10. Florida Panthers
With the entire Western Conference out of the way, the bottom six will be made up entirely of the Eastern Conference team without a direct impact on Ottawa. The best possible option of these six then is Florida.
The Panthers aren’t all that good: they would have fallen short of the playoffs if it weren’t for the qualifiers, their $70 million goalie Sergei Bobrovsky has been a bust so far in year one, and with Mike Hoffman and Evegnii Dadonov set to hit the open market, there’s little reason to expect them to be any better next season. So if Lafrenière spends the next decade in Florida, that shouldn’t have catastrophic impacts on Ottawa’s Cup chances over the next decade.