3 Non-Playoff Teams Who Will Make the 2022-23 Postseason

Welcome back to our countdown to the start of the 2022-23 NHL season. In case you missed part one, we shared the three teams that had the most to lose in the upcoming season.

Related: 3 Teams With the Most to Lose in 2022-23 Season

Today we turn our attention to the playoffs. 16 teams saw their 2021-22 season end when the regular season ended. It’s now up to them to find a way to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. However most of them will fall short given how much ground they have to make up.

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Still, we should expect to see a few teams make the jump from outside the playoff picture to qualify. One key move or one key rebound could be the difference these teams need to get in.

Here are the three teams I think make the jump back into the Stanley Cup Playoffs after missing them in 2021-22. The early takeaway from this seems to be teams who are close overcoming some tough circumstances.

Vegas Golden Knights

The key here is going to be goaltending given the recent news about Robin Lehner and his hip injury. He will miss the entirety of the 2022-23 season after having surgery.

It will be up to Laurent Broissoit, Adin Hill and Logan Thompson to carry the load. Questions certainly surround this situation. As good as the rest of the Golden Knights are, prolonged struggles in net will de-rail this team for a second straight season.

However we are still bullish on their chances to at least qualify for the playoffs. Jack Eichel has now had a full offseason to get ready after returning last season from neck surgery. Mark Stone should be ready to go too. When healthy, the Golden Knights are still one of the better teams in the league. Injuries just caught up to them last season.

Jack Eichel Vegas Golden Knights
Jack Eichel is healthy and ready to show everyone how good he still is. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Also don’t discount their new head coach Bruce Cassidy. Think he has something to prove after the way things ended with the Boston Bruins? A new voice and a good team should make the Golden Knights one of the eight teams to make the playoffs from the West.

New York Islanders

Despite their lack of significant offseason moves, this is still a really good team. Having to start on the road for that prolonged stretch in 2021-22 was just too much to overcome.

When evaluating a team’s chances in a season, you look at the key positions. The Islanders have a potential future Vezina winner in Ilya Sorokin in net. Semyon Varlamov joins him again to make for one of the more formidable 1-2 punches in the league.

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Although there is some question surrounding the defense with the acquisition of Alexander Romanov, their top-three of Ryan Pulock, Adam Pelech and Noah Dobson is still solid. And the Islanders still have a very serviceable top-six led by Mathew Barzal and Anders Lee.

The biggest question here will be how new coach Lane Lambert does in replacing Barry Trotz. GM Lou Lamoriello said a new voice was needed. If the players can buy into Lambert’s system, they should be in the thick of the playoff race. In a tough Metropolitan Division, the Islanders still have enough pieces to make the final 16. We think they just slip in at the end.

Vancouver Canucks

Our Canucks’ contributor Matthew Zator did a nice job summarizing why the team is in a position to surprise people in 2022-23 by making the playoffs. Certainly putting any J.T. Miller rumors to rest is a big deal.

In terms of depth down the middle, not many teams can throw three quality centers at you like the Canucks can with Miller, Elias Pettersson and Bo Horvat. Then when you consider the offseason they’ve had, they’re quietly one of the winners of free agency.

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Adding Ilya Mikheyev and then winning the Andrei Kuzmenko sweepstakes gives the Canucks good depth on the wings along with players like Brock Boeser and Conor Garland. With Quinn Hughes and Oliver Ekman-Larsson the key pieces on the blue line and Thatcher Demko in net, the Canucks have good pieces throughout the roster. In a Western Conference that doesn’t seem as stacked as the East, they have as good of chance as anyone to break through.

Don’t sleep on Bruce Boudreau’s impact on this team. Having him for a full season will do wonders for the Canucks. They are setup to be one of the most fun teams in the NHL in 2022-23.

Bruce Boudreau Vancouver Canucks head coach
Bruce Boudreau should have a major effect on the Canucks in 2022-23. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

Also considered: New Jersey Devils, Ottawa Senators, Buffalo Sabres, Columbus Blue Jackets, Seattle Kraken, Winnipeg Jets and Detroit Red Wings.

The Golden Knights still have the potential to be a top team. The Islanders can be too. And the Canucks quietly have one of the more solid teams out there. It’s for these reasons why we think these three teams will make the playoffs in 2022-23 after missing them in 2021-22. Stay tuned as we will soon share the three teams that made the playoffs last season that will miss them this season.