NHL Teams with Little Hope Left in 2013-14 After the Trade Deadline

Allan MitchellFeatured ColumnistMarch 7, 2014

NHL Teams with Little Hope Left in 2013-14 After the Trade Deadline

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    The trade deadline has passed, and for the sellers, the rest of the season offers little in the way of an appeal. Fans can look forward to minor-league call-ups, seeing their favorite players reach milestones or seeing their team show positive signs for next season.

    It's a small consolation for the finality of another playoff miss. For some fans, their knowledge of the NHL entry draft will be cemented by June. Any fan would trade that for a chance to see their team in the postseason.

    Here are eight NHL teams who are in next-year country.

8. Vancouver Canucks

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    What went wrong? The Vancouver Canucks fell on hard times this season. A combination of injuries and a season-long scoring slump put them under a tremendous amount of pressure to make the playoffs.

    What happened at the deadline? Vancouver shocked the hockey world by trading Roberto Luongo. It's a good long-term move, giving the team more cap freedom, but it casts a pall over the 2014 playoff chase.

    What's ahead? The Canucks' management will say all the right things, but this race is close to being over. Only an immediate and sustained winning streak can save Vancouver this year.

7. Carolina Hurricanes

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    What went wrong? The Carolina Hurricanes could not find consistency early in the season and were well down the standings on New Year's Eve. They were never able to recover, and their 3-7 run leading up to the deadline put it all away.

    What happened at the deadline? The Hurricanes dealt LW Tuomo Ruutu to New Jersey Devils for C Andrei Loktionov and a conditional 2017 pick.

    What's ahead? GM Jim Rutherford will be active in signing college free agents, and the club will scout heavily for the 2014 draft. This was a disappointing season for Carolina. They will probably make significant changes this summer.

6. Nashville Predators

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    What went wrong? Pekka Rinne's injury had a major impact on the Nashville Predators this season. His progress was slow, and the team was unable to adequately cover the loss.

    What happened at the deadline? Nashville said goodbye to its original draft choice, David Legwand. As John Manasso from NHL.com explains, the deal comes as a result of the organization trying to protect itself against losing impending free agents for nothing.

    What's ahead? The Predators aren't completely out of the race, but the current three-game losing streak has put them into a very difficult situation.

5. Calgary Flames

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    Tom Mihalek/Associated Press

    What went wrong? The Calgary Flames weren't expected to contend this season, but they have given an honest effort every night. The reward is 27th overall, and the club is looking to finish well.

    What happened at the deadline? Calgary dealt two players but was unable to get value for UFA Mike Cammalleri. Eric Francis from the Calgary Sun reports the trades sending away Lee Stempniak and Reto Berra gave the Flames something positive to talk about after the deadline.

    What's ahead? The Flames are going to get a good, long look at their minor-league players at the NHL level, while preparing for the draft and free agency. There's a sense next year will be better.

4. Buffalo Sabres

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    LM Otero/Associated Press

    What went wrong? The Buffalo Sabres have endured a chaotic season in 2013-14. The club's poor season meant a busy trading period for new GM Tim Murray.

    What happened at the deadline? The Sabres made three trades and claimed Cory Conacher off waivers from Ottawa. The details are described by Joe Yerdon of NHL.com as the first big step on the way to making the Sabres a contender.

    What's ahead? Buffalo will be active this summer, improving the roster through free agency, trades and the draft. The trade-deadline deals give the club an impressive group of young players to build upon.

3. Florida Panthers

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    What went wrong? The Florida Panthers had a bad start and were out of the playoff race by November 30. The club played better in spurts but could never find its way back into the race.

    What happened at the deadline? The Panthers made three smaller deals, sending away Marcel Goc, Tim Thomas and Mike Weaver. The big item was acquiring Roberto Luongo from Vancouver; Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press tells us Luongo thought his contract was unmovable. 

    What's ahead? Florida just acquired an enormous piece of next year's puzzle in Luongo. There's plenty of work to do, but it should be better in the goals-against department next season.

2. Edmonton Oilers

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    What went wrong? The Edmonton Oilers goalies couldn't stop a thing, and the team was buried by the end of November.

    What happened at the deadline? The club added goaltender Viktor Fasth and traded veterans Ales Hemsky, Ilya Bryzgalov and Nick Schultz. The Hemsky trade was difficult for fans, as Hemsky had entertained them since 2002.

    What's ahead? Oilers fans were convinced the 2013-14 season would see a push to the playoffs. GM Craig MacTavish has a lot of work to do this summer. There is much unrest in Edmonton.

1. New York Islanders

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    Kathy Kmonicek/Associated Press

    What went wrong? The New York Islanders spent their season with bad goaltending, never addressing the problem. They also made a very risky trade for Thomas Vanek that blew up, leaving GM Garth Snow in a tough spot. Katie Strang reported at the time there had been no discussion between Vanek and the Islanders about a new deal, and the club was unable to get him under contract.

    What happened at the deadline? The Islanders dealt both Vanek and Andrew MacDonald, netting back prospects Sebastian Collberg and Matt Mangene plus draft picks. The return on Vanek is well shy of the price paid to Buffalo. 

    What's ahead? GM Garth Snow had a poor year. The goaltending remains unaddressed, the club traded valuable picks and it did not receive full price for the expiring contracts. It's going to be a difficult summer in the Islanders' offices.