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.
- Current Record: 13-21-5, 31 points
- Last 10 games: 3-6-1
- Odds at wining the draft lottery: 8.5%
Arizona is in a bit of a free fall at the moment, having dropped their last five games in a row — which includes being shutout by the Blackhawks last Friday night.
There had been some speculation that they were a little extra motivated to trade star defenseman Jakob Chychrun sooner rather than later — as they’ve essentially been a .500 team since he’s come back from injury (which is tanking their tank!) — but nothing seems imminent at the moment.
They’re also weirdly good at their brand new home, Mullet Arena, with a current record of 7-4-2.
- Current Record: 12-21-8, 32 points
- Last 10 games: 2-5-3
- Odds at wining the draft lottery: 9.5%
After whooping on the Blackhawks last week the Sharks lost to the Anaheim Ducks in OT and the Boston Bruins in regulation — which essentially everyone is doing these days anyway.
They’d be happy to trade just about anyone on their roster right now while Erik Karlsson continues his season-long heater — although he recently had his 14-game point streak come to an end after the loss to Boston.
San Jose also has four games this week. They head to the aforementioned Mullet Arena to take on the Coyotes, then California to take on the Los Angeles Kings before heading back home to see the Edmonton Oilers and the possession monster that is this seaon’s New Jersey Devils.
- Current Record: 12-25-4, 28 points
- Last 10 games: 4-5-1
- Odds at wining the draft lottery: 11.5%
Anaheim picked up two big wins this week — against the Dallas Stars and the Sharks —before being domed at home by the Bruins (see above).
Sometimes the gulf between the best teams and the worst teams is both simple and evident.
after tonight's game— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) January 9, 2023
Bruins +68 goal differential in 40 games
Ducks -74 goal differential in 41 games
lol my goodness
Four games this week as well. They’ll also see both the Oilers and Devils at home before heading out for the old Pennsylvania double dip: at the Penguins then at the Flyers.
- Current Record: 12-25-2, 26 points
- Last 10 games: 2-8-0
- Odds at wining the draft lottery: 13.5%
One of the few bright spots in Columbus of late has been the play of goalie Joonas Korpisalo — whose 7 goals saved above expected has him top 15 in the league right now — but he’s cheap and a UFA this summer, so don’t be surprised to see his name mentioned a lot before the trade deadline.
Another four-gamer. They head to Tampa to take on the Lightning, are back at home against Carolina, then to Detroit to take on a faltering Red Wings squad before heading back to Columbus to see the New York Rangers.
- Current Record: 10-25-4, 24 points
- Last 10 games: 3-7-0
- Odds at wining the draft lottery: 25.5%
Lukas Reichel is heating up. Patrick Kane is resting up. Dave is blasting Gwen Stefani — ask him about it — and the Blackhawks are on their winningest streak since Oct. 25 (which also just so happens to be one of my very favorite dates as it’s also my oldest son’s birthday).
We all know what they don’t have and the reasons why they’re firmly entrenched at the bottom. That’s not going to change anytime soon. So let’s take a second to appreciate what they do have going for them right now; Lukas Reichel is up and making plays all over the ice and looks dangerous in a way we haven’t seen him look in the NHL yet. Alex Stalock is fun and healthy and easy to root for — whether he’s making a ton of saves to keep them in a game or wandering off to play defense. And we still get to watch Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane for at least a little bit longer.
Enjoy the tiny, good moments as they come now because lord knows it’s going to be bad again soon enough and then all we’ll have left to do is turn our eyes back toward the future.
There’s a reason that all five of these teams are perfectly content to be suffering through their individually miserable seasons right now.
The kid is beyond special:
Connor Bedard’s return to the WHL tonight: 4G, 2A, 6PTS, 13SOG.— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) January 9, 2023
He now has 40 goals and 93 points in 36 games this season. The equivalent of a 91-goal, 212-point pace across 82 games.