I don't feel sorry for a franchise that refuses to take the next step.
I expect this team is eliminated in the 1st round.
What precisely should they be doing to "take the next step?" They aren't an especially cheap spending team. Ownership and management has kept them competitive. They're not an old team. No team is losing their top winger without negative consequences. Take away Pastrnak from Boston and they'll struggle. I think CAR can still comfortably beat PIT or NYI in R1.