7. 2010-11 Chicago Blackhawks (44-29-9)
The 2010-11 Chicago Blackhawks had high hopes after winning the Stanley Cup the year prior. Due to salary cap restrictions, the nicknamed “Hangover Hawks” lost a lot of key players such as Dustin Byfuglien, Ben Eager, Andrew Ladd, Kris Versteeg, and almost Niklas Hjalmarsson. Hjalmarsson would sign an offer sheet with the San Jose Sharks, but Chicago matched it.
On defense, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook had to step up and be the leaders on defense. Kane and Toews would lead the team in points. This came after Kane scored the game-winning goal in Game 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final. Patrick Kane was becoming a household name outside of Chicago.
The Blackhawks would go down to the last game of the season to make the playoffs by two points. Jonathan Toews said a few years later how he believed the season was over, so, he went home and ate a bunch of ice cream. Once the Dallas Stars missed the playoffs, Toews got back to work.
In the playoffs, the Chicago Blackhawks would go down 3-0 in the first round against the Vancouver Canucks. The team would battle back but lose in overtime in Game 7. This would be the first of two consecutive years the Blackhawks would be suffer first round playoff exits.