New Jersey is now tied with Ottawa for 27th place, with more wins. Under tiebreaker rules that places Ottawa in 28th place if the season ended today. Given that New Jersey is playing very good hockey and has received 16 points out of a possible 20 in it’s last ten games Ottawa fans should wave goodbye as the Devils climb up the ladder. If they keep the pace up they may reach 90 points this season, and bizarrely might actually qualify for the last playoff spot in a weak Eastern Conference.
Given their season averages, Ottawa and the Islanders are headed for a tie with 65 points. However, if you look at the last ten games, it tells a different story. The New York Islanders are if nothing consistent losers, their 4-6-0 pace matches their season average exactly, given that 65 points seems exactly where they are headed.
The Ottawa Senators have managed a measly four points in their last ten games. If they continue their current pace, they will end up with a mere 54 points. Only Edmonton has a worse record in the last ten games. While their season average would give them 60 points, their recent performance would give them a pathetic 47 points and the worst record in the league.
So let’s split the difference for all four teams, take their season-wide projection and the projection given their last ten games, and split down the middle.
New Jersey: (65 + 89) /2 = 77
Islanders: (65 + 65) /2 = 65
Ottawa: (65 + 54) /2 = 60*
Edmonton: (60 + 47) /2 = 54*
Unless Edmonton goes on a tear, 29th place looks increasingly likely. Given draft lottery odds, this means that the Ottawa Senators at 29th will have a 100% chance of picking first, second or third, with a 40% chance of picking third, a 42% chance of picking second, and a 18% chance of picking first overall.
So, let’s look at those draft picks once again. It looks like Edmonton is hungry for a young D, so it looks like Adam Larsson will be their pick if they don’t lose their lottery position. The most Ottawa can drop is one.
Team: Skelleftea AIK (Swe)
Team: Kitchener (OHL)
3 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Team: Red Deer (WHL)
4 Sean Couturier
Team: Drummondville (QMJHL)
Given the Senators lack of, well, everything regarding scoring, even dropping one spot and losing out on Gabriel Landeskog isn’t bad.
If that happens, and Edmonton stays first, would Ottawa be willing to trade one of it’s defensive prospects to Edmonton to guarantee a move up the ladder? And which one? Given that the other teams that could claim second pick in the lottery are all likely to pick a forward, wouldn’t this be prudent for both teams as Ottawa would guarantee it’s choice and Edmonton would get more defensive depth?