There have been some surprise teams racing up the standings so far this season. The Ottawa Senators, Florida Panthers, and St. Louis Blues have given their fans plenty to cheer about this year when expectations weren’t very high. So what about those other teams that have gone in the other direction? Teams that turned their fans dreams into nightmares in 2011-12.
Here are the top five biggest disappointments so far this season:
#5 – Los Angeles Kings
The Kings aren’t higher on the list because they are still holding down the last playoff spot in the Western Conference. Despite still being in the playoff hunt, a talented Los Angeles squad still has failed to breakthrough into the upper echelon of the NHL’s elite for the past few seasons. The acquisition of Mike Richards from Philadelphia in the off-season was supposed to take the Kings to the next level. Instead Drew Doughty had a lengthy holdout and got off to a slow start, and the Kings are dead last in the NHL in goal scoring with an average of 2.07 per game.
#4 – Anaheim Ducks
Anaheim closed the 2010-11 season with a 19-9-1 record powering them to a playoff spot. Corey Perry was coming off a “Rocket” Richard and Hart Trophy, so this season looked promising for the Ducks. The team proceeded to get off to a horrendous start however and it cost Coach Randy Carlyle his job. The Ducks big three of Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, and Bobby Ryan haven’t performed up to their usual high standards, and it may be too little too late for a playoff spot.
#3 – Montreal Canadiens
The Canadiens pushed eventual Stanley Cup champion Boston to overtime in game 7 of last year’s playoffs, so there was reason for optimism when this campaign started. A slow start culminating in a P.K. Subban and Tomas Plekanec fight at practice pretty much sealed the fate of the Habs this season. The Canadiens don’t have single player with 50 points and players like Scott Gomez, well, let’s be nice and say haven’t contributed much.
#2 – Tampa Bay Lightning
Tampa Bay was one goal away from reaching the Stanley Cup finals last year. This year the Lightning sit 12th in the Conference and they are going to be sellers at the deadline with Dominic Moore already gone and Pavel Kubina not far behind. Dwayne Roloson is finally starting to show his age, and head coach Guy Boucher’s defensive system isn’t working as the Lightning are dead last in the NHL in goals against per game.
#1 – Buffalo Sabres
New owner Terry Pegula spent a ton of money over the summer in free agency to try to improve the Sabres. Well it didn’t work. A team that many picked to win their division is now dead last in the Eastern Conference. Goaltender Ryan Miller has struggled, Ville Leino has managed just four goals, and injuries to key players have derailed Buffalo’s season.