3 Dark Horse Teams That Could Sneak Into the Playoffs

With the season getting closer and closer, let's take a look at three teams  who missed the playoffs last season, but could sneak in this year.

1. Buffalo Sabres
This is operating under the assumption that Sam Reinhart re-signs with the Sabres by the start of the season (which he almost definitely will). Buffalo has been a messy team for years, with one or two big name players surrounded by... absolutely nothing. The Sabres had absolutely zero depth at pretty much every position. Now with the addition of players like Skinner, Berglund, Sobotka, Sheary and Hunwick, the team has a pretty good (if a bit expensive) amount of depth at the forward position and a little help on defence. Not to mention the addition of young, promising players like Tage Thompson, Casey Mittelstadt, and Rasmus Dahlin will make the team very interesting to watch this season. Let's just hope Carter Hutton can play at the level he did last year with the Blues

2. Carolina Hurricanes

The team may have taken a step back by trading away Jeff Skinner for... virtually nothing and losing Elias Lindholm as well. However, the addition of Dougie Hamilton solidifies Carolina's defence as one of the best in the league, at least on paper. If Andrei Svechnikov can have a solid rookie season and Petr Mrazek/Scott Darling can pull themselves together this year, the Hurricanes could take a wildcard spot in a fairly weak eastern conference (Islanders, Rangers, Canadiens, Senators, and Red Wings are all looking pretty weak this year). Also the amount of cap space they have almost definitely means  they aren't done making moves just yet. It's possible they go out and acquire another centre or two before the start of the season.

3. St. Louis Blues
The Blues were a team just shy of making the playoffs last season, and have since bolstered their forward position by acquiring Ryan O'Reilly and signing every free agent forward who's last name isn't Tavares. Tyler Bozak and Ryan O'Reilly really solidify their centre position, and take some of the weight off Brayden Schenn. Wingers Patrick Maroon and David Perron should also give them some scoring assistance for Vladimir Tarasenko (who will hopefully improve on last season and maybe even crack the 40-goal mark again). They did not address their goal-tending situation, so let's just hope Jake Allen can pull himself together and play like he did in 2015-16.

Honorable mentions: Chicago, Edmonton, Calgary, Philadelphia

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