Recently, SB Nation launched the NHL FanPulse survey to give fans like you the opportunity to weigh in on big questions about the league.
In the most recent round of questions, hockey fans were asked about teams exceeding expectations and, of course, on the flip side of that coin, teams who are not quite living up to everyone’s hopes and dreams.
In terms of disappointments so far in this young season, leading the way are the San Jose Sharks, who gathered 25.59% of the votes. While the Sharks are trying their hardest to climb out of the basement of the Pacific, and their current three-game winning streak is helping them out a ton, they still have a ton of ground to make up. They’d been expected to regress some this year, particularly after losing Joe Pavelski in free agency, but the degree to which they’ve struggled has been a surprise.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are a close second with 23.59% of the vote. They appear to be trying the tactic of “do enough to get into the playoffs and then see what happens”, which has worked for teams like the Kings before. They’re hanging out in the number six spot in the Atlantic, although similar to the Sharks, have been stringing together some wins lately to try to change their fortunes.
This season’s already featured several teams exceeding expectations, but hockey fans aren’t quite sold on most of them. The Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders, Edmonton Oilers, Arizona Coyotes, and Vancouver Canucks were all labeled pretenders, teams that are probably not going to be able to sustain their pace over the course of the season. The Canucks have already shown some signs of regression, losing their last three games, including a poor performance against the also very bad Chicago Blackhawks.
The Hurricanes, though — for once, people really seem to believe in them, with 86.27% of the votes saying that they’re true contenders. The team is still having growing pains, including losing four straight games, and they sit outside of a wild card spot at the moment, but fans — so far — have faith in the Hurricanes to turn it around.
If you want to weigh in on future FanPulse surveys, make sure you fill out this survey in order to receive questions in your email inbox. The next round of questions goes out soon, so just go click on over there right now to sign up.