Oct 14, 2014; Raleigh, NC, USA; Buffalo Sabres forward Torrey Mitchell (17) skates with puck against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. The Buffalo Sabres defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports /
Which teams are racing to the bottom of the NHL standings and the top of the draft?
Every NHL team is 100 percent committed to winning the Stanley Cup this season and no one could possibly be tanking their season… or so they say. So why this focus on last place? Connor McDavid – who has already been minted as “The Next Great One” in a long line of “Next Great Ones” that have followed Wayne Gretzky.
Now that we are one week into the month of January it’s becoming clearer which teams are going to be in the mix when it is time for the draft lottery. The Edmonton Oilers will not break out of the bottom five of the NHL standings this season. Despite playing much better recently, it isn’t likely that the Carolina Hurricanes have a miracle run in them this year. The Buffalo Sabres had their fans a little worried early on in December, going as far as coming within a few points of a Wild Card spot, but that will be as close as they come to the playoffs.
With that overview out of the way, let’s get an update on the race for last by looking at five teams that are currently in the bottom five of the NHL standings and in the best position to end up with the first overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.
Teams from last month that have exited the bottom five:
Columbus Blue Jackets (29th) – The much healthier Columbus Blue Jackets are 7-2-1 in their last 10 and are now in 24th place.
Philadelphia Flyers (26th) – As mentioned above, the Flyers are tied with the New Jersey Devils with 37 points, and currently hold the 25th spot in the standings due to the tie-breaker.