2023-02-07 · 6 min read · NHL/Hockey
Tage Thompson and Bo Horvat

Claus Andersen/Getty Images | The Associated Press

17. Buffalo Sabres
The Sabres are one of the youngest teams in the league with an average age of 26 and they play like it, sitting third in goals per game with 3.7. They are exciting and competitive for the first time in a while, but far from a contender. A major reason for their status as a possible wild card team is Tage Thompson, who is playing at Hart and Rocket trophy level. Thompson has 34 goals and 68 points in 50 games; the same amount he had 78 games last year.
  • Playoff percentage - 42.0%
  • Status - Buyer
  • All-star snub - Alex Tuch: this was easily going to be Rasmus Dahlin before he replaced Tage Thompson at the all-star game. Instead let's go with Tuch who is having a career year, already setting new best marks for points (54) and goals (24).
The Flames are maddeningly inconsistent and prized offseason acquisition Jonathan Huberdeau has failed to play at the level we are accustomed to seeing. The regression from Jacob Markstom is the most worrying factor as shotty goaltending sinks ships. If they can get their goaltending together this team could move up these rankings come the next edition.
  1. Playoff percentage - 60.0%
  2. Status - Buyer
  3. All-star snub - Elias Lindholm: Has been their most consistent skater with 45 points in 49 games and he is good in the circle winning over 55% of his faceoffs.
Huberdeau hasn't meshed in Calgary yet, but the player who went the other way in Matthew Tkachuk has found his place in Florida. Tkachuk is proving last year's numbers were no fluke as he has 66 points in 49 games this year. Despite this the Panthers are not the contender they were last year, and goaltending is the main reason why. Sergei Bobrovsky is not playing like the Vezina candidate he once was, youngster Spencer Knight has failed to prove he's ready for regular NHL duties. In a tough Eastern conference this is likely to prove fatal to their playoff hopes.
  1. Playoff percentage - 15.5 %
  2. Status - Buyer
  3. All-star snub - Carter Verhaeghe: Leads the Panthers 26 goals and is an underrated winger.
The Preds have been better recently, winning three straight heading into the all-star break and 6 of their last 10. Yet this team sits outside their playoff picture three points behind Colorado for the West’s last wildcard spot. They in classic Preds fashion are near the bottom in most offensive categories but have a good defence and one of the league's top netminders in Juuse Saros, making them tough to play. They need to add some scoring if they want to prove they are a playoff team.
  1. Playoff percentage - 41.8%
  2. Status - Buyer
  3. All-star snub - Roman Josi: This guy does it all for Nashville, plays big minutes, leads the team in points and captains the squad; what more could they ask of him.
The Blues can be a tough team to count out as they have had multiple seasons with big turnarounds in recent memory. This year feels different as they don't have the high-end talent of years past and their goaltending is not up to par. The Blues crashed into the all-star break on a five-game losing streak, despite the returns of key contributors Vladimir Tarasenko and Torey Krug; looks like time to sell off some assets for the future.
  1. Playoff percentage - 1.5%
  2. Status - Seller
  3. All-star snub - Jordan Kyrou: despite leading them in points (47) and goals (23) Kyrou was left behind for the all-star festivities, which doesn't add up.
22. New York Islanders
Adding Bo Horvat was a start, but it seems unlikely to be the end of the Islanders moves if they are serious about making the playoffs. The Islanders offence is lacking even with Horvat in town, currently sporting the league's worst power play. Their defence is not worth writing home about either, with them giving up the third most high danger scoring attempts. Their goaltending is a different story as Ilya Sorokin is easily one of the top Vezina contenders so far this season. If they can sneak into the playoffs Sorokin might put on a show. 
  1. Playoff percentage - 21.0%
  2. Status - Buyer
  3. All-star snub - Mathew Barzal: given Brock Nelson and Sorokin made it there is no other choice here. Barzal leads the Isles in assists (31) and is second in points (43)
Well they have looked better than the lottery club they seemed to be early in the season, there is not much reason to think it will last. Since the calendar flipped to 2023 they are 8-4-2 yet are still a bottom feeder with a losing record at home. If not for their improved play in 2023 they would be a few spots lower on this list. They are bottom third of the league in most offensive and defensive stats, on the bright side they have the 8th weakest schedule the rest of the way. 
  1. Playoff percentage - 2.5%
  2. Status - Seller
  3. All-star snub - Travis Konecny: this one was easy as Konecny leads the Flyers with 49 points in 45 games and is on his way to a career season; already having tied his high in goals (24)
24. Ottawa Senators
The Senators were hoping to be a playoff team this year and while it is still possible it feels quite unlikely. Things could be worse as Ottawa feels like a team that is in need of a retooling not a rebuild. The Sens do struggle with consistency and have issues at all areas of the ice but for the first time in a while there is a truly solid core in place.
  1. Playoff percentage - 7.4 %
  2. Status – Buyer
  3. All-star snub - Tim Stutzle: leads the Sens in goals with 28 and is second in points with 49, Stutzle is emerging as a star. Buy stock now.
25. Detroit Red Wings
Like many of the league’s bottom third this team needs to figure out its issues in the crease. The Red Wings started hot but have been headed in the wrong direction as the season has gone on. In 2023 the Red Wings only have 5 wins in 13 games. At least Moritz Seider seems to be breaking out of his sophomore slump.
  1. Playoff percentage - %
  2. Status - Seller
  3. All-star snub - Filip Hronek: This one was tough as the only guy who really deserves it made it in Dylan Larkin. Hronek has easily been Detroit's most valuable defender and has taken a step forward on the offensive end.
26. San Jose Sharks
Outside their surprisingly solid offence and Erik Karlsson’s resurgence there isn't much to be happy about in San Jose. The Sharks are one of the worst defensive teams in the league and have lacklustre goaltending to make it worse. This has combined to cause the Sharks to give up the fourth most goals per game with 3.75. This team should be looking to sell off its top players for a chance to jump start a rebuild.
  • Playoff percentage - 0.1%
  • Status - Seller
  • All-star snub - Timo Meier: Leads the Sharks in goals (28) and is second in points (48).
27. Montreal Canadiens
The Canadiens are pesky but not much else especially with Cole Caufield done for the rest of the year. They give up the fifth most goals per game, while scoring the third least; not a recipe for success. They also have serious goaltending issues as Jake Allen has been one of the worst starters in the league with backup Sam Montembeault not being much better.
  • Playoff percentage - 0%
  • Status - Seller
  • All-star snub - Cole Caufield: before this injury Caufield was breaking out for the Canadiens, he still leads them in goals by 10.
28. Arizona Coyotes
Reasons to be optimistic about the Coyotes are few and far between, least they have Clayton Keller. The Yotes are 3-10-2 since the calendar hit 2023, yet interestingly they still have a winning record at home. At least rookie Mattias Maccelli was a Calder candidate before getting hurt and they have some trade assets, namely Jakob Chychrun.
  • Playoff percentage - 0%
  • Status - Seller
  • All-star snub - Karel Vejmelka: his numbers aren't all-star worthy, but he has been better than expected and surprisingly clutch for the Coyotes.
29. Chicago Blackhawks
It's the end of era for the Blackhawks as they are far from being competitive and long-time franchise stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane seem to be on their way out the door. They score the second least goals per game and are dearly lacking in playmakers. It's time for a rebuild for one of the most successful franchises of the 2010s.
  • Playoff percentage - 0%
  • Status - Seller
  • All-star snub - Max Domi: For the first time since 2014-15 the Blackhawks leading scorer is not Kane but instead Domi, who leads with 35 points.
30. Vancouver Canucks
It's been a difficult season for the Canucks to say the least. With all the Bruce Boudreau drama settled and former captain Bo Horvat on the Islanders, is there hope for a turnaround? Not much as minus their solid offence, which is bound to take a hit without Horvat, there is not much to like about this team's chances. They also sport the league's worst penalty kill by a wide margin, Rick Tocchet has a full plate in front of him with few utensils at his disposal.
  • Playoff percentage - 0.1%
  • Status - Seller
  • All-star snub - Quinn Hughes: A point per game player, Hughes is one of the best playmaking defenders in the league, even if his defensive game has room to grow.
31. Columbus Blue Jackets
It was a solid offseason for Columbus reeling in big fish Johnny Gaudreau, but it hasn't amounted to much on ice success. The Blue Jackets dwell at the bottom of the Eastern conference and have the second worst SRS in the league. Columbus is perhaps best summed up by the fact they have only won four games on the road this season, easily the least in the league.
  • Playoff percentage - 0%
  • Status - Seller
  • All-star snub - Patrik Laine: despite only playing 36 games Laine is tied for the team lead in goals with 14 and is second in points with 31.
32. Anaheim Ducks
It's been a tough season in Anaheim, I doubt most hockey fans can name five players on this team and for good reason. The Ducks score the least goals per game while allowing the most, ouch. To make matters worse they have the league's worst SRS and are short on players that will fetch a haul on the trade market. At least they won three in a row heading into the all-star break and have the third easiest schedule the rest of the way; they need all the help they can get.
  • Playoff percentage - 0%
  • Status - Seller
  • All-star snub -Trevor Zegras: is tied for the team lead in both goals and points, no debate here
Sports Tree Profile

By: Chase Howard


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