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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Detroit Red Wings

Finally, we got another strong playoff contender for 2023-24 in the Detroit Red Wings, who looked as though they would battle for a second or third seed in the Atlantic before they played some bad hockey down the stretch. Like Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams, Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman has had more than enough time to get this right, and he’s been in the position even longer than Adams. 

Regardless of whether the Red Wings end up in the second wild card slot come the 18th, making the playoffs in 2024-25 will better dictate whether Detroit’s successful or not. Failing to make the playoffs for nearly a decade in and of itself isn’t acceptable for any fan base, or a potential one-off. But for one of the best in the league, it’s agony. 

Yzerman must find a way to not only sneak into the playoffs next season, but to clinch earlier and prove that his plan has transformed the Red Wings into one of the league’s better teams. 

Sure, he’s an icon in the franchise’s history and he’s been successful elsewhere as an executive. But if that success doesn’t translate to his preferred franchise, then there is no reason to keep him on board.