5 NHL teams that will face a “playoffs or bust” season in 2024-25

The NHL is an unforgiving league for head coaches and front offices, so the old “playoffs or bust” cliche will affect a few teams next year.
Buffalo Sabres v Edmonton Oilers
Buffalo Sabres v Edmonton Oilers / Lawrence Scott/GettyImages
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Seattle Kraken

The Seattle Kraken are the NHL’s version of the Carolina Panthers, if we’re making a sound comparison. In 1996, the Panthers made the playoffs in just their second season and they won their very first playoff game, much like the Kraken won their first playoff series. Ironically enough, the Panthers defeated the defending Super Bowl Champions, the Dallas Cowboys, to win that game, just as the Kraken beat the defending Stanley Cup Champs, the Colorado Avalanche. 

Carolina didn’t have much in the following seasons, and that may be the case for the Kraken, who could not earn a playoff berth in their third year of play. And if the Kraken miss the playoffs for the third time in their first four seasons, plus for the second year running, should they really continue with head coach Dave Hakstol?

The Kraken would have several pending notable unrestricted free agents for 2026 and 2027, meaning if the “playoffs or bust” mantra went into effect for this young franchise, it’s wise for them to make some trades in the summer of 2025 and start rebuilding. 

It would be a painful process for Kraken fans, especially with their rival, the Vegas Golden Knights, thriving. But a rebuild would at least give the fan base more hope than nominal contention year in and year out.