I think a playoff series win secures Stan and Q's job - any sign of playoff improvement from the previous two years will at least optically look like the kids are coming around & the Saad trade had merit. But this point, it's looking unlikely that this team is capable of winning a playoff series and that's hard to admit.
It used to be so easy to identify the roles of each of our bottom six players. Brouwer was there for his physicality and net presence, Versteeg for stick handling, Madden/Johnson for their faceoffs and veteran leadership, etc. With this team, and our previous two iterations, the bottom six is just cluttered with a bunch of bodies that don't seem to have their own identity or defined role. Honestly, if Bouma and Wingels swapped jerseys next game I wouldn't notice.
Our luck with overachieving bottom-six players has run out for the moment, and unfortunately it's happening at the same time as our core's decline. The Toews and Seabrook contracts are fairly clearly the biggest reason for us being in this identity crisis. And honestly, I have no idea how Bowman can fix this - our only hope, at least this year, is that our core find a serious spark come playoff time.