockey.

      • Natejax97

        True the Flames have a good prospect pool, both up front and on the back end. I would have probably made the same bets as Brad did this year. Hamonic was coveted, no doubt about it. The Flames can’t seem to put it all together…yet. Tkachuk will be a great piece and probably the next captain of the team. Gio was great this year and tried his best to drag that team forward kicking and screaming. But the rest of that roster folded the tent for the last quarter of the season, and I have no idea why they did that. They flat out gave up. Flames have talent, not so much on the grit though as a second year player and Gio brought all of that, along with Smith. When Smith and Tkachuk got hurt, they shut out the lights.

        Oilers…whew, it’s finally over. I think the difference is that the disappointment has been going on since October so we are all kind of numb, while the Flames fall off the cliff is more recent, so it’s fresh so it seems more disappointing right now.

        You have to look at next year with a lot of optimism for both the Flames and Oilers, management will make changes and I think they will be for the better.

        Biggest disappointment of the year for me goes to Buffalo, because there isn’t even a sense of optimism with that team.

  • Despite the hype, the expectation in 16/17 was the Oilers might squeak into the playoffs. They exceed that. We should have all dialed that expectation for this past season, especially with no changes in the off season. So instead of a 103 point season last year and being on the doorstep of the conference final, they were expected to have between 90 and 94 points. Wouldn’t have been the biggest drop for a team season to season.

    Chicago on the other hand, with Kane, Toews, Keith and crew with tonnes of experience and skill had the biggest slide season to season.

    Quenneville’s time in Chicago is done. The Oilers beat em by 2 points in the standings. This should be a lesson for the Oilers that big aging contracts even on the best players in the world isn’t a recipe for success unless they are surrounded by up and coming talent mixed with cheap vets.

    The Flames will only get worse as they’ve dried up their future and latched on to aging players who can’t seem to handle a full season anymore.

    The Oilers have Lucic, Russell, and Sekera as their aging boat anchor contracts for the next while. One of them will have to give in to trade or buyout in order for the Oilers to be able to open up.

    I think the biggest disappointment was Chiarelli sitting on his hands in the off season, actually making the team worse, and then expecting a slew of young players to just step up a whole level/line/pairing.

    All this said, this was certainly the most disappointing season for the team as a whole with most of it intact. 2006-2007 was my next choice but Lowe gutted the spirit beyond repair, so that one is not on the players.

  • Dr. Merkwurdigliebe

    The Oilers were terrible this season, yes. But McDavey is still great, and Nuge looks like the answer on LW with Connor for next season. I still believe the Oilers can be contenders next year IF they can plug a few holes by making some shrewd moves and getting the special teams figured out.

  • Eastcoastfan81

    My biased opinion is both Alberta teams. Both teams were expected to do good things this year, both failed miserably at it. I think for both teams this was a season of “if it could go wrong, it did go wrong.”

    But realistically, how can anyone not look at the New York Islanders? This team spent most of the season with a top 3 offense yet still missed the playoffs. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a team play so well in games yet blow 2, 3 or sometimes 4 goal leads as often as they did this year. Sure if we’re going just off preseason predictions they may not qualify, but during the season they have to be one of the biggest disappointments of the year. This has to be the year they fire Garth Snow right?

    • crabman

      The thing with the Islanders though is their problem last year was too many goals against. So they upgrade at forward, trade a top4 D and don’t solve the Goalie problems. On top of that they play in such a tough division. Their season is disappointing but not all that unexpected.

      • Eastcoastfan81

        I can agree with that. I just had the “pleasure” of watching quite a few Islanders games, and seeing them play as well as they did up front only to continue to lose over and over felt so disappointing, even though I wasn’t a superfan. Suppose that’s also a biased opinion as well? HA

  • crabman

    I still believe the Oilers had the most disappointing season. I may be bias because of my love of the Oilers but going from an up and coming team that was projected by many, not myself, to be a cup contender makes them my pick as the most disappointing.

    I think with the Oilers playoff hopes gone by Christmas the Flames had the most disappointing 2nd half.

    Chicago was bound to have a down year at some point. Always needing to send away players because of a cap crunch was going to catch up to them at some point. Kane had his 2 best offensive season with Panarin on his line and when they traded down in offence from Panarin to Saad they also traded away some of Kane’s offence. Add that to losing Hossa and that is a big downgrade in the top6. And Seabrook’s step back hurt as well. But with the constant selling off of good players to get under the cap a bad season was bound to happen eventually.

    Until Buffalo shows any sign of improvement another losing season is no more disappointing or surprising than any other terrible season.

    Ottawa had a Cindarella run last year but under the surface had the same problems with ownership that needs to save money. The selling off of players was bound to happen good season or bad. The team wasn’t all of a sudden considered cup contenders, or even the beginning of what was supposed to be years of competitive hockey, just because they made the conference finals last year.
    I am disappointed for Ottawa and worry the teams future may be in jeopardy if major changes aren’t made from ownership down. They can’t afford to lose the only real draw they have in Karlsson but he doesn’t look like he has a future in Ottawa and at this point neither does the team.

    • Natejax97

      Ottawa – the owner wanted a big name…so he forced a deal for Duchene (that’s just my opinion), and they lost heart and soul guy Kyle Turris. Start there and take the escalator to the bottom floor. They need to let the general manager do his job. Evidence – look at where Colorado got to when they got all straightened out with the distractions. And now they have great draft picks and propects from the trade as well, Turris has been great in Nashville.

  • Anton CP

    Blackhawks:
    So, when almost all Oilers fans are slamming on terrible trades that Chiarelli has done should look at Stan Bowman (and someone actually suggested that the Oilers should replace Chiarelli with Bowman?). Hawks are even in deeper end of cap hell that the only blessing for them is that Hossa’s contract is buried under LTIR or they are bind for 5.2m for 3 years when they virtually have no cap room left. Bowman traded Panarin away for Saad which is puzzling because they are playing the same position with the same among of money. So, Panarin sets career high with 82 points meanwhile Saad has 35…Then, Hjalmarsson for Murphy…Hjalmarsson has an injury ridden season but he is a very efficient defenseman that helped Coyotes to finish the season strong meanwhile Murphy struggled to be consistent and was in and out of lineups. While many are criticized Chiarelli did not have a suitable backup goalie for Talbot that Hawks are in even worst situation. They have nearly 0 goalie depths that when Crawford was hurt that they have about no one to step in. Hawks actually have to use an emergency goalie for a game because they have no one. No matter what, Panarin/Saad trade might have been the worst trade in a long time.

    Sabres:
    Their rebuidling process started really late so they are still about a year or two away from ready. Not much of disappointment that they are going through “process”.

    Flames:
    The best defense in the league?lol
    It is hard to say that the Flames have a disappointing season considering that anyone look at their roster will soon to realize that they are a one-line team. Backlund is not a good second line C, he maybe can score here and there but he does not play much of defense and Sam Bennett (someone who is supposedly better than Draisaitl?lol) is a huge disappointment. Giordano already hit the wall last season and looks like he will continue to trend downward that he will be 35 at the start of next season. One thing I’m glad of is the Flames took Hamonic away from the Oilers to prevent that train wreck coming to Edmonton. Thank you Treliving.

    Sens:
    Last year that they played with tons of positive motivation behind Craig Anderson but this year they are playing with dark cloud hanging over their head. The endless trade rumor behind their captain Karlsson, Phaneuf refused to wave his no trade clause so he can’t be taken by Vegas, trading away their top 2 Cs and got someone who did not live up to the expectation. It maybe a disappointing season but that is what happened to play with emotional boost and suddenly the drive is gone. However that I doubt many would really pick them to repeat the same successes from last season. Not a huge disappointment.

    My choice for the biggest disappointment? Other than the Oilers that I would pick Dallas Stars.

    The team have everything: offense, defense, even goalies and with a very high projection (most to pick them finish the top of division) at the beginning of the season. They supposedly to be the team to beat at Western Conference but that did not happen as they are going to miss playoffs again.

    • Rugbypig

      The Panarin for Saad trade was about cost certainty. Saad is signed for another 3 years (I believe) and Panarin is now going to get a big (More than Saad) raise. Blackhawks did not expect Saad to “fall” off a scoring cliff so . . . . . . make of it what you will.

      • Anton CP

        I don’t know what would they expect out of Saad since the career high of Saad is only 53 points comparing to constantly over 70 points Panarin. It is not anywhere close to be an even trade, and even saying that Panarin will get a raise that it is still well worth it, or at very minimum that Blackhawks should hold on to Panarin for one more season and see if they can get even better return since with 2 70+ points season that Panarin is still way more valuable than Saad can offer.

    • Yeah, good call on Dallas. Benn, Seguin, Klingberg, Radulov, Spezza, Hamhuis, Pitlick!

      You look at the Central now and Winnipeg and Nashville are tops, with Colorado squeaking in, over traditionally strong teams like Chicago, St. Louis, and Dallas. Major shift.

  • Serious Gord

    Oilers were expected by many to go deep into the playoffs this year. They never got even close to being in the playoff range all year.

    Biggest disappointment for most for sure.

  • Big Nuggets

    Oilers – biggest fall from expectatiins

    Sens – franchise in most turmoil, along with terrible.season.

    Flames – most lingering sting from poor season, as they gave up so many draft picks only to fail

    Islanders – Runner up to Sens as franchise.in turmoil if Tavares doesn’t resign

    Buffalo – longest serving basement dweller, but has some hope for the future

    Hawks – Disappointing season but they will be okay, they had bright spots like Debrincat and Shmaltz progressing nicely.