We have entered that part of the season that I like to call the FOG. The Wild seem lost and flailing about. As is always the case, the team seems to not be able to see a clear direction to pursue. This past week has seen the Wild do just enough to stay ahead of those teams just behind them but also lose just a little bit more ground in the playoff chase. Yet, the team is still talking playoffs, and I'm sure that we'll see Koivu come back some time in the last two weeks of the season, and perhaps spark two or three wins to close things out, and the talking points will be about missed opportunities and missing players down the stretch. We shall see, and I'm sure we'll have a discussion about it in the weeks to come.
Anyway, the Wild won against a pretty bad San Jose team, made an interesting trade, lost embarrassingly against the Kings, and looked terrible but somehow came back and managed to get a point against the worst team in the East. After the break, we'll break down the draft spot chart, and talk a bit about the trends.
We have: Draft Pos: Team : Games Played : Total Points : Last 10 Record : Next 3 Games (bold = against teams in this chart)
1. Columbus (- no change) : 64gp : 45pts (+2 since last) : "Last 10" 4-5-1 : PHO - PHO - LA Kings
2. Edmonton (-) : 63gp : 56pts (+2) : 4-5-1 : Dal - Anah - SJ
3. Montreal (-) : 65gp : 60pts (+2) : 3-6-1 : TOR - CAL - EDM
4. Carolina (-) : 64gp : 61pts (+3) : 4-2-4 : TAM B - WASH - BUFF
5. NY Islanders (-) : 64gp : 61pts (+3) : 3-6-1 : Bos - NJ - NJ - NJ (fourth game added to note 3 games in a row)
6. Anaheim (+2) : 64gp : 64pts (+3) : 6-3-1 : CAL - LA - EDM
7. Tampa Bay (-) : 63gp : 64pts (+4) : 6-4-0 : NYR - CAR - Ott
8. Toronto (na) : 64gp : 65pts (-) : 1-8-1 : MON - Bos - Pit
9. WILD (-) : 64gp : 66pts (+3) : 3-5-2 : Det - Colo - Colo
10. Buffalo (-4) : 64gp : 66pts (+7) : 5-3-2 : Van - Winni - CAR
11. Calgary (na) : 64gp : 69pts (na) : 4-2-4 : Anah - Dal - MON
12. Washington (-2) : 63gp : 69pts (+6) : 4-5-1 : NJ - Philly - CAR
Some things to note here: A lot of games over the next week feature two teams from this list, so there is a potential for a lot of minor movement. Carolina and Montreal both play their next 3 against other bottom 12 teams, and Calgary and Anaheim play two out of three. Columbus, Islanders, and the WILD play three games with against no teams currently in the bottom 12 (though Colorado, LA Kings, Winnipeg sit just outside of the bottom 12 so things could change).
Buffalo is currently doing what the Wild wish they were doing, playing good hockey and picking up a lot of points several weeks in a row. Over the last 8 games, a bit over 2 weeks, Buffalo has picked up 12 points out of 16, and have moved from drafting 4th to sitting at 10th, but only 4 points out of a playoff spot.
Toronto is going the completely opposite way. They picked up no points this past week, are 1-8-1 in their last ten. Two weeks, and 6 games ago, they were sitting in 8th in the East with 64pts. They've managed 1 point since then, and are now looking to draft 8th. Playing both Boston and Pittsburgh, they could easily find themselves in the 6th draft slot a week from now.
The Wild currently have 4 teams within two points of themselves, and another two at 3 points. They could move quickly either direction on this chart.