It goes without saying that in terms of the standings, the Leafs are now more concerned with the bottom than the top. The 11-game losing streak settled that hash. In fact, that streak of futility improved Toronto’s chances of finishing the regular season with the worst point-total in the standings, and of course, the team’s chances of getting the first overall draft pick. The Leafs, however, have some well-tenured competition in their race to the cellar of the league standings.
Below we’ll look at three teams and their likelihood of out-losing Toronto at the end of the regular season. All three are given an even worse “price” than the Leafs’ +10,000 to win the Stanley Cup (according to this US sportsbook which is at par with all NHL odds-makers at the moment).
When it comes to losing, the Oilers are at the top of their game. The Oilers are scraping the bottom of almost all basic offensive and defensive statistical categories. This team has two skids that went for at least nine-straight games. Edmonton currently only has 39 points—11 fewer than the Leafs—and it’s not far off to think that they will go through another robust losing streaks before the season ends.
The Sabres have a fine tank going and it’s going to get worse before it gets better. A distant last in the East, the Sabres have the best odds (20%) to land the top pick, and now they’re also without Tyler Myers. Playing in a relatively tough division only makes it likelier for the Sabres to remain at the bottom from here on out.
Of the three teams holding down the bottom of the league standings, the Canes have the best chance of finishing with more points than Toronto. Carolina has seemingly elevated its play lately, playing above .500 hockey since the start of the new year. Of course, this team is bound to string together consecutive setbacks at some point moving forward like the three-straight losses it had right after the All-Star break, but following that up with back-to-back victories only signifies that Carolina is developing some form of consistency.