Well, with last night's 2-1 loss to the New York Islanders, the Oilers sit comfortably in that second overall spot, confident that no matter what happens they are guaranteed a top-three pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
The numbers look fairly solid: Carolina has a six-point cushion against us, while we do remain only four points back of the y-axis breaking Sabres for that coveted last spot (guaranteed prize: either Eichel or McDavid, the Malkin/Ovechkin top picks combo).
Upcoming games feature the Habs, Senators, Jets, Bruins, Devan Dubnyk, Ducks, Wild, Blues, Kings, Blackhawks, Hurricanes, Red Wings, Penguins, and Columbus. Ouch. The bright spot of that schedule is Columbus followed by a Maple Leafs rematch.
Buffalo's schedule is a little kinder, but not a whole lot (and when you're Buffalo-bad, it matters little): Flyers twice, Devils, Rangers, Predators, Blue Jackets, Canucks, Panthers, Lightning, Senators, Capitals, and the Leafs.
Still, without catching Buffalo, the Oilers can't be guaranteed a top-two pick (currently ranked third overall is Noah Hanifin who is a big step down from Eichel, while fourth overall is McDavid's teammate Dylan Strome and we know what drafting a top pick's teammate looks like, the results can be underwhelming).
Today the Oilers officially put Taylor Hall (and Benoit Pouliot) on the injured reserve which certainly helps the team race to the bottom: they are the team's 3rd and 6th leading scorers, with Pouliot 3rd in the team for goals despite only playing 33/55 games.
Update, 10:51pm: Buffalo was a little worried about the Oilers catching up to them, I see: they traded away one of their better players, Tyler Myers, and in return get Evander friggin' Kane...next season, long after the tanking for Connor has been wrapped up. Expect the Sabres to wallow below 40 points until at least Easter Monday.
Your #LoseAllHonourforConnor update
Feynman and Coulter's Love Child