2017-18 NHL Season Recap – Part 3 – Worst of the Season
Worst of the Year
I’m not going to put the Blackhawks here because we’ll briefly touch on them in a bit.
After coming within a game of the Conference Finals, the Oilers and many fans and pundits had high expectations. But reality had other ideas. Cam Talbot was overworked and injured. The Oilers lacked much scoring depth and the defense was still making dumb turnovers in their own zone. And then they traded one of their best players for essentially nothing. More on that below. Connor McDavid still seems a little reluctant to just carry the team but he’s going to have to. He kind of assumed that role down the stretch scoring 19 points in his last ten games. It’s hard to say how the team will do this year but McDavid is another year older and so is the young defense.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs Philadelphia Flyers
There were so many it’s hard to pick one but this series was definitely the worse. Normally, the Flyers vs Penguins features a lot of mostly close hard hitting action. Instead, we were treated with blowouts in five of the six games. The first four games weren’t even remotely close. You really thought after each team blew each other out, you would get a decent Game 3 but that was not to be. Game 5 was the only game that was watchable. Probably the most disappointing series in some time. But maybe all these lopsided playoff games weren’t all that surprising. Despite how close the standings were, there were a lot of lopsided regular season games.
Worst Game 7
Winnipeg Jets vs Nashville Predators and Washington Capitals vs Tampa Bay Lightning
The Jets vs Predators series was pretty bad overall and the runner up to the worst series as there were only two games that were close but the Game 7 was dreadful. There’s nothing worse than a blowout Game 7 except for one that’s over quickly. And that pretty much sums up the Jets vs Predators. It was 2-0 early and then the Predators did score but the Jets answered back quickly. It really felt more like 4-0. Speaking of 4-0… The Capitals vs Lightning wasn’t officially over until the second but after the Capitals scored only a minute in, you just knew it was already over. You would think you could score at least one goal in a Game 7 at home.
Worst idea that is still happening
I wrote about this last year but it’s still happening so here we are again. The top two teams in the east and the top two teams in the west both met each other in the second round. This is something that should not be happening. This isn’t fair and I don’t enjoy watching the same series every year. Luckily there was enough shuffling in the standings where that didn’t happen but that usually isn’t the case. The bigger issue is Gary Bettman doesn’t think it’s a problem and he doesn’t want to change it. But he really should. There’s a good chance the top three teams in the east will all be in the Atlantic Division next season.
I wrote about some of these trades last year being epically bad before the results were in and that turned out to be true for all of them. Hard to imagine there are that many general managers making that many bad trades.
This trade was so bad it’s hard to imagine it happened. In theory, I don’t have a problem with trading Hall. The Oilers needed defensive help and the most valuable asset they had that wasn’t a center was Hall. The problem was everyone knew this. They knew Chirelli didn’t draft him so he wasn’t attached to him. They also knew he was desperate for a defenseman and he’s prone to making bad trades. See Seguin, Tyler. This had all the makings of an epically bad trade and trading Hall straight up was just that. Especially when it’s just for Adam Larsson. Someone who the Devils didn’t even care if they lost. It’s okay to trade players straight up when they are at the same level but that obviously wasn’t the case here. The Oilers should have received the haul the Rangers got for Rick Nash. The most puzzling thing about this trade was the Oilers were supposed to acquire a veteran defenseman in his prime to help develop their young defensemen. Not get yet another defensive prospect. The worse part is it doesn’t even matter if Larsson becomes a decent starter, he’ll probably never be a star, because it’s such a bad trade for so many different reasons. And we didn’t even mention Hall was named the MVP of the NHL literally the season after he was traded.
This trade worked out for neither team. As I predicted the Canadiens neutered Drouin and the Lightning picked up a pick that’s worthless to a team trying to win now and a young defenseman they don’t really need. While I know Drouin was a headache early on he seemed to mature and he is definitely a skilled playmaker which you need. The Lightning could have really used him against the Capitals. As for Drouin on the Canadiens, if he doesn’t get it going this season he never will. I wouldn’t be surprised if he wants out of there soon. And I wouldn’t blame him.
This was part of the Blackhawks strange plan to get older by reuniting the old core. Normally you would never give up your top young prospect but the Blackhawks thought it was a good idea. The strangest part is they didn’t get anything they couldn’t have acquired for much cheaper. Brandon Saad, the prime target, has never been more than a fifty point scorer and he didn’t even hit that when he came back. This trade didn’t work obviously as the Blackhawks didn’t even make the playoffs. Of course the primary factor was Corey Crawford being injured but this really didn’t help. You could already see the Blackhawks on the decline when they got swept by the younger, faster and hungrier Predators. I’m not sure how anyone there could have seen that playoff series and thought the solution was to get older.
This was your classic secure a veteran for a few months for a desperate attempt to win a Stanley Cup by mortgaging your future. A player who wasn’t really know for his playoff savvy either. The Bruins didn’t get past the second round and Nash scored three goals in twelve games. Not bad but really not worth what they gave up. In fact, I’m sure Ryan Spooner, one of the many things they gave up that wasn’t draft picks, could have scored three goals in that many playoff games too. Nash probably won’t even play at all next season and if he does, it won’t be for the Bruins. Just an absurdly bad trade.
Playoff Team with Problems
This is likely the end of the Anaheim Ducks six year playoff run. Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry aren’t getting any younger, the defense is pretty bad without Cam Fowler and Ryan Kesler is half of what he used to be. They basically have only Richard Rakell, Fowler and John Gibson and that’s it. Three players does not a team make. The last five drafts haven’t been very good for the Ducks either. The only player that might end up being really good from those picks is Ondřej Kaše and he was a seventh round pick. The Pacific division is as strong as it has ever been so the Ducks will be riding the bottom for a while. And if they don’t start drafting better, it might be for a really long time.
Author: Alex Mueller
Alex Mueller graduated from Temple University with a minor in journalism over a decade ago. He’s been writing about NHL hockey, on and off, since the Fall of 2009. He’s written for Pucking Awesome, the Checking Line and now Hockey Recaps. He played goalie at San Diego Ice Arena. His first novel, Bobby Sterling vs Truth, is available on Amazon now.