Part 1: Stanley Cup Winner Recap and NHL Awards
Part 2: Best of the Year
Part 3: Worst of the Year

A thing you never want to happen

Jay Bouwmeester collapses on the bench from cardiac arrest in the middle of a St. Louis Blues vs Anaheim Ducks game in February. The game was canceled, and the remainder was played the day before the season was suspended due to COVID. Bouwmeester hasn’t played since and probably won’t again.

Disappointing Team

Edmonton Oilers

After coming within a game of the Conference Finals, the Oilers had two playoff-less seasons. Before making it again this season with the fifth seed. Playing a rebuilding Blackhawks team who was just happy to be there, they only won one game. They didn’t play horribly, but this isn’t what you want happening at this point in Connor McDavid’s and Leon Draisaitl’s career—especially playing in your home building. I’m not sold on Mikko Koskinen as their goalie. They did get more scoring depth this season, but they’re still a winger away. Their young defense did get another year of experience. I think it will soon be a strength of their team.

Worst Series

Carolina Hurricanes vs New York Rangers and Colorado Avalanche vs Arizona Coyotes

Two series stood out. The Hurricanes vs Rangers series was fairly lopsided. It was pretty evident the Rangers didn’t belong in the qualifying tournament. They were the only team to be swept, and there were 23 series. Speaking of teams who didn’t belong, the Coyotes demonstrated that against a far superior team in the Avalanche in the first round. It’s never a good look when you lose 7-1 twice in a series.

Worst Game 7

New York Islanders vs Philadelphia Flyers

This series wasn’t bad, but you got the feeling the Flyers didn’t have a chance to win until they won back to back overtime games to tie the series 3-3. But when the Islanders scored two goals in under four minutes in the first period of Game 7, you knew this wasn’t going to be pretty. The Islanders tacked on another in the second before scoring the empty-net goal in the third. Despite being the number one seed, The Flyers didn’t play very well in the playoffs. But they’ve made tremendous progress in one season. Their future looks bright.

Worst Trade

Taylor Hall

Hall is back here again. Only it’s never about Hall. This time it’s about the New Jersey Devils who were so delighted to have him on their team, they said they would make him the centerpiece. He even won the Hart Trophy playing for them. Then four years later, he’s traded to the Coyotes. Who rented him for a few months, and now he’s on the Sabres. Hall will be one of those really talented players who ends up playing on many teams for a lot of weird reasons. I think the Devils could have used him. They have a bunch of young forwards who would have benefited mightily from playing with someone like Hall. The Coyotes are also dumb because they gave up a lot to lose in the first round of the playoffs and not retain the player they traded for. Not great long term thinking. Just an idiotic trade by everyone involved.

Playoff Team with Problems

Toronto Maple Leafs

It feels like the Maple Leafs are permanently here, seeing how they can never win a playoff series. It’s been four years in a row now. They drew the short end of the straw in the other seasons, but you felt they could have beaten the Blue Jackets in a series where all the games were in their own building. But alas, they could not. You can cut them some slack because it was a weird season, and they changed coaches. But until they learn to play better defense and one of their young players steps up, I’m looking at you Auston Matthews. They aren’t going anywhere. Matthews did step up in a must-win Game 4 against the Blue Jackets with an overtime goal and two assists. But he failed to show up in the deciding Game 5. He’s capable, but he lacks consistency.

Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins find themselves back here after a long absence. They’ve reverted to the same way they played before they won their back to back Stanley Cups. Shaky goaltending, lousy defense, and players that can’t generate their own offense. I realize Phil Kessel is a jerk, but it would have been better for Evgeni Malkin and him to try and patch up their differences. He lasted four seasons. Was Malkin really not able to take him anymore? Goalie Matt Murray nosedived and is now gone. He also only lasted four full seasons there. Surprising, considering how hot he started there. Tristan Jarry now needs to sustain his hotness. There’s still enough talent here to fix it, but they’ll need to do it quickly. Malkin’s and Sidney Crosby’s window is closing. MuellerSeason RecapsAnaheim Ducks,Arizona Coyotes,Auston Matthews,Carolina Hurricanes,Colorado Avalanche,Edmonton Oilers,Evgeni Malkin,Jay Bouwmeester,Matt Murray,New Jersey Devils,New York Islanders,New York Rangers,Phil Kessel,Philadelphia Flyers,Pittsburgh Penguins,Stanley Cup,Taylor Hall,Toronto Maple Leafs,Tristan Jarry
Part 1: Stanley Cup Winner Recap and NHL Awards Part 2: Best of the Year Part 3: Worst of the Year A thing you never want to happen Jay Bouwmeester collapses on the bench from cardiac arrest in the middle of a St. Louis Blues vs Anaheim Ducks game in February. The game...