Weekly through the season as of games ending on Sunday night, On Goal Analysis will now produce a Non-Traditional Market Team Report so you, the fan, can understand how your favorite Non-Traditional team is playing against the rest of the League.
This week’s (first) report is for games ending Sunday, 12 December 2010.
The NHL as a Whole
At OGA, we measure teams’ play against the rest of the clubs in their Conference in order to determine their probability of making (Chasing Stanley) or missing (Tee Time) the 2011 Playoffs. Since the Lockout, our overall record is just shy of 90% in calling teams IN or OUT of the playoffs at an average of more than 90 days before the mathematical call.
The NHL as a whole is averaging 16.333 wins/about 33 points per team. That's an average winning percentage of .556.
At the same time the top eight teams in the East are averaging 19.25 wins/just over 38 points/a .631 winning percentage; the West is at a 17.5 wins/35 points/.625 winning percentage. (Note the West has played 10 less games than the East at this point.)
Projecting average points for current eighth place teams out to 82 games, the East and West would require right at 96 points for 8th place.
But It’s Not Quite That Simple
Teams, however, will not continue to play at the same pace they currently do. Every season, and just about every team, is full of peaks and valleys. So OGA produces it’s Playoff Power Projections (The P3) to attempt to determine as far out as possible how the NHL stacks up.
Since our emphasis is Non-Traditional Teams (CAR, FLA, ATL, TBL, CBJ, NSH, DAL, PHX, ANA, LAK and SJS) in this report and they cross Conference boundaries, we stack up their P3 numbers with all teams in the NHL as a whole.
As of Sunday, 12 December, The P3 looks like this (Non-Traditional Teams are in bold while other teams on eiter side of them in rank order display their P3 for reference):
PIT, PHI, BOS, and VAN
PHX and NSH (99.571)
CBJ and STL (96.642)
SJS and COL (96.138)
CGY, TOR, NJD and NYI
So Non-Traditional Teams fall between #7 and #25 in rank order, or in the middle 2/3 of the NHL.
Drilling Down A Little Further
Here's some more specifics about our 11 Non-Traditional teams' current status:
DAL is #7 in The P3. They sit atop the Pacific Division and are currently in third place in current NHL standings. They also are not yet Chasing Stanley, but are knocking on the door with their best Playoff Qualifying Curve (PQC) ranking since the 2006/7 season.
The LAK are #8 behind DAL in The P3. They are currently last in the Pacific Division and sit in 10th place in the Western Conference standings, one scant win away from a Top Eight position. OGA called them Chasing Stanley at Game 19 (G19) on 21 November, and at only G27 right now, they have an opportunity to get to G30 higher in terms of PQC than any season since the Lockout at the same point in the season.
PHX and NSH follow WSH tied in The P3 at #10. For this pair, give the slight nod to PHX with 13 regulation wins to NSH’s 10. PHX currently sits in third place in the Pacific Division while NSH is the same in the Central, and they are sixth and seventh in Western Conference standings respectively. If PHX wins G29 and G30, they will eclipse their previous best at G30 since the Lockout. NSH closing out the G30 furlong with those same two wins will be at their best since 2006/7.
TBL is #12 in The P3. They are in second place in the Southeast and seventh in Eastern Conference standings. OGA called them Chasing Stanley at G10 on 29 October. They hit the G30 mark barely shy of their previous best PQC from 2005/6.
CBJ is #13 in terms of The P3. They are fourth in the Central Division/11th in the Western Conference standings fighting tie breakers with two other teams. OGA called them Chasing Stanley at G19 on 22 November. At only G28, they are tied with the 2009/10 version of the Blue Jackets for their best G30 start since the Stoppage.
SJS is #15 in The P3. They sit fourth in the Pacific Division and ninth in the Western Conference, tied with three other teams in tie-breakers for the final playoff position. They are off their normal mark in terms of play and will hit the G30 mark with a PQC that is only ahead of their 2005/6 season.
ATL’s P3 places them in the #17 position. They are third in the Southeast Division and eighth in the Eastern Conference with a bit of a lead over the ninth place holder. They hit the G30 mark tied with the 2009/10 version of the Thrashers for their best 30-game start since the Lockout.
ANA is #20 in The P3. Seemingly out of oblivion, they have risen to second in the Pacific Division behind a DAL tie-breaker and fourth in the Western Conference. Their play has been sporadic, and they actually hit G30 tied for their second worst start since Lockout.
CAR’s P3 rests at #22. They are fourth in the Southeast Division and ninth in the Eastern Conference. At G28, two wins to close out the G30 could place them in the best shape they have been in since 2007/8’s PQC.
And FLA is #25 in The P3. They are last in the Southeast Division and 12th in the Eastern Conference. They are pushing Tee Time, but have not yet made it to that point in their season. At G28 right now, closing out the G30 with two wins could have them barely behind their best start since the Lockout.
Rolling It Up
It is a combination of The P3 and the PQC that allows On Goal Analysis to predict as early as possible whether a team will be IN or OUT of the playoffs and their potential, final standings. While many would have you believe the Non-Traditional Teams are inferior to the rest, the 11 actually sit in the middle 2/3 of the League in terms of their 2010/11 potential with three teams OGA has called Chasing Stanley, or already poised to enter the 2011 Playoffs, and none of them have been eliminated from contention yet.
The Non-Traditional Market, which has spawned no less than four California, one Arizona and one Texas invitee to join the 2011 Team USA World Junior roster, is a force to be reckoned with.