I have to get this out a day earlier than I would like as I'll be away from a computer for the better part of the next 5 or 6 days. Still, there are plenty of interesting story lines and bottom of the league movement to talk about.
When i started this thing, 6 weeks ago, when the Wild had just fallen out of a playoff position, most people scoffed at the idea of the Wild ending up with a top 5 pick. The common sentiment is that there were just too many truly lousy teams bellow the Wild in the standings. The Wild have gone down, down, down, through that burning ring of mediocrity and landed flop in the middle of a pile of lousy themselves (injury aided, of course).
After the jump, lets take a look at the suddenly extremely close draft position rankings. Crappy teams have never been so interesting to follow before.
Key: Draft Pos: Team : Games Played : Total Points : Last 10 Record : Next 3 Games (bold = against teams on chart)
1. Columbus (- no change) : 70gp : 51pts (-) : "Last 10" 4-6-0 : @Van - @Cal - Chi
2. Edmonton (-) : 70gp : 61pts (+3) : 3-6-1 : Cal - Pho - @Nash
3. Montreal (-) : 71gp : 67pts (+5) : 4-5-1 : @Ott - NYI - @Buff
4. Carolina (-) : 70gp: 67pts (+2) : 3-3-4 : St. L - @WILD - @Winni
5. NY Islanders (-) : 70gp : 67pts (+2) : 3-4-3 : Philly - @Mon - @Tor
6. WILD (+1) : 70gp : 68pts (-) : 2-7-1 : Car - Van - Cal
7. Toronto (-1) : 70gp : 68pts (+1) : 1-8-1 : @Tam - @Ott - @ Bos
8. Anaheim (-) : 71gp : 71pts (+3) : 4-5-1 : LA - Nash - @SJ
9. Tampa Bay (-) : 69gp : 71pts (+2) : 5-4-1 : Tor - St. L - Buff
10. Winnipeg (+1) : 70gp : 74pts (+2) : 5-3-2 : Wash - Car - @Pitt
11. Buffalo (-1) : 71gp : 75pts (+5) : 6-2-2 : @Fla - @Tam - Mon
12. Los Angeles (na) : 70gp : 78pts (na) : 6-4-0 : @Ana - Nash - SJ
13. Calgary (-1) : 70gp : 78pts (+6) : 5-2-3 : Pho - @Edm - Colu
14. San Jose (na) : 69gp : 78pts (na) : 2-5-3 : Nash - Det - Ana
Well, there you have it. 1pt separates 5 different teams. What is at stake for the low, low price for a OTL charity point... the difference between drafting #3 and drafting #7. So, the stakes are very high for the lowest output. That makes a few games during the next few days stick out more than others as being highly significant.
1. MN Wild (68pts) vs Carolina Hurricanes (67pts) 3-17-12. If Carolina beats the Wild in regulation, they pass the Wild.
2. Montreal (67pts) vs NY Islanders (67pts) 3-17-12. One of these teams have to take the 2 points... might it be a 3 point game?
3. Toronto (68pts) vs NY Islanders (67pts) 3-20-12. Again, one of these teams have to win... charity points please.
Another item of note is that by the time the Wild play on Saturday, all 4 of the teams right around them in the standing will have already played at least 1 further game. The Wild could... could be sitting in the 3rd draft spot by game time with Carolina.
Okay, during the last thread, and in others around the site, we've started talking about about positions of need that the Wild could fill and who are some of the specific names of prospects that the Wild could be talking about. Here is a link to the so-called "Top Five Primer": http://www.hockeywilderness.com/2012/3/13/2863831/prospect-tuesdays-a-dive-for-top-five-primer-2012-NHL-draft
Let's get a good dialogue going. What does the Wild need to most to add to their current organization that it doesn't have, or have enough of with the current prospects. Should they weight goal scoring? Or is a true #1 defender the biggest hole in the prospect pool?
Let's hear it, Wilderness.