The Pens currently have 34 points. With 26 games remaining in the year, that leaves 52 points left for the taking. In order to eclipse our season totals for 2003-04, we need to take 25 of the remaining 52 points.
St. Louis has 34 points, but they also have 28 games left to play. Chicago is currently seven points ahead of the Pens and Blues.
My point? Barring a late-season run like we saw in 2003-04, this is a two-horse race for worst place, kids. I don't know if this team is capable of stealing 25 more points this year.
I'm torn on the issue of whether we should be secretly hoping for them to lose. I've heard those who argue against the losing say that it's pointless to keep gunning for last place because the lottery doesn't guarantee the first overall pick even if you finish last. True, but only to a point...
The lottery guarantees one thing to the last-place team, and that is nothing worse than the second overall pick.
Think back to the 2004 Entry Draft. One additional win down the stretch of the 2003-04 season could've very well meant that Cam Barker is putting on a Pens jersey on draft day instead of Evgeni Malkin. How much would that win have meant now if that were the case?
I want the team to play hard and I don't think that'll be too difficult with some of the kids on this current roster. I hope they win. I really do. But I also like the idea of the franchise finishing with one of the top two picks in the draft as opposed to the third, fourth or fifth overall pick.