I'm going to put it this way...
Ever see a player have a shooting % of like 22 and everybody goes, "Wow this guy is elite!" and then as the season wears on people realize that his shooting % was just really high and that all of the other elements of his game weren't enough to carry exceptional play once those shooting %'s returned to normal?
That's basically this team.
A lot of us can see the writing on the wall and we're being realistic about it. The team's expectations partway through the summer were to make the playoffs, and to a lot of people, on paper this team should have had a relatively easy time doing that (barring defense, which seems to be good as OEL and Poolman look good which were the big question marks).
However, just because you have good players on paper and guys capable of scoring, doesn't mean that your team is going to find consistent success. To be consistent you need a whole bunch of things, such as good overall team work ethic, good coaching, good systems, good skill, a good forecheck, etc.
We lack a lot of things on that list and a lot of it really isn't due to personnel, it's due to coaching, the lines we deploy and how we utilize those players.
People are blinded by this road trip being "good" because of all of the circumstances, but in reality we faced a lot of weak teams. We should have had a good road trip. We faced the bottom of the barrel, except for Edmonton (in which we played quite well in my opinion). Detroit, Seattle, Buffalo and Philly suck. Let's just call a spade a spade. Regardless of whether or not it's their home openers, those teams suck and the level of talent on those teams is far inferior to this team.
I was one of the very very few who called Green a poor coach in his first season here, and slowly but surely people finally started to come around. I'm criticized for being negative, but the truth is this team has a lot of negatives (largely due to coaching) and for me personally, I'm fed up with Green as a coach. This team should be better. We're not short on hard working players, yet our team is consistently out-worked. We're not short on guys who can put the puck in the net, yet we are very average for scoring. We're not short on high-end talent that should easily be one of the top powerplays in the league, but our powerplay is pathetic to watch.
And I really don't think it's a player problem. I think the only problem with the players is that they're buying into an awful coach's vision of how hockey should be played.
If you watch a lot of other teams around the league you see a lot of creative plays, fun hockey to watch, back and forth action, etc. This team has looked the exact same since 2015 and there has been a lot of changes to the players. For a team that has this many potentially exciting players, the brand of hockey that gets put out consistently doesn't show it. How often does this team dominate? It's pretty rare. Our most dominant player tends to be our goaltender because the team itself tends to have a lot of horrible periods where they go ten minute stretches without a shot all of the time or extended shifts for where our defense can't get off the ice. How? They've got so many guys that can forecheck so well on this team, we should be more in control on a consistent basis but the team sacrifices for the sake of Travis Green defense.
I'm tired of this team being so passive. It's like we're coaching a Buffalo or Detroit. We shouldn't have to resort to surviving in games to win. When is this team going to blow out another team? Why are these games so rare? We're constantly contending in 1-2 goal games. The team had 4 games last season where they won by 4 goals or more. They lost by 4 goals or more 10 times. Now yes, bad season. But regardless, that's nearly a 5th of the games. And the reason it's like that is because of how reliant this team is on exceptional goaltending.
Without Demko or Markstrom, Green would be laughed out of the league. They're single-handedly the only reason why he has a job still. This team is getting elite level goaltending and it's getting squandered.