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Slackin’ for Macklin: The Flames have lost three straight, the Sharks still have the best odds, and more!

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Photo credit:Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
23 days ago
Winning hockey games may be fun, but sometimes for the greater good of the team, losing is needed.
With the Calgary Flames’ post-season hopes all but gone, it’s time to look at how teams in the lottery picture are doing. In this new weekly article, we’ll look at how each lottery team did the week prior, as well as look at the week ahead.
A brief interlude about the lottery: Since the 2021 draft, teams can only move up 10 spots, meaning that a team like the New Jersey Devils, who have the 12th-fewest points in the league, can only move up to the second-overall pick.
Furthermore, most sites that feature odds (such as Daily Faceoff and Tankathon) have the Buffalo Sabres picking ahead of the Calgary Flames despite Buffalo having more points – a product of the Flames having played fewer games and having a slightly higher points percentage. For now, we’ll only be looking at teams that can win the first-overall pick, but as more teams fall out of the race, we’ll expand the scope.
Let’s dig in!

San Jose Sharks

The San Jose Sharks are a really bad team. This season, they have a 16-46-8 record with 40 points, the fewest points in the league. According to Tankathon, the Sharks have a 25.5% chance of landing the first overall pick. No matter what, the Sharks will be picking in the top three.
After breaking a nine-game losing streak on Mar. 9, the Sharks are on another lengthy losing streak, as they’ve lost their past seven games. Of note are a pair of losses to the Chicago Blackhawks, who beat the Sharks 5-2 on Mar. 17 as well as 5-4 in overtime this past Saturday.
Over the next week, the Sharks will host the Dallas Stars, before heading to Minnesota to face the Wild and St. Louis to face the Blues. The Sharks may sneak out a win, but more than likely they’ll lose all three games.

Chicago Blackhawks

After winning the 2023 lottery and landing generational talent in Connor Bedard, the Chicago Blackhawks once again are at the bottom of the league. Due to having the second-fewest points in the league, the Blackhawks have a 13.5% chance of winning the first overall pick, but could fall as far as fourth, with 41.7% odds of doing so. Interestingly, their odds of landing the first-overall pick are actually higher than the 11.5% chance they had of landing Bedard last season.
Despite a ton of injuries, including to Bedard, the Blackhawks are still a scrappy and competitive team, which is reflected in their March. They are 5-6-0 this month, with two wins coming against the San Jose Sharks and Arizona Coyotes, as well as a win (and loss) against the Ducks. They seem to be good enough to beat teams at the bottom, but aren’t competitive enough to win games against teams in and around the playoff spot.
This week, the Blackhawks will face off against the Calgary Flames, Ottawa Senators, and Philadelphia Flyers. The Blackhawks have won four of their last five against the Flames, but the Senators have been playing good hockey as of late, defeating the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday.

Anaheim Ducks

Last draft, the Anaheim Ducks had an 18.5% chance of winning the draft lottery, but fell to second when they selected Leo Carlsson. As of Mar. 25, the Ducks have an 11.5% chance of winning the lottery, but a higher chance of falling out of the top three as they have a 39.7% chance of landing the fourth-overall pick and a 29.8% of landing the fifth-overall pick.
Their play in recent times haven’t been great, as they ended a seven-game losing streak with a win against the Chicago Blackhawks last Thursday. This streak included three different times they were shutout which saw the Ducks score just seven goals. However, they’ve picked up three points out of a possible four in their past two games, as they lost 3-2 in overtime against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
In the next week, they’ll head on a Pacific Division road trip, playing the Seattle Kraken twice in back-to-back games, before heading to face the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks on back-to-back days, yikes.

Columbus Blue Jackets

The Columbus Blue Jackets are the worst team in the Eastern Conference, but are the fourth-worst team overall, which says a lot about how bad the bottom-end of the Western Conference is. They have a 9.5% chance of winning the first overall pick, but a 44.6% chance of landing the fifth overall-pick. The furthest the Blue Jackets can drop is to the sixth-spot.
It’s been a rough time for the Jackets as of late, as they are 1-5-2 in their last seven games, with their only win coming against the San Jose Sharks. They’ve lost games to the Vegas Golden Knights (4-2), Colorado Avalanche (6-1), Winnipeg Jets (6-1), Montréal Canadiens (3-0) and Detroit Red Wings (4-3 in overtime). The last one, they allowed the tying goal with less than 10 seconds remaining.
Thankfully for the Blue Jackets, they’ll face the Arizona Coyotes and the Pittsburgh Penguins twice this upcoming week. The Penguins have a lot to play for, as we’ll see, while the Coyotes are the team ahead of the Blue Jackets in the standings.

Arizona Coyotes

A promising season has turned disastrous for the Arizona Coyotes. On Jan. 3, they sat in a playoff position, but a 14-game losing streak positions them towards the bottom of the league… again. They have an 8.5% chance of winning the lottery, but even higher odds of dropping, as they have a 24.5% chance at the fifth overall pick, a 44% chance of dropping to the sixth-overall pick, and a 14.2% chance of falling even further to the sixth-overall pick.
Despite the massive losing streak, the Coyotes have been playing some solid hockey as of late, winning three of their last live games, with wins coming against bubble teams such as the Detroit Red Wings, New Jersey Devils, and the Seattle Kraken. Both losses came against the Dallas Stars, a powerhouse in the Central Division.
The Coyotes will host the Columbus Blue Jackets, Nashville Predators, and New York Rangers, so expect some losses this week. The Predators are on a 17-game point streak, while the Rangers are tied for the most points in the league.

Montréal Canadiens

It was only two drafts ago when the Montréal Canadiens landed the first-overall pick, selecting Juraj Slafkovský with the first overall pick in the 2022 draft. This season, he has 15 goals and 39 points and is starting to develop into a pretty good player after a rough rookie season. The Canadiens have a 7.5% chance of landing the first overall pick, but their highest odds would have them drop down to the seventh-overall pick, as they have 41.4% odds of doing so.
The past few weeks for the Canadiens have been weird. They’ve played up to opponents, losing in overtime to both the Boston Bruins and Edmonton Oilers, but losing 5-2 to the Calgary Flames. Over their last two games, they’ve lost a game to the Vancouver Canucks, but beat the Seattle Kraken 5-1 on Sunday.
Over their next three games, they’ll face the Colorado Avalanche in Denver, before returning home and hosting the Philadelphia Flyers and Carolina Hurricanes. They’ll have a chance to move up a few spots, as the remainder of games are teams in a playoff position or just outside.

Ottawa Senators

Coming into the season, the expectations for the Ottawa Senators were to make the playoffs, as they traded their last two first-round picks for Alex DeBrincat and Jakob Chychrun. Unfortunately for them, they’ll miss out on the playoffs for the eighth-straight season and have 6.5% odds of landing the first-overall pick, but have the best odds of remaining at the seventh-overall pick at 44.4%.
The Senators had a brutal start to the season, but it’s pretty evident to see that they probably don’t belong this far down.  Over their last eight games, they are 5-3-0, with wins over the New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils, and the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday. Three straight wins came in extra time, while they also had a three-game losing streak against the Carolina Hurricanes (7-2), Boston Bruins (6-2) and St. Louis Blues (5-2).
Their next three games are against the Buffalo Sabres in Buffalo, Chicago Blackhawks in Ottawa, and the Winnipeg Jets in Winnipeg. They’ll also likely receive the Boston Bruins’ first-round pick unless Detroit goes further than the Bruins in the playoffs. This pick was received when the Red Wings landed DeBrincat.

Seattle Kraken

At one point during the season, the Seattle Kraken had a nine game win streak that was overshadowed by the Edmonton Oilers’ historic 16-game win streak. The Kraken are now on an eight-game losing streak. They have a 6% chance of moving up to the first-overall pick, but a 54.4% chance of remaining at the eighth-overall pick.
The Kraken’s eight-game losing streak hasn’t been pretty. Prior to the start of the skid, they were just six points out of a playoff spot held by the Vegas Golden Knights, but two losses to the other expansion team, as well as losses to the Montréal Canadiens and Arizona Coyotes have severely hindered their chances of making the playoffs, as they are now 14 points behind the Golden Knights.
Thankfully, they’ll have two games against the Anaheim Ducks, surprisingly hosting both on Tuesday and Thursday, before hosting the Dallas Stars on Saturday. They’ll face the Ducks three more times in total with only two games of their remaining 12 against teams situated in a playoff position.

Pittsburgh Penguins

This is a weird one, because the Pittsburgh Penguins aren’t guaranteed to have a first-round selection this upcoming draft due to the Erik Karlsson trade. If they pick in the top 10, which has a 98.3% chance of happening, that first-round pick is transferred to the 2025 draft. There’s also a higher chance of them moving up to the first-overall pick (5%) than dropping to the 11th-overall pick (1.7%), while their best odds are to pick ninth-overall (64.4%).
It’s been a rough month for the Penguins, as they are 3-8-2 with wins coming against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the San Jose Sharks, and a Dylan Larkin-less Detroit Red Wings. They are in the midst of a three game losing streak, losing to the New Jersey Devils, Dallas Stars, and Colorado Avalanche in overtime.
Over their next three games, they’ll host the Carolina Hurricanes and Blue Jackets, before heading to Columbus on Saturday. The Penguins are nine points back of their rivals, the Washington Capitals, with just 12 games to go for either team.

Buffalo Sabres

When you think of the National Hockey League draft lottery, two teams come to mind: The Edmonton Oilers who won four of six draft lotteries, as well as the Buffalo Sabres who have been in and around the lottery for years now. Usually, they’d be towards the beginning of the article, but the Sabres have a 3.5% chance of winning the lottery and a 73.3% chance of picking 10th-overall
It looked as if the Buffalo Sabres were on the cusp of breaking their 12-season postseason drought, as they were just three points out of a playoff position on Mar. 15. However, a 4-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings pushed them further away, as well as two losses to the Vancouver Canucks and the Oilers. Overall, they are 2-3 in their last five games, with a win against the Calgary Flames and Seattle Kraken.
Over their next three games, they’ll host the Ottawa Senators, New Jersey Devils, and the Toronto Maple Leafs. The first two are entirely winnable, but there’s little margin for error as they have just 10 games remaining, six points to make up, and four teams to jump, including the Devils.

Calgary Flames

Saving the best for last. The Flames actually have fewer points than the Sabres, but two fewer games played than them, meaning they have the same winning percentage. This gives the Flames the lowest odds of landing the first-overall pick at 3%, but have a 79.9% chance of picking 11th-overall (for the time being).
Prior to the trade deadline, it looked as if the Flames would hang around for a while, but after trading Noah Hanifin, they’ve gone 3-6-0 and are in the midst of a three-game losing streak. Two of those were against playoff teams in the Washington Capitals and Vancouver Canucks, but they lost a pretty winnable game against the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday.
Over their next three games, they’ll play against the Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues, and the Los Angeles Kings. The Blues are fighting for their lives as they sit four points behind the Vegas Golden Knights, while the Kings are three points behind the Edmonton Oilers and two ahead of the Golden Knights. Even the gimmie game with the Blackhawks could pose some troubles for the Flames, as they’ve lost four of the last five against the basement team.
Thanks for reading! As always, you can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D.
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