While the end of the NHL regular season means a race for Lord Stanley's Cup for many teams and fan bases, for others it's merely the end of their suffering. However, despite some pronounced struggles, the league's five worst teams each have a few things to look forward to heading into next year.
Florida Panthers (65 points, 13th in the East, 26th overall)
New GM Dale Tallon decided to sell aggressively at the trade deadline this year, moving several pieces including Chris Higgins, Dennis Wideman, Michael Frolik and Bryan McCabe for a mix of draft picks and prospects.
Florida has a number of useful players left after the yard sale, however, including Stephen Weiss, who consistently plays against other top lines and often starts in the defensive end -- he has an offensive-to-defensive zone start ratio of 47.3 percent. Despite his tough circumstances, Weiss is above water in terms of possession (an interchangeable term for corsi, which is a proxy for possession of the puck in the offensive end) at +0.99/60 corsi and boasts the second-best GVT amongst Panther forwards as well (+5.4).
The Panthers also stumbled across a useful forward this season in Mike Santorelli. An AHL veteran from the Nashville Predators system, Santorelli managed to make the leap this year and land in the Panthers top-six forward rotation. His circumstances aren't as tough as Weiss' and his possession rate is substandard (-2.88/60 corsi) but he has nonetheless managed to produce and has the third-highest GVT on the club (+5.2) behind Weiss.