Apr 7, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Flyers center Claude Giroux (28) looks to pass the puck against New York Islanders defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky (11) during the second period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
#30) New Jersey Devils – the offensively challenged Devils are the anchor of my NHL overtime rankings. The lineup of Adam Henrique and Mike Cammalleri at forward, Adam Larsson on defense and Corey Schneider in goal is reasonable enough defensively, but if you thought Schneider was a piñata last year hide your eyes when the Devils get to overtime.
If the Devils play 20 overtime games as they did last year, Schneider will either wind up gassed or hurt. The Devils don’t have the horses to keep up at a fast-paced, three-on-three game.
#29) Arizona Coyotes – The Coyotes are likely bad again this year by design but have a tremendous future ahead of them with the young talent they are acquiring. That won’t help them this year. Mikkel Boedker is coming off an injury, Shane Doan is productive but 38 years old, and Mike Smith just had the worst season in his career.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson will win a few NHL overtime games himself, but he isn’t enough to keep the Coyotes from losing more than they win in extra hockey. I don’t expect a repeat of last years 10-8 overtime and shootout record.
#28) Toronto Maple Leafs – this is what happens when a team is bad, then plans to be bad by trading their best scorer and taking a long-term view of the future. James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak are most likely to start NHL overtime, but will either player still be with the Leafs by October? Hard to tell with the team in flux.
Morgan Reilly is more likely to be the lead defenseman with younger legs than Dion Phaneuf, and Jonathan Bernier still hasn’t quite become the élite goaltender Toronto thought they got from the Los Angeles Kings. A lot of that is the team in front, which won’t get better as the season goes on. That could be good news as the Leafs should lose plenty in regulation this year as the rebuild begins.
#27) Boston Bruins – another storied franchise having a transformative offseason. I’m convinced anyone on the Bruins roster could be had for a price, including Tuukka Rask and Patrice Bergeron. Those cornerstone players are less likely to go so look for them on-ice in NHL overtime.
Brad Marchand and Torey Krug round out the starters, which will make this Bruins foursome tough to score on. They will not want to play another 27 games which go to overtime, which they managed to do with a losing record last year (13-14).
#26) Carolina Hurricanes – I have Carolina low in the rankings more based on inexperience on the blue line and questions in goal. The Hurricanes will be fast putting sniper Jeff Skinner and defenseman Justin Faulk on the back side, though that could easily be Elias Lindholm. In either case both players are still growing at the NHL level and may get exposed with more ice to work.
Having a veteran presence in Eric Staal helps steady some of that. Is Eddie Lack ready to take over for Cam Ward? The uncertain situation in goal won’t help short-term, but this is a team that could move up as the season moves on. There is plenty of talent and speed for NHL overtime here but questions need answered as the season goes on.
#25) Philadelphia Flyers – the Flyers will send out a potent offensive duo in Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek, but Michael Del Zotto and Steve Mason on the back-end mean Flyers games going to NHL overtime are likely to end quickly, win or lose. This is another team that could rise depending on how the defense improves.
Mark Streit is talented but aging. Young legs in Luke Schenn and Shayne Gostisbehere could emerge to take the lead. The Flyers will not have much trouble putting up points but keeping the other team from doing the same will be a concern.
Next: NHL Overtime: Teams 19 through 24