The good news about being one of the worst teams in the NHL this year is you get your shot at picking near the top of an incredibly loaded draft where players like Connor Bedard, Adam Fantilli, Matvei Michkov and Leo Carlsson could help change the fortune of your entire franchise in an instant.
Going into this season the plan was for the Chicago Blackhawks to be one of the worst teams in the entire league. Let’s check in on the other teams that make up the bottom five and hope to get their shot at drafting Connor Bedard this summer.
With four of the bottom five teams off until after the all-star break (Columbus plays the Washington Capitals in Columbus on Tuesday, January 31st) we’re taking a look at the bigger overall picture for the remainder of the season.
San Jose Sharks
- Current Record: 15-25-11, 41 points
- Last 10 games: 3-4-3
- Odds at wining the draft lottery: 8.5%
The first member of the hallowed bottom five to reach the 40 point mark, San Jose went 1-0-2 this past week — losing to the Detroit Red Wings and Carolina Hurricanes in overtime, then beating the Pittsburgh Penguins in regulation by a score of 6-4.
San Jose currently ranks 23rd overall in total offense and 25th overall in total defense. The two big pieces they have to move are 32-year-old defenseman Erik Karlsson (16 G, 50 A in 51 games) and it seems like there might be some potential interest in power forward Timo Meier.
San Jose has 30 games left this season; 16 at home and 14 on the road. Dom Luszczyszyn over at The Athletic recently compiled some strength of schedule stats for the rest of the season and the Sharks have the seventh toughest remaining schedule.
- Current Record: 16-28-6, 38 points
- Last 10 games: 3-6-1
- Odds at wining the draft lottery: 9.5%
Arizona went 1-2 last week, losing to the Anaheim Ducks at home, blanking the St. Louis Blues 5-0, then dropping an overtime game to the Ducks in Anaheim, 2-1.
Arizona currently ranks 31st in total offense and 26th in total defense. Their major move would be the trade of 24-year-old defenseman Jakob Chychrun — who is fifth on the Coyotes in scoring despite missing the first 16 games of the season — and signed for two more seasons after this one at a super friendly $4.6 million cap hit. Chychrun can score — he’s currently top 10 for defenseman in the entire league for expected goals — play either defensive side, quarterback the power play and he’s a positive possession player (54 percent share of shot attempts). There’s no shortage of teams interested in him and he’s going to cost a haul.
Arizona has 31 games left, 19 at home and 12 on the road. They have a 10-8-3 record at Mullet Arena and the 23rd toughest remaining schedule.
- Current Record: 16-29-5, 37 points
- Last 10 games: 4-5-1
- Odds at wining the draft lottery: 11.5%
Don’t look now but Anaheim took the entire week, going 3-0 with wins against Arizona (twice) and the defending champion Colorado Avalanche.
Anaheim currently ranks 29th in total offense and 32nd in total defense. Another team, another big name D-man to potentially move — the difference for Anaheim is that John Klingberg has been turrible so far this year (6 G, 11A, 4 PP points in 41 GP). Hopefully ageless wonder Teemu Selanne officially put the whammy on their lottery chances by posting this:
I think Connor Bedard would fit perfectly in this @AnaheimDucks dressing room Welcome to Southern California! pic.twitter.com/cI6FZsArAG— Teemu Selanne (@TeemuSel8nne) January 25, 2023
Nice notebook paper, Teemu. Do you keep it in your Trapper Keeper (holy sh*t, Trapper Keepers are back.)?
31 games left, 17 at home and 14 on the road. The Ducks have the 20th toughest remaining schedule.
- Current Record: 15-29-4, 34 points
- Last 10 games: 6-4-0
- Odds at wining the draft lottery: 13.5%
The Blackhawks sandwiched terrible losses to the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers around what may have been their best team game this season — a 5-1 win against the Calgary Flames.
Chicago currently ranks 32nd in total offense and 30th in total defense. The will-they-or-won’t-they saga continues as neither Jonathan Toews nor Patrick Kane has made a decision about whether they’re open to a trade. They’ve been a lot more fun to watch of late — winning 7 of 11 — but all that’s really done is give them a slight bump over the current dumpster fire in Columbus.
The Hawks gave rookie goaltender Jaxson Stauber a core memory when they beat the St. Louis Blues for his first career win — nice of them to dole out another one for an even longer shot goalie prospect.
EBUG ACTIVATED— NHL (@NHL) January 29, 2023
Matt Berlin, from the University of Alberta (@GBHKY), dressed for the @EdmontonOilers tonight. He saw 2:26 on ice, making one save on one shot for a 1.000 SVP% and a memory that will last a lifetime. pic.twitter.com/go9fvADKPh
The Blackhawks have 33 games remaining — the most of any team in the Bottom 5 — 13 at home and 20 on the road. They have the 16th toughest remaining schedule.
Columbus Blue Jackets
- Current Record: 15-32-3, 33 points
- Last 10 games: 3-6-1
- Odds at wining the draft lottery: 18.5%
Columbus went 1-2-1 this week, losing to Cal and Gary in overtime for Johnny Hockey’s big return, beating Edmonton in overtime, then losing to Vancouver and then the Seattle Kraken to end their first half.
Columbus currently ranks 28th in total offense and 31st in total defense. The injury fun continues for the Blue Jackets — who most recently lost both forward Gustav Nyquist and defenseman Adam Boqvist to UBIs.
Rookie forward Kirill Marchenko is scoring at an impressive pace (13 G in 26 GP) while he inches ever closer to an incredibly bizarre record — he’s the first player in almost 100 years to start his career with as many as 13 goals without recording a single assist (the all-time record is 16 goals and no assists set by Joe Malone in 1918).
With Nyquist out the Jackets most attractive remaining trade chips are defensive defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov, and their best overall goaltender Joonas Korpisalo — whose 3.8 goals saved above expected rank him 27th in the entire league (and one spot ahead of current Blackhawk Alex Stalock).
Upcoming and Remaining Schedule
Columbus faces off against The Washington Capitals in Columbus on Tuesday, January 31st. They have 30 games left after that: 12 at home and 18 on the road — where Columbus has been especially brutal so far with a 4-17-2 record away from Nationwide Arena. They also have the 3rd most difficult remaining schedule, so bumping them out of worst overall might be an issue.