One fun question at the beginning of each season is to guess which playoff teams will not be making a return trip.
That was the opening question leading off the new SB Nation FanPulse series, that will poll fans on a weekly basis on various temperature-checking questions. For the pilot week of the poll, the New York Islanders are among two Metro teams that the crowd has declared Unlikely To Return.
For the Islanders, that is not too surprising since few expected them to make the playoffs last spring — where they swept the Penguins but were then swept by the Hurricanes — and returned largely the same roster this season.
By far the biggest target of the masses’ low confidence, however, is the Columbus Blue Jackets. You’ll recall they are the team that loaded up at last year’s trade deadline to join multiple pending free agents, and then watched them flee this summer.
This survey was taken mid-win streak — the Isles are riding a seven-game win streak that has them in playoff position at third place in the Metro — but it’s early, of course. The Blue Jackets are two points out of playoff position after 11 games.
The other top five vote getters, the Jets, Stars and Sharks, are each below the wild card line out West.
Something to revisit as the season goes on.
Meanwhile, the initial pilot poll also asked which non-playoff teams from last year will rejoin the postseason this year. People are definitely believers in the hot starts by the Oilers and Sabres. They also selected the Flyers — currently on the outside — as one of the teams to replace the Blue Jackets in the dance:
If you are part of the SB Nation FanPulse surveys, expect to receive the next one (“Week 1”) today.