The 2017-2018 season has been in the books for a few weeks now, and there were plenty of storylines. After years of struggling to get past the second round, the Washington Capitals won their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. The Vegas Golden Knights had the most historic season for a first year franchise ever. Back in November, I looked at which song described how each team was playing through the first month of the season. We have come a long way since then, and some teams turned their seasons around, while others faltered. While reading this review, be sure to listen to the playlist I created. Here is a song that described every team’s season. This is a two part series. Be sure to check back tomorrow for Part 2!
Anaheim Ducks: “Alright” by Kendrick Lamar
44-25-13, 2nd in the Pacific Division, 4th in the Western Conference, made the playoffs
The Anaheim Ducks have made the playoffs in each of the last six seasons. They have been a really good team in the regular season, but ever since they won the Cup in the 2006-2007 season, they’ve struggled in the playoffs. That continued this season. They finished fourth in the Western Conference but were eliminated in the first round by the San Jose Sharks. Anaheim is a perennial playoff team, yet one that recently hasn’t been able to get over the hump and make it back to the finals. That makes their season just “Alright”.
Arizona Coyotes: “Same Old Song and Dance” by Aerosmith
29-41-12, 8th in the Pacific Division, 15th in the Western Conference, missed the playoffs
Arizona has been downright bad for a long time, and that didn’t change this year. They finished last in both the Pacific Division as well as the Western Conference. They have failed to make the playoffs in each of the last six seasons. For the Coyotes, this year was more of the same.
Boston Bruins: “Hurt” by Johnny Cash
50-20-12, 2nd in the Atlantic Division, 2nd in the Eastern Conference, made the playoffs
The Boston Bruins surprised everyone and played very well, despite the pile up of injuries they had. They finished second in the conference despite suffering the most injuries of any team in the league with 24. This included injuries to key players such as Patrice Bergeron, David Backes, David Krejci, Adam McQuaid, Charlie McAvoy and Zdeno Chara at different points in the season. The Bruins were definitely hurt this year, but they didn’t use that as an excuse. Not only did they make the playoffs, but they were also able to make it to the second round.
Buffalo Sabres: “Lottery” by Kid Ink
25-45-12, 8th in the Atlantic Division, 16th in the Eastern Conference, missed the playoffs
The Buffalo Sabres won the draft lottery, mainly due to owning the league’s worst point total with 62, giving them the first overall pick. If you’re a Sabres fan, it was probably worth all of the struggles they went through because it allowed them to pick the best player in the draft, Rasmus Dahlin, an elite talent with a ton of potential. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets some action in Buffalo this coming season. He is a sure-thing prospect, much like Connor McDavid was a few drafts ago. The season was a complete wash for the Sabres, but that is alright because they got a player with one of the highest upsides in a long time.
Calgary Flames: “Light my Fire” by The Doors
37-35-10, 5th in the Pacific Division, 11th in the Western Conference, missed the playoffs
The Calgary Flames failed to light their fire this season, just a year removed from making the playoffs. This year they had the third worst goal differential in the West with a -30. This team just couldn’t put as many points on the scoreboard as they were letting up. The Flames could just never get their season sparked.
Carolina Hurricanes: “Young and Wild” by Eric Church
36-35-11, 6th in the Metropolitan, 10th in the Eastern Conference, missed the playoffs
The Carolina Hurricanes are the fourth youngest team in the league, with an average age of 25.6. With immaturity comes mistakes. Carolina had a -28 for goal differential, giving up 256 goals while only scoring 228. Despite this, and their youth, they finished 10th in the Eastern Conference – two spots better than last year. This team is definitely on the uptick with their youth, but if this year is any indication, they still may be a few years from competing.
Chicago Blackhawks: “Save Tonight” by Eagle Eye Cherry
33-39-10, 7th in the Central Division, 13th in the Western Conference, missed the playoffs
It was the tale of two seasons for the Blackhawks this past season. Corey Crawford was having a really good season, going 16-9-2 in 28 games played with a 2.27 goals against average and a .929 save percentage. The Blackhawks were right in the thick of things for a playoff spot when on December 27th, the Blackhawks placed Crawford on the injured reserve. Crawford never returned.
Prior to his injury, Chicago was 17-13-5, but after he was injured, they went 16-26-5. Quite a regression, and it revolves around injuries and poor goaltending after Crawford’s injury. He truly was their savior. He saved the night when he was healthy. Chicago’s lack of goaltender depth was their downfall. They began to address that so far this offseason by signing Cam Ward to be the backup next season. The story of the season for Chicago was Corey Crawford saving the night and then the Blackhawks having nobody to save them once he got hurt.
Colorado Avalanche: “The Kids Are Alright” by The Who
43-30-9, 4th in the Central Division, 8th in the Western Conference, made the playoffs
Colorado had to be the surprise of the season. They were the worst team in all of hockey in the 2016-17 season, but they rebounded nicely and earned a playoff spot. They did that all the while with the youngest team in the NHL with an average age of 25 – significantly less than the NHL average of 27.1. Led by the 22-year-old Nathan MacKinnon, who was the fifth leading scorer in the NHL last year with 97 points, the future is bright for this young squad. The kids are certainly alright.
Columbus Blue Jackets: “Deja Vu” by J. Cole
45-30-7, 4th in the Metropolitan Division, 7th in the Eastern Conference, made the playoffs
Stop me if you have heard this before, the Columbus Blue Jackets were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round. They have qualified for the playoffs three out of the last five years, and in back-to-back seasons. In all three occasions, Columbus lost in the first round, twice to the Penguins and once to the Capitals. This season, the Blue Jackets took a 2-0 lead over the Caps, only to lose four straight games, and the series. When it comes to the playoffs, Columbus suffers from Deja Vu.
Dallas Stars: “Lone Star Blues” by George Strait
42-32-8, 6th in the Central Division, 10th in the Western Conference, missed the playoffs
The Dallas Stars have now missed the playoffs in back-to-back seasons after reaching the second round in the 2015-16 season. While this year was better than last, there have been a lot of reasons over the past two seasons that the Stars have been singing the “Lone Star Blues”. If there is any good news for Stars fans it’s that Dallas is now the favorite to land defenseman Erik Karlsson from Montreal. That would be a huge upgrade to the blue line for the Stars.
Detroit Red Wings: “Broken Halos” by Chris Stapleton
30-39-13, 5th in the Atlantic Division, 13th in the Eastern Conference, missed the playoffs
The Detroit Red Wings have missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons and this storied franchise is going through some tough times. Part of the problem is that they were the oldest team in the league last season. They had eight players over 30, and really only one young budding superstar, 21-year-old Dylan Larkin. More and more teams are going with younger and faster teams and that could pose a problem for Detroit if they can’t figure out a way to get more athletic. For now Chris Stapleton said it best when he sang “Seen my share of broken halos, Folded wings that used to fly”.
Edmonton Oilers: “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac
36-40-6, 6th in the Pacific Division, 12th in the Western Conference, missed the playoffs
What a downfall, or should I say “Landslide”, for the Edmonton Oilers. Connor McDavid and company finished second in the Pacific Division and made it to the second round just a year ago. But this season, they finished 17 points out of the second wild card spot. It was a massive landslide for the young team, but so long as McDavid is rocking the orange, white and blue sweaters, the Oilers will always have a chance to make the playoffs.
Florida Panthers: “Outside” by Staind
44-30-8, 4th in the Atlantic Division, 9th in the Eastern Conference, missed the playoffs
It was a heartbreaking end to the season for the Panthers, who were on the outside looking in for the playoffs. They were only one point shy of a wild card spot. Roberto Luongo has found the fountain of youth in recent years. He had a 2.47 goals against average and a .929 save percentage, which is good news going forward for the Panthers who are going to rely on his stability and the veteran leadership next season to over that hump and back to the playoffs. This year though, they were on the outside.
Los Angeles Kings: “King’s Dead” by Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar, Future and James Blank
45-29-8, 4th in the Pacific Division, 7th in the Western Conference, made the playoffs
The Los Angeles Kings made the playoffs. That’s where the good became the bad, and finally the ugly. The Kings were swept convincingly in the first round by the Vegas Golden Knights. The Kings just couldn’t get anything going offensively, scoring a combined three goals in 14 periods of play. The Knights definitely killed Kings in that series. Good news for Kings fans is that management recognized their lack of offense and added free agent forward and scoring threat, Ilya Kovalchuk, to help improve their offense.
Minnesota Wild: “Again and Again” by Dave Matthews Band
45-32-8, 6th in the Central Division, 10th in the Western Conference, missed the playoffs
Minnesota has made the playoffs in each of the last six seasons. This year was no different. The furthest they ever made it in that span was to the second round. Each of the last three seasons they lost in the first round. Again and again [and again] they have lost in the first round of the playoffs. It may have been different had Zach Parise hadn’t gotten injured in game three against the Jets this year, but we will never know. The hope for the Wild is that next year they can stay healthy down the stretch and in the playoffs so maybe they can make a longer run.
Montreal Canadiens: “What Happened” by Sublime
29-40-13, 6th in the Atlantic Division, 14th in the Eastern Conference, missed the playoffs
What the Sports happened to the Montreal Canadiens? Last season they finished first in the Atlantic Division with 103 points. This year, however, they scored just 71 points, a difference of 32 points, which is the second biggest difference in points from 16-17 to 17-18 in the NHL. Like I said what happened? That is the question that Montreal has to ask themselves as they construct their team for next season.
That’s it for Part 1. If you think a song fits better for a team let us know in the comments section. Check back tomorrow for Part 2!