Dying Hard: NHL Reverse Standings Update for 1/16

Checking in on the worst teams in the NHL this season.

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.

San Jose Sharks

  • Current Record: 13-23-8, 34 points
  • Last 10 games: 3-5-2
  • Odds at wining the draft lottery: 8.5%/

The Sharks went 1-2 this week — winning at Arizona then losing to the Los Angeles Kings in LA before coming back to San Jose to be spanked by the Edmonton McDavids by a score of 7-1.

The asking price for Erik Karlsson has been established and ... woof.

There is a list of NHL players who GMs would gladly line up to unload three first-round picks for but I can’t imagine that a 32-year-old defenseman with multiple serious injuries in his past who is still owed $11.5 million a season for four more years is on it.

The Sharks are up against the cap badly with no real salary relief coming next year and they’ll still need to figure out a way to pay Timo Meier — unless they move him. Karlsson’s offensive renaissance this season has given them a rare stroke of luck to possibly shed his contract but they’re going to have to come way down on their ask in order to make that happen.

Upcoming Schedule

The Sharks play four games this week; at home against two of the better teams in the league — the New Jersey Devils and Dallas Stars — before heading out on the road to face off against Columbus and then the juggernaut Boston Bruins.

Arizona Coyotes

  • Current Record: 13-25-5, 31 points
  • Last 10 games: 1-9-0
  • Odds at wining the draft lottery: 9.5%/

Arizona is currently on a nine-game losing streak and this past week they (obviously) dropped all four contests: losing to the Sharks, Ottawa Senators, Minnesota Wild and Winnipeg Jets.

All is currently quiet on the Jakob Chychrun trade front but it appears that the Coyotes are looking for at least two first-round picks plus a prospect in return.

Upcoming Schedule

Arizona has four games this week; home against Detroit and Washington, at Dallas and then back again at Mullet Arena to face off against Pacific Division leading Vegas.

Columbus Blue Jackets

  • Current Record: 13-27-2, 28 points
  • Last 10 games: 2-8-0
  • Odds at wining the draft lottery: 11.5%/

Columbus lost to Tampa Bay and Carolina this week — surrendering six goals in both contests — before beating the Red Wings on Saturday night thanks to a Patrik Laine hat trick.

There was a minor uproar earlier this week when Johnny Gaudreau only skated 14:35 during the Columbus loss to the Lightning — the fourth lowest TOI on the entire team.

Gaudreau has scuffled a bit in the first year of his mega deal — some of which can be attributed to the litany of injuries the Blue Jackets have suffered — but he’s also currently sitting at minus-2.1 Goals Above Expected, which would be the lowest mark of his entire career.

The Blue Jackets had lost 10 straight games on the road before beating the Red Wings in Detroit.

Upcoming Schedule

Columbus has four games this week: the New York Rangers at home, at Nashville, then back to Columbus for games against fellow worst of the worsts San Jose and Anaheim.

Anaheim Ducks

  • Current Record: 12-27-4, 28 points
  • Last 10 games: 3-6-1
  • Odds at wining the draft lottery: 13.5%/

The Ducks have lost three games in a row by a combined score of 21-5 and their last two — against New Jersey and Edmonton — by identical blowout scores of 6-2. They’re currently on pace for their worst points total in franchise history (to which the Blackhawks say ...).

One of the few bright spots this season is the play/development of rookie Mason McTavish — who was recently promoted to center Anaheim’s top line after he registered a four-point night (2G, 2A) against San Jose. While Seattle’s Matty Beniers has probably already run away with the Calder, McTavish figures to be in the mix, and his offensive numbers should only improve now that he’s finally getting top-six minutes.

Upcoming Schedule

Anaheim plays its next six games on the road and nine of its next eleven. This week they’ll be at Pittsburgh, Philly, Columbus and Buffalo.

Chicago Blackhawks

  • Current Record: 11-26-4, 26 points
  • Last 10 games: 4-6-0
  • Odds at wining the draft lottery: 18.5%/

So about that winning streak...

All the goodwill that was in the air after big wins against Arizona, Calgary and Colorado — which was demoralizing enough for the Avalanche that their beat writer Peter Baugh referred to it as the low point of the defending champs season — took the bus back to Rockford with Lukas Reichel.

Yes Reichel looked great while Patrick Kane was out and it would have been awesome to see them get at least a few games together in the top six but that’s not what we’re here for right now.

The losses will continue — and they won’t all be as bad/embarrassing as Saturday night’s game against Seattle. But the point of all of this is to lose and lose a lot. Maximum pain now for ultimate pleasure later.

The least we can all do in the meantime is hold on to our sense of humor.