Tonight is the Leafs’ final game of the 2015-16 season, and the team is exactly where we thought they would be – dead last in the standings.
Are we mad? Not at all. A season in the basement of the NHL was pretty much promised to us by front office and coaching staff alike. “Pain,” they said. Some nights have been difficult to watch, but I have to say, I’ve felt little pain this year. I was explicitly told what to expect this year, and why I should accept it and embrace the tank. There’s no surprises here.
Ok, well, there is one surprise – how godawful the Edmonton Oilers have been.
In a season where the Leafs should have sunk to the bottom of the league by themselves, the Oilers find themselves right there with Toronto. Tied for 29th in the league with 67 points, tonight’s game has massive draft lottery implications. The last place team receives a 20% chance of winning the lottery and the opportunity to draft clear-cut top prospect Auston Matthews. The second-last place team gets a 13.5% chance. Either way, the odds are severely against you, but there’s no getting around the fact that finishing 29th instead of 30th cuts your odds nearly in half.
If Toronto wins tonight and Edmonton loses in regulation or in extra time, the Leafs finish 29th.
If Toronto picks up the same amount of points tonight as Edmonton (they both win or both get pity points), then Toronto finishes in 30th due to the Oilers’ greater wins totals.
And of course, if Toronto loses in regulation, they secure last place.
So, New Jersey, how you doin’?
Leo Komarov is back, but I doubt he becomes a one-man wrecking crew and torpedoes the tank. This team looks like a loser, and that’s great.
Good Luck, Tank Nation
It’s almost over.