Welcome back to our weekly column Despair For Lafreniere. In just its second edition, we have a new leader of the pack to discuss.
In case you missed our debut, you can read it here. We will track the teams most in the hunt or on the verge of the hunt of being in the Alexis Lafreniere sweepstakes. We are starting to see some early separation at the bottom of the standings. Some were expected to be here. Others not so much.
Each week, we will list teams in two groups. The first group will be the honorable mentions of the week. Then we will count down from five to one the teams closest to the bottom of the standings and provide some analysis. Without further ado, let’s see how the rankings look in Volume Two.
The Honorable Mentions
- Dallas Stars (8-8-2) and Tampa Bay Lightning (8-5-2): Each of these teams have 18 points, but the Lightning are on the upswing. They swept the Buffalo Sabres in Sweden. I expect this to be the last week we’ll see them on this list. They’re a contender. As for the Stars, I feel like they’re not going to last here long either. New players are starting to find their way. This has the look of at least a playoff team.
- New York Rangers (7-6-2): The Rangers played four games last week going a respectable 2-1-1. After a brutal loss to Ottawa, they came back and defeated Detroit and Carolina before losing in a shootout to Florida. Their success will depend on how much progress their youth make.
- Chicago Blackhawks (6-7-4): A 3-1-1 stretch has them out of the bottom five. Robin Lehner and Corey Crawford shouldn’t ever have to buy a meal this season given the number of shots they see every night.
- Columbus Blue Jackets (6-8-3): The Blue Jackets have major issues and are on a collision course for the bottom five. They called Elvis Merzlikins back from Cleveland after Joonas Korpisalo couldn’t control his emotions during their game in Denver. Major offensive stars are nowhere to be found. The only good news is that they’re only six points out of the playoffs. This is truly do or die time.
- San Jose Sharks (7-10-1): The Sharks have won three straight games. They also have winnable games this week. The arrow is pointing up so long as they get average goaltending.
Despair for Lafreniere Rankings
5. New Jersey Devils (5-7-4)
The Devils remain in this spot this week after a 2-2 week. With eight of their next 12 at home, now is their chance to make up some important ground. They could get out of the Metro basement with a good week. Oh and Jack Hughes is starting to figure it out.
4. Ottawa Senators (6-9-1)
The Senators enjoyed a 3-1 week showing us that you cannot look past them. Brady Tkachuk is a stud. Anders Nilsson had a great week. At least there are some important good signs for the future. But their outlook has them remaining down here.
3. Minnesota Wild (6-10-1)
The Wild had a 2-1 week last week with wins in Anaheim and in Arizona. They’ve been better but I don’t expect much improvement moving forward.
2. Detroit Red Wings (6-12-1)
Hockey in a nutshell. The Red Wings were hammered 6-1 by Nashville and 5-1 by the New York Rangers. Then they defeat Boston 4-2 and Vegas 3-2. This is another reason betting on hockey is a questionable adventure.
It’s the Red Wings’ turn to travel to California. I can’t imagine sustained success. But then again I thought they were a shoe-in for an 0-4 week. Ok I’ll be quiet about them now.
1. Los Angeles Kings (5-11-1)
Welcome to the head of the class, Kings! An all losing week has them in 31st place. They’ve played noticeably better but when you have a talent gap like they do, they get these results. But they do have nine of their next 12 at Staples Center including three this week. There’s too much pride in that room to tank. They will get some wins but it’s still trending to be a very long season. At least another stud is forthcoming next year. And have you seen Arthur Kaliyev terrorizing OHL goalies?
Alexis Lafreniere Stats
Eyes on the prize folks. Here are Lafreniere’s stats as of the morning of Nov 11, 2019.
- 13-32-45 in 20 games.
See you next week for more Despair for Lafreniere.