Injuries could devastate the Ducks, Sharks, or the Blue Jackets like it has done to the Blackhawks.
The Blackhawks came into this season as a team with fringe playoff hopes. The roster was not exactly filled with a lot of high-end talent, but if the Hawks could stay healthy, they could be competitive. At the very least, it was a roster that would not contend for having the best lottery odds.
Then the injury bug bit and it bit hard.
That is a big reason the Blackhawks are currently at the bottom of the NHL standings. The Chicago Blackhawks currently have the most players on injured reserve. At one point in December, the Hawks had to roll out a blue line you would normally expect to see in Rockford (the team's AHL affiliate if you are scoring at home).
Then earlier this month, the forward position was ravaged by injuries to the point where the Hawks have had to trade for the likes of Rem Pitlick and claim Zach Sanford off of waivers. Those two moves were the equivalent of being desperate enough just to have warm bodies on the ice who can at least play something close to a professional game. Otherwise, Pitlick and Sanford would be in the AHL somewhere.
The Ducks currently have three players on IR, Columbus has none, and San Jose is banged up but still enough to tread water. All it takes is a rash of injuries to make these bad teams even worse.