First unless your last name is ilitch the only # that matters is cap hit cuz that is what effects team building. Now to address the " floating". I'll agree I sometimes see mule not where he could be/ should be and I do see it as a lack of effort but for every mule float I see a cleary fall or a kronner bad clear so yeah his game isn't perfect but no one whos last name isn't lidstrom is.
The defense was mainly good because of Abdelkader and Cleary. The way they create space for the d-men is truly a joy to watch. Hope Babcock starts double-shifting them, with the legs and hearts they have 30-35 minutes per game shouldn't be a problem.
Rumour has it Murph uses them personally to create space for him to get hot dogs between periods too
Sucks to be the Blue Jackets. Oilers definitely building the same way Pittsburgh did, and its a bit irritating to watch. Play s***ty enough for 3 years, and you'll be a contender in 5 years (unless you have equally s***ty lottery luck ). I don't know what the alternative is, but kind of silly to think that the worst teams in the league - which ironically are there in the first place due to poor drafting and development - will always have a brighter future than bubble teams who compete and tread water.
Could the lottery be expanded, with similar scaling of odds, to include teams finishing 30-20 in points? That way, at least a bubble team that had a good showing, like Colorado or Winnipeg, can have a slim shot at obtaining a franchise-changing player that could propel them from mediocrity to contention in a single year, instead of allowing a team like Pittsburgh or Edmonton to go belly up for a half-decade, stockpile high picks, and be granted the 180 degree turnaround by default.