At the start of the season, I would have thought we’d be looking at Edmonton, Calgary and Anaheim has shoe-ins for the postseason as we start to make last-minute plans for Turkey Day? Instead? The Oilers look dead in the water, Anahiem is struggling to stay healthy, while the Flames are battling but starting to emerge from the bubble group.
We’ve reached the quarter point, and now it is time to reevaluate the playoff predictions. I’ll be doing it in a bit of a different way, however. What kind of different way? We’ll take a look at the team’s odds for the playoffs by percentage points, and reveal it in the order of the current standings.
Let’s get started, shall we?
NHL Playoff Predictions
Los Angeles Kings – 75%: I’d have the Kings a little higher (17-7-2, 26 points) but without Jeff Carter this team is really struggling to score and has fallen off a bit. Carter may not be back until around the trade deadline, which is a huge deal for this LA team. The Kings good start gives them some cushion, but if they can’t figure out the offense they could fall back in a big way. I have the mat 75% because I think they eventually will figure it out, but no guarantees with this group.
Vegas Golden Knights – 30%: Sorry, but I’m still not buying into the Golden Knights. Yes, they play hard and they play well within the system, but this team just doesn’t have the horses to keep this up. Eventually, they are going to fall of and fall out of things. Of course, there is a slight chance they prove everyone wrong and keep this rolling, but I don’t think it happens.
With the amount of pending UFA’s they have, I also still believe that Vegas’ management team is going to want to acquire assets at the deadline for these guys, they aren’t going to steer away from their plan. I’d still be stunned if this team made the postseason.
Calgary Flames – 80%: The Flames are, in my mind, the best team in the Pacific Division. Their depth scoring is starting to emerge, and their defense is playing better as of late. The one thing that could hold this team back? Goaltending. Eddie Lack has been flat out bad and I’m not sure if a team can ride Mike Smith for the long-term. If the Flames figure out the net, however, they are a team that can win the western conference.
Anaheim Ducks – 75%: The Ducks are banged up right now, but still have 21 points in the standings. As they get healthy, they’ll start to put winning streaks together and run away with a playoff spot. This team has really impressed me, and I think you have to give Randy Carlyle a big tip of the cap for the job he has done thus far.
Remember, this team is without Ryan Kesler, Ryan Getzlaf and Cam Fowler right now. They are poised for a HUGE second half of the season.
Vancouver Canucks – 35%: If I had to pick one of the surprising teams to make the playoffs, I’d take Vancouver over Vegas. They still have some decent veterans on the roster and the young players on this team have taken a much larger role this season than many people expected. The goaltending hasn’t been bad, and Travis Green has the Canucks playing a damn competitive style.
I don’t think they have the horses to make the postseason, but the way they play is going to at least keep them in the race late into the season.
San Jose Sharks – 47%: I don’t know what to think about this San Jose team. I think they’ll be in the chase for a wild card spot, but there are really holes on this team. The Sharks’ top players are still an elite group, but their secondary scoring has been poor this season and their defense isn’t producing the way they expected them too. With the lack of a legit backup goaltender, Martin Jones is going to have to carry the load yet again. There isn’t much room for error with this team.
Edmonton Oilers – 10%: Oh how the mighty have fallen. Peter Chiarelli’s inexplicably bad off-season severely crippled the Oilers, who look to have a woefully inadequate roster at this stage of the season. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are still producing, but there are few bright spots outside of that. The Oilers have absolutely no secondary scoring, and their defense has been inadequate after Chiarelli failed to replace the injured Andrej Sekera. Cam Talbot has taken a step back and here we are. Shockingly, I’ll be stunned if the Oilers make the postseason this year.
You have to think the first firing is going to come from Northern Alberta, because the product Peter Chiarelli has put onto the ice simply isn’t acceptable.
Arizona Coyotes – 0%: Pack it up in the desert, this season is over. The Coyotes are just 4-15-3 and have only one regulation victory on the season. They aren’t getting the saves needed from Antti Raanta and simply aren’t getting much veteran production anywhere in the lineup. Clayton Keller has been a huge bright spot for this team, but that’s about it.
The good news? The Coyotes’ AHL outfit in Tucson is an elite team in that league and has a lot of top prospects in key roles. The future still looks bright in Arizona, but the present is quite grim. Best case scenario for the Yotes? Dump some of these veterans off and get another top-three pick to add to the stable of talent they are building.
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