a·cu·men [ak-yuh-muhn] noun: keen insight; shrewdness

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Friday, 14 October 2011

10/15/11 The Best of Both Worlds

On one hand, everyone wants to see the Oilers improve this year. On the other hand, one more lottery pick wouldn't hurt; especially if it was a defenseman. So how many wins can the Oilers improve by and still end up in the lottery? Let's take a gander, shall we?

To many fans and analysts, another lottery pick seems almost assured for the Oilers. It's a difficult notion to argue, and it could end up being for the best, but it's hard to fathom how dreadful another season like the last two would be. It would be nice to see them do better than 25 wins. In the picture above, we can see that the 26th place Ottawa Senators finished 2010-11 with a record of 32-40-10, which is 7 more wins than Edmonton had last year. Seven more wins would be very welcome in Edmonton, and even with those Ottawa finished comfortably inside lottery position.

Over the last ten seasons, the average point total of the team finishing 26th in the NHL was 73.1 points. However, the parity of the NHL has changed things since the lockout. In 2005-06 the Boston Bruins finished 26th and had just 29 wins. The next year, Chicago finished 26th with 31 wins. The year after that, the Islanders finished 26th and had 35 wins. From 2007-08 to 2009-10 the three teams that finished 26th each had 79 points, and since the lockout the average point total of 26th place teams was 76 points. For the Oilers that would represent an improvement of 14 points over last season, or around 7 more games in the W column.

For the Oilers to improve this season by 6-10 wins would - sadly - be a morale boost for the fans. It's not an unrealistic expectation, and it would still leave the Oilers in a position to hit the Draft Lottery. Even if they don't win the lottery, the Oilers will still be able to draft an impact player.

The fact is that the Oilers will be lucky to finish 10 wins ahead of where they were last year, so this article may seem silly by the end of the season. But the Oilers really can improve and still be big players at the draft.

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