Monday, December 19, 2022

Weekend rankings: Pastrnak's next contract, Blues questions, the Hawks hit rock bottom, and the most mediocre five

One of my pet theories this year was that it would be a season of extremes. The loaded top of the 2023 draft, and the predictable tank war it would inspire, would clog the bottom of the standings with some of the worst records in recent history. And that would open the door to the league’s good teams to rack up even more points than usual, thanks to a steady stream of matchups with teams that weren’t even trying. We’d end up with a bunch of 110-plus point teams and a bunch of awful ones, and not much left in the mushy middle.

There’s still time for things to evolve that way. But so far, we’re not seeing that separation. While we’re seeing a clear group of six very bad teams at the bottom and almost as many very good ones, the middle is as mushy as ever. At one point on Saturday afternoon, there were six teams sitting at exactly .500. There’s a lot of mediocrity out there.

OK, let’s embrace that. Which of the NHL’s mediocre teams has been the most mediocre so far?

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