The fact there are a surprisingly low number of teams looking for a berth in the post-season – realistically, only 18 teams are battling for 16 spots – means there’s a good chance we’ll see some Tanking Lite™ to joining Tanking™ the final two weeks of the regular season.
Florida (4.4 percent according to sportsclubstats.com), Dallas (1.0 percent) and San Jose (0.9 percent) are mathematically still alive to make the playoffs, but those numbers will dwindle to zero in short order. That means we pretty much know right now 12 of the 14 teams that will miss the playoffs.
We already know Buffalo, Arizona and Edmonton are in snail race for 30th place and the best odds (20 percent) to win the draft lottery and the right to select generational talent Connor McDavid. And we already know the 30th place will have a 100 percent chance or winding up with McDavid or Jack Eichel, the other future franchise player.
We also know the 2015 draft is a deep one. Besides these two projected superstars, there are a half dozen others who would be in the conversation for first or second overall any other average draft year. Noah Hanifin, Dylan Strome, Mitch Marner, Ivan Provorov. Throw in Zach Werenski and Matt Barzal. So getting a pick in the top six or eight will be pretty special.