Every year someone has to finish last and win the Wooden Spoon Award. Who are the most likely to finish first overall? Let us tell you!
A team in dire need of a number one draft pick, Arizona is struggling in all departments. So far, the Coyotes have only scored 52 goals. While Max Domi is an exciting young talent, there are few of these prospects in Glendale. Their future has been up in the air for years out in the desert. With low attendance still a problem, this team seems to be looking to the 2017 draft to secure a future. Radim Vrbata is unsurprisingly top scorer with 16 points, but apart from Mike Smith and, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, the squad is worryingly low in depth. Dead last in the Western Conference with a record of 8-11-3, change needs to happen soon. Shane Doan is 40 and due for retirement, Arizona will need to pick his replacement carefully.
New York Islanders
Bottom of the Eastern Conference, the Islanders are looking the dire teams of old. While they have a great roster in John Tavares, Brock Nelson, Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk, something isn’t clicking this year. Their decision to sign Andrew Ladd has backfired spectacularly and his five points so far have been a poor return. GM Garth Snow seems to have figured out that Tavares can’t win championships by himself. Having another high placed draft pick could do wonders in Brooklyn. Having only 58 goals to their name, the Islanders are in dire need of a scoring touch and while their roster is deeper than Arizona, they have only one real stand out player. When they hit high gear, the Isles can be an exciting to watch. Getting in the top 3 picks will be salvaging something from a poor season.
It would be wrong not to include Buffalo in a wooden spoon piece. Currently the lowest-scoring NHL side with only 47 goals, this team needs a high draft pick. Signing Kyle Okposo was a smart piece of business and his 16 points have been the high point. While Ryan O’Reilly, Sam Reinhart and Rasmus Ristolainen offer some quality, missing Jack Eichel has clearly hurt. Struggling to score, coach Dan Bylsma still seems unable to drive this side forward. Some games they look like a newer and more attractive side, but they need to get another high draft pick to make them more rounded. Bylsma has had ample time to get this team together, the 2017 draft might be his last shot.
The struggles post Patrick Roy go on uninterrupted. The Avalanche have had a tough time this season, only registering a record of 9-12-1. Nathan MacKinnon has 15 points, but captain Gabriel Landeskog has only managed to chalk up a mere 8 points. While they have some good quality in Tyson Barrie, Erik Johnson and Rene Bourque, Semyon Varlamov‘s poor goaltending has been a concern. The Avs have some quality to work with but fans should expect some big names to be traded. Jarome Iginla will most likely be one of the players to go. They have a solid foundation to work with, it might just take an overhaul to achieve the right results.
You have to feel bad for hockey fans in Raleigh, NC. This team cannot seem to catch a break these days. When they finally lost Eric Staal, many expected another dry spell. While the efforts have Cam Ward have been heroic, this team isn’t going anywhere fast. Jeff Skinner and Victor Rask are also to be commended for their scoring. In 14th place in the East, Carolina will likely secure a top 5 pick. Now down to only one Staal brother, they need a hot prospect fast. That Stanley Cup win in 2006 feels like a distant memory. Right now unless they start trading up, their season is only going to get worse. Carolina needs new star power, something they don’t have in abudance right now.