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Friday Poll: Which non-playoff team this year makes the biggest move?

Vegas missed the playoff last year and won it all this year, who can follow in those foot steps?

Vegas Golden Knights v St Louis Blues Photo by Jeff Le/NHLI via Getty Images

After making it look easy in the NHL playoffs this year and steamrolling their way to a dominant and convincing Stanley Cup victory, it might be difficult to remember that last year at this time the Vegas Golden Knights were on the outside looking in. While they were still a pretty good season in 2021-22 (43-31-8, 94 points), they still fell three points short of making the post-season.

At this point, that’s long been forgotten and for good reason with the tremendous 2022-23 that ended up on the top of the mountain. But this example, much like the eighth-seeded Florida Panthers, gives the teams that didn’t make the playoffs this season that the distance between missing it and making it back can be **that close**.

It doesn’t happen every year to go from out one year, to champions the next, but it can happen. Anything can happen when a team qualifies for the playoffs.

Who is the best bet for the non-playoff team that will go the furthest next season?

There’s some up-and-coming teams like Buffalo and Ottawa who could be on the verge of taking the next step in the same way that New Jersey did in 2022-23. On the flip side, there are some veteran teams like Calgary, St. Louis, Nashville, Washington and Pittsburgh who won’t be looking to stay outside of the playoff race for any extended period of time and hoping to bounce-back next season.

Further back in the pack, teams like Columbus are already trying to load up by acquiring Damon Severson and Ivan Provorov before the off-season even has begun. Chicago figures to get a franchise-boosting moment from Connor Bedard and an accelerated rebuild.

Vegas set the road map to go from outside the mix to the very top, can any of these teams follow the example? Maybe, maybe not, but it stands to reason that some non-playoff team will be vastly improved next year. Who do you like the most to do it?

Poll

Which non-playoff team in 2022-23 will make the biggest impact next season?

This poll is closed

  • 53%
    Pittsburgh!
    (508 votes)
  • 23%
    Buffalo
    (219 votes)
  • 5%
    Ottawa
    (57 votes)
  • 3%
    Calgary
    (38 votes)
  • 1%
    St. Louis
    (16 votes)
  • 1%
    Nashville
    (10 votes)
  • 1%
    Washington
    (19 votes)
  • 3%
    Detroit
    (33 votes)
  • 1%
    Columbus
    (16 votes)
  • 1%
    Chicago
    (11 votes)
  • 2%
    Some other rando (PHI, AZ, ANA, SJ, VAN, MTL)
    (25 votes)
952 votes total Vote Now