All sorts of speculation early this NHL season about which teams might tank for a chance to draft Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel.

In years past, there might have been 2 or 3 teams who were so bad that they might want to give up on the season and do everything they can to get the 1st overall pick but this season I think it’s fair to say there might be 8.

But I think, in reality the list is likely a bit shorter.

Let’s start at the bottom.

As of this writing, the team with the worst win percentage is the Edmonton Oilers (.328)

Oilers’ GM Craig (It’s Not My Fault) McTavish has already indicated he won’t be making any moves to improve his team so it’s likely they’ll limp along pretty much where they are for the rest of the season at least until the trade deadline when I expect they’ll move Jeff Petry and David Perron for “futures”. The loss of those two might cause a slight downturn in the teams  performance but not to the degree that it should have any signifcant impact on the final standings.

Staying in the Western Conference, the Arizona Coyotes have been bad and they’re getting worse. They’ve just dropped their 8th straight game at home and have only won twice in their last 11 games. GM Don Maloney has already indicated he’s getting ready to blow things up and move out sone expensive veterans and I expect he’ll soon follow through on that threat not only to start a rebuild but to save money for the cash strapped team. I would wager all of Keith Yandle, Antoine Vermette and Martin Erat will all have new addresses early in the new year and the Coyotes will go from bad to worse and then worser. This is the team I think will finish 30th in the NHL and draft McDavid. The team desperately needs a marquee name to market and I expect the NHL will do everything in its “power” to ensure that happens.

Another teams that is poised to go into sell mode soon is the Carolina Hurricanes. Jiri Tlusty and Andrej Sekera are both UFA at the end of the season and I expect both will be dealt. I also believe the Hurricanes will try to convince Eric Staal to waive his NMC so they can turn him into a first round pick and other assets. Say hello to Jack Eichel!

The Buffalo Sabres are not a very good team but they have stellar goaltending, a great coach and are 7-3-0 in their last 10 games played and look like they’ll be moving out of the sub basement.

The Columbus Blue Jackets are beginning to get their injured players back and are on a 5 game winning streak. I think they’ll easily play themselves out of the chance to draft the wonder kids.

Which leaves us with 3 big question marks…The Philadelphia Flyers, The Colorado Avalanche and the Dallas Stars.

Now, the odds of any of these 3 teams winning the lottery are pretty low but an extended losing streak by any of them could increase those odds significantly and I can see Ed Snider in Philly, with a wink and a nod from his buddy Gary, going into full tank mode in the very near future.

Stranger things have happened.


4 thoughts on “Tanking

  1. Question.

    If the floor is at 51m and ARZ is all ready at or near that floor when can they start dumping salary?

    Does that number not have to stay at 51 throughout the year?

    I realize at the deadline teams that are near the cap can add because that years salary is almost paid up by the other team but does it not work against teams at the floor?

    how much salary can a team like CAR or ARZ shed?


  2. Excellent point.

    The cap floor this season is $51 million so the Coyotes would have to spend that much by the end of the season.

    Their payroll is currently $59 million so, on a pro rated basis, they should be able to move out a couple of big salaries without too much concern.

    For example, if they moved Yandle and Vermette at the mid point of the season, they would only be shedding about $4.5 million in actual salary for the rest of the season.

    Pretty easy to do and, of course, they may get a couple of small contracts in return.


    1. So, ARZ could potentially dump some key players and nose dive hard. Good to know.
      The Oilers could really make a push too, they dump Petry, Perron & the latest Gordon with Fasth and that would all but lock up last place.

      I’m getting the feeling that PHI may decide to sell off as well, Bettman owes a big favour to Snider


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