The mushy middle is the worst place to be in the NHL – too bad to make the Stanley Cup playoffs but too good to be compensated with a first overall pick. No team wants to be there.
Sadly, there will always be a mushy middle. That’s just how it works. At least until we stop rewarding the worst teams with the best pick and get rid of the entry draft altogether. Both are obviously controversial takes that I have seen little support for, but I hold steadfast to that opinion.
Anyways, enough of my wild takes on the NHL. Let’s look at what sides are the “saddest” in the league.
Just to be clear, I’m looking at a team’s chances of making the playoffs from our playoff picture piece and their odds to pick first in the 2023 NHL Draft, which can be found at Tankathon. I’m also looking only at teams that are currently in a wild-card spot or below it, for what should be obvious reasons.
NHL Sadness Rankings
|NHL Team||Chance To Make Playoffs||Odds To Pick 1st|
|New York Islanders||76%||0%|
|Detroit Red Wings||1%||6.0%|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||0%||13.5%|
|St. Louis Blues||0%||5.0%|
|San Jose Sharks||0%||25.5%|
What we’re looking for is the lowest combination of the two columns. That’s where you’ll find the saddest NHL teams in the league. I’ve spared you the pain of having to do the math yourself. Here are the bottom five clubs with their combined percentages:
- Buffalo Sabres: 1%
- Ottawa Senators: 1%
- Vancouver Canucks: 3.5%
- Washington Capitals: 4%
- St. Louis Blues: 5%
NHL Sadness Ratings: Saddest Of Them All
Most fans of these five franchises will know what I mean about sadness ratings and they’re likely battling online for the distinction of being called the saddest of them all. For some reason, NHL fans love having the honor of calling themselves the worst.
I blame the draft for rewarding this kind of thought. Sorry, my wild NHL takes are making an appearance again.
Buffalo Sabres Sadness Rating
The Sabres are set to miss the playoffs for the 12th year in a row, with their last playoff appearance coming in 2010-11. The Sabres have to be one of the saddest organizations in the league. I feel bad for their fans right now.
Maybe next year they can break the second-longest active playoff drought in sports. Maybe.
Ottawa Senators Sadness Rating
The Sens haven’t made the postseason since their appearance in the Eastern Conference final in 2016-17. And they’re going to miss out again this year.
Hey, at least they have Tim Stutzle. The German should have gone No. 1 overall in 2020 based on what we know now. So that’s a win for the Sens.
Timmy Stutzle is dancing out there pic.twitter.com/T7RmU1k7tJ— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) January 4, 2023
Vancouver Canucks Sadness Rating
What are the Canucks doing? They were supposed to be #BadForBedard but since the trade deadline, Vancouver is the best team in the NHL with 20 points from a possible 24, sporting a 10-2-0 record and a +18 goal differential.
They have no hope of making the playoffs with 12 points to make up in nine games left on their schedule and are basically out of the Connor Bedard sweepstakes. I don’t know how they perform “major surgery” without the help of Bedard.
Jim Rutherford tells reporters in Vancouver that he's "disappointed" with the job he's done.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) January 16, 2023
Says he initially thought "minor surgery" would be needed on the #canucks, but now views it as "major surgery."
Washington Capitals Sadness Rating
The downfall of the Washington Capitals has begun. Evgeny Kuznetsov wants out and now they’ve traded away some of their core pieces. Not to mention they were the oldest team in the league and looked it through the entire season.
But hey, maybe defenseman Rasmus Sandin and his 12 points in 11 games for the Caps will be a game-changer for them next year? Because the draft certainly won’t be.
St. Louis Blues Sadness Rating
The Blues tried to go for it with a disgruntled core. I commend them for trying but it did not work out.
Missing the playoffs for the first time in five years and for the first time since winning the Stanley Cup isn’t something this fan base is used to. So I’m sure they’re feeling mighty sad holding only a five percent chance of ending the season with anything.