What is each team's probability of making the playoffs this season?

Sam Mercier
October 11 2016 03:00PM

As the fans of the Colorado Avalanche can probably attest, a team can ice a very similar lineup for two consecutive seasons, and yet finish at a very different position in the standings. On average, since 2005-2006, the season-to-season variation of the number of points obtained by NHL teams is of 11. A model of consistency like the Red Wings, which have not finished two consecutive seasons during the last decade with a greater difference than 10 points, represents the exception, not the norm.

When we spoke a couple of weeks ago, we quantified that approximately 40% of the season-to-season variation of the number of points obtained by an NHL team is attributed to that big and abstract concept we call luck. This luck factor includes everything that can hardly be controlled by teams, such as injuries, a bad schedule and missed calls by the officials. The remaining 60% of the season-to-season variation of the number of points is caused by a real change in the underlying quality of the team.

Now that we have split that luck vs quality contribution, there is one nice little thing we can do: from the number of points that each team obtained last season, estimate the probability that they will make the playoffs in 2016-2017. We will quantify that probability using a technique called Monte Carlo simulation.

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NHLNumbers Season Preview: Power Rankings No.10-6

Cam Lewis
October 11 2016 01:26PM

These are very good. As long as nothing terrible happens, these teams will be playing meaningful games in May, and if everything goes well, into June. They boast elite talent, and have much more positive going on than holes to dissect. They aren't quite the top of the class, but this is where the discussion of true contenders begins. These are teams 10-6 on the NHLN poker rankings. 

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Watch The Game: Episode 3 NHL Season Preview

Watch The Game Podcast
October 11 2016 01:02PM


On Episode 3, NHLnumbers daddy Cam Lewis makes his debut to talk about the upcoming NHL season as a whole.

We're now on iTunes (newest episode should be up soon if not updated yet!) 

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Underrated Talent on Waiver Wire with Pulkkinen, Griffith and Parenteau

Jacob Stoller
October 10 2016 04:15PM


It's quite rare to see not one, not two but potentially three top-nine calibre forwards placed on waivers. Many eyebrows seemed to be raised when Teemu Pulkkinen, Seth Griffith and PA Parenteau all ended up on waivers this morning. But a day before NHL rosters must be finalized and cap compliant, three intriguing players have made their way to the waiver wire and likely will get claimed which will surely lead to more roster shuffling before opening night. 

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NHLNumbers Season Preview: Power Rankings No. 15-11

Cam Lewis
October 10 2016 01:25PM

Now we're beginning to inch towards the contenders. These are playoff teams. Well, they should be, so long as everything goes according to plan. These are teams with the upside to do some damage in the playoffs, but they're far enough from sure things that it's just as easy to visualize them on the outside looking in. These are teams 15-11 on the NHLN power rankings. 

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