Now that people are talking playoffs, we'll review the seasons of teams as they're either eliminated from the playoffs or eliminated from playoff contention before the end of the season. Obviously, the last team reviewed will be the one that wins the Cup.
Now the first team to be eliminated from playoff contention: The Edmonton Oilers.
My prediction: At the beginning of the season we figured Edmonton would finish fifth in the Northwest Division and out of the playoffs.
The truth: They were the first team eliminated from playoff contention and are fighting not to finish last in the league.
So what happened?: It was a rebuild year where anything that could have gone wrong did. Yes youth was served and they were able to get many exciting prospects onto the roster, but many of them ended up injured or currently battling injuries (see: Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Sam Gagner, and Theo Peckam.) Leave additional injuries to Ryan Whitney, Ales Hemsky, and Nikolai Khabibulin and you have a not-ready-for-prime-time team being supported by guys who're, for all intents and purposes, supporting players. I don't know why the team was so adamant about not giving Martin Gerber a fair shot in net while Khabibulin got his life together in the minors (probably the money but either way...) but the organization seemed completely committed to losing this season, which is sad because some of those guys on the ice took some significant steps forward, too. Oh, and remember that guy they gave up their first three picks in the 2008 draft over? He's no longer with the club.
So what's next?: Remember the 80's when the two best teams were the Edmonton Oilers and the New York Islanders? 30 years later they're at the opposite end of the spectrum. The difference is that the Islanders improved this season while the Oilers stood pat. The team will be exciting to watch next season, but they're still seasons away from even being a playoff team, let alone close to what they used to be.