It took five-eighths of the season to do it, but the Edmonton Oilers have finally taken sole possession of 30th in the National Hockey League, thus giving them the best shot at the first overall pick in this summer’s NHL Entry Draft. But can they hold that position?
After the jump, a look at the current lottery standings, and the other contenders for the 30th slot and the best chance at this summer’s first overall pick.
|Rank||Team||Games Played||Points||Projected Points|
|2||New York Islanders||51||39||63|
|3||New Jersey Devils||52||40||63|
|5||Toronto Maple Leafs||51||47||76|
|8||Columbus Blue Jackets||51||53||85|
|10||St. Louis Blues||50||53||87|
While lots of teams are still in the running for that first slot mathematically, the reality is that it’s a four team race for the best lottery position – Edmonton against the New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils, and Ottawa Senators. We’ve been measuring our position against the former two teams all season, but the Senators have made a late charge to get in the game. Given the home/road split for the remainder of their schedule, Ottawa may in fact be the team most likely to challenge Edmonton for dead last:
While every other team has a favourable or at least even home/road split over their remaining games, Ottawa will play 57% of their last 30 games on the road.
Still, there are other factors that come in to play to determine strength of schedule, such as the strength of opposing teams and the number of times that each team has to play two games in two nights. I’ve charted the opposition points percentage and number of back-to-back games for the four teams in the running for 30th:
|Team||GP||PTS||PTS %||Home||Road||Opp. PTS%||Back to Back|
While Edmonton has the fewest back-to-back games of any of these four teams, they play far and away the most difficult schedule. That, combined with their current lead, has to make them the current favourite for 30th overall and the best shot at this summer’s first overall pick.