blank'/> THE PUCK REPORT: 2010 NHL Playoff Projections - 25 Games Played

Monday, December 7, 2009

2010 NHL Playoff Projections - 25 Games Played

Hockey guru Ken Holland submits that the NHL playoff picture sharpens come U.S. Thanksgiving. Having completed their 25th game, representing 30 percent of the schedule, it's plain to see that some of this season's turkeys are already cooked.

Projected 2010 NHL Playoff Picture At 25 Games
-Team: -W--Pts--Pace--------------Team:--W--Pts--Pace
1. NJD: -17--35---1.40''''''''''''''''''''''''1. SJS:--16--36---1.44
2. PIT: -'17--34---1.36''''''''''''''''''''''''2. CHI:-'16--35---1.40
3. BUF: -16-'34---1.36''''''''''''''''''''''''3. CGY:-16--35---1.40
4. WAS: 14--34---1.36''''''''''''''''''''-''4. COL:-14--32---1.28
5. ATL: -14--31---'1.24''''''''''''''''''''''''5. NSH:-15--31---1.24
6. OTT: -13--30--'1.20''''''''''''''''''''-''6. LAK:-'14-'30---1.20
7. BOS: -12--29---1.16'''''''''''''''''''''''''7. DAL:-'11--29---1.16
8. TBL: -10--28---1.12'''''''''''''''''''''''-8. VAN:-14-'28---1.12
9. -PHI: -13--27--1.08''''''''''''''''''''''''9. DET:''-12-'28---1.12
10. NYR: 13''-27--1.08''''''''''''''''''''''10. CLB:''-12-'28---1.12
11. MTL: 12'--25--1.00'''''''''''''''''''''''11. PHO:-'13-'27---1.08
12. NYI: -9''--25--1.00'''''''''''''''''''''''12. STL:''-10-'25---1.00
13. FLA: 10'--24--0.96'''''''''''''''''''''''13. ANA:'-10-'24--'0.96
14. TOR: 6''--19-'-0.76'''''''''''''''''''''''14. EDM:-10-'23--'0.92
15. CAR: '5''--15-'-0.60'''''''''''''''''''''''15. MIN:'-10-'23--'0.92

For playoff purpose the most telling statistic is the pace at which teams are collecting points. To put these figures in perspective the chart below offers a historical view of requisite wins, points, and points per game needed to qualify for the postseason since the NHL lockout, including the pace of prior Presidents' Trophy winners.

Regular Season Points Needed For NHL Playoffs
2009: 41-'-93--''1.13'''''''''''''41-'-91-''-1.11'''''''''''''117-'-1.43
2008: 41'--94-''-1.15'''''''''''''41-'-94'--1.15'''''''''''''115-'-1.40
2007: 40-'-92''--1.12''''''''''''43-'-96'--1.17'''''''''''''113--'1.39
2006: 42-'-92-''-1.12'''''''''''''41'--95'--1.16''''''''''''124-'-1.51

Assuming a 94 point cutoff to qualify for the 2010 NHL playoffs, teams need to collect an average of 1.15 points per game. Those currently meeting or exceeding this marker are safe to merely maintain. Those lagging behind must improve over the final 57 games.

Points Needed In Final 57 Games
Team:-Pts--Pace------Team: Pts-'-Pace
TBL:'''''66 --1.16''''''''''''VAN:--66-'-'1.16

Unless Carolina musters 1.39 points per game for the remainder, besting the 25 game gait of the Capitals and Penguins and matching the Sabres league leading effort of 2007, they won't be skating beyond April 11th.

The shadows are also falling on Toronto. Barring Kessel magically morphing into Crosby the Leafs will likely again miss the postseason, extending their consecutive failings to five.

With 57 games to play it's no dark yet. But for some, it's getting there.