Trade Deadline – Monday March 1st 2015
As we approach the deadline, currently 5 days away, the race for the bottom is becoming extremely nerve racking, and is more exciting than a playoff push. It’s currently a 5 team race and all teams have a legitimate shot at finishing last to help make their chances the highest for the coveted 1st Pick of 2015. 12 points separate 30th place Buffalo Sabres and 26th place Toronto Maple Leafs and the Maple Leafs hold a game in hand.
With 21 games remaining for the last place Sabres, Buffalo needs to be careful down the stretch to not ruin their chances. Michael Neuvirth has been on fire since the Jhonas Enroth trade, 2-2-2 record stopping 220 out of a possible 231 shots. That’s a ridiculous 0.952 save percentage! Be careful Tim Murray, I know you are showcasing him to hopefully ship him off at the deadline, but no need to ruin the team’s chances at last place.
The Oilers have 20 games remaining, and are 5 points back of the Sabres. The extra game played is an Oiler advantage, as that allows Buffalo another chance at points. Edmonton is 4-5-1 in their last 10 and is playing decent hockey. Since the firing of Dallas Eakins (December 15th *31 games played since) the Oilers have a record of 11-15-5, which isn’t going to help secure a bottom position. Edmonton needs to be careful and make the necessary moves to lock up a one of the last 2 spots in the race.
Coyotes have 21 games remaining and are currently 6 points back of the Sabres, and 1 point back of the Oilers. Arizona has been horrible of late, losers of 7 straight and a record of 1-8-1 in their last 10. Arizona would be wise to continue to play net minder Mike Smith, who is no where near the goalie the team had thought he was last year. Arizona should be active at the deadline, moving a few pieces to help their race for the bottom.
The Hurricanes are 10 points back of the Buffalo Sabres with 23 games remaining, 5 points back of the Oilers, and 4 points back of the Coyotes. The extra games could be harmful, as those games are extra opportunities to acquire costly points. Carolina has wisely started their firesale, and shipped off Tlusty and Sekera to help aid their decline. The Hurricanes have been playing better of late, with a record of 5-4-1 in their last 10 and decent goalie play from Cam Ward.
The Final team for the race for the bottom, is the Toronto Maple Leafs. Toronto is in a complete nose-dive, and has already started its firesale. After a historic losing streak, the Maple Leafs are 2-7-1 in their last 10 and look to be in trouble. Since they fired Randy Carlyle (January 6th 2015 *20 games) the Maple Leafs are a pathetic 3-15-2. That’s quite the recipe to put yourself in the battle for the bottom. Toronto should continue to blow things up at the deadline to increase their chances at last place.
Keep checking back in to McEichel.com to stay up to date on the race for the bottom