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Morning Skate: The Devils and Hurricanes are in rebuilding no-man's land

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Was a playoff run worth it?

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Lace 'em up. Time for the Morning Skate.

* * *


Moment of silence for the teams that missed the playoffs.


Oh, wait. You're right. The season isn't over yet! But we can already guess which handful of tams will miss out by a whisker or two. And a couple of them are squads nobody expected to sniff the postseason. Let's give them their moment in the sun.

New Jersey Devils

Ask any number of pundits in September where they thought the Devils would finish, and most would mention Auston Matthews and the first overall pick. I know I was one of them. A couple of years of peddling aging veterans and a weak lineup needed to end. It was time for the rebuild to start. But a couple of shrewd offseason moves (namely, Kyle Palmieri) have paid off, and they made a decent run at the postseason. Kudos.

Carolina Hurricanes

The Hurricanes were in a similar position, but they've made an improved playoff push on the back of a system built on shot suppression. And they've actually been fun to watch? Jeff Skinner's resurgence hasn't hurt them, either. Trading Eric Staal was a difficult decision, surely, but it also brought them a decent prospect in Aleksi Saarela in a year they were also hunting down the playoffs.

So good for those two clubs. The only problem is they're stuck in rebuilding no-man's land now: outside the playoffs and outside the range of a top ten draft pick.



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