NHL Standings Basement Arms Race:Leafs, Oilers, Coyotes, Sabres

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What to Expect from the Leafs, Oilers, Coyotes & Sabres

In comparison, the Oilers have the most elite level talent of the group. The Sabres have the second most elite talent, but they have the most depth from a large number of second round picks. The Oilers and Sabres also appear ready to emerge from the bottom of the league this season. What holds these two teams back from being labeled contenders are the similar challenges on defense and in net. They both have a young defensive core that will need to develop further in order to make the playoffs. In addition, both teams have goaltenders that need to prove themselves as starters this season.

In comparison, the Leafs and Coyotes are still early in their rebuilds. The Coyotes should be more competitive this season, and may not require a full turnover of its roster. That being said I do not expect a huge improvement in the standings. If that is the case I expect the Coyotes to continue to trade veterans for prospects and draft picks once again. The Leafs will continue to be very aggressive in trading veterans and I think that they are already focused on drafting high for 2016. I expect the Leafs to finish last in the league for 2015-16.

Draft pedigree of skaters in each team’s system under 25 years old:

1st Overall Top 5 Top 10 1st Round 2nd Round Rounds 1 & 2
Coyotes 0 1 3 9 7 16
Leafs 0 2 4 9 6 15
Oilers 4 6 7 9 3 12
Sabres 0 4 5 8 9 18

Next: NHL 2015-16 Season Projected Rankings

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