a·cu·men [ak-yuh-muhn] noun: keen insight; shrewdness

Welcome to Oil Acumen. All Oilers, all the time... Occasionally other stuff.

Monday, 14 November 2011

11/13/11 Who's Going To Make It?

The Edmonton Oilers have played 17 games this season and find themselves in playoff position. Here is a look at last season's standings after 17 games from all the teams in the West, and who ended up in an out of the playoffs.

The actual standings at the end of last year were as follows:

1) Vancouver
2) San Jose
3) Detroit
4) Anaheim
5) Nashville
6) Phoenix
7) Los Angeles
8) Chicago
9) Dallas
10) Calgary
11) St. Louis
12) Minnesota
13) Columbus
14) Colorado
15) Edmonton

However, after each team had played 17 games last year the standings would have looked something like this:

1) Detroit 12-3-2 -- 26 Points*
2) Los Angeles 12-5-0 -- 24 Points*
3) Vancouver 10-4-3 -- 23 Points*
4) Columbus 11-6-0 -- 22 Points
6) San Jose 9-5-3 -- 21 Points*
7) St. Louis 9-5-3 -- 21 Points
7) Dallas 10-7-0 -- 20 Points
8) Minnesota 9-6-2 -- 20 Points
9) Anaheim 9-7-1 -- 19 Points*
10) Colorado 9-7-1 -- 19 Points
11) Nashville 8-6-3 -- 19 Points*
12) Phoenix 7-5-5 -- 19 Points*
13) Chicago 8-8-1 -- 17 Points*
14) Calgary 7-10-0 -- 14 Points
15) Edmonton 4-10-3 -- 11 Points

What can we learn from this? The teams with an asterisk beside them made the playoffs. That means that only half the teams that were in playoff position after they had all played 17 games actually made the playoffs. Of the teams that were out of playoff position after 17 games, none made the playoffs if they were more than 3 points out. No team that was below .500 made the playoffs.

Columbus dropped the farthest, having gone 11-6-0 to start the season and earning 22 points (64.7 points percentage), but winning just 23-29-13 in their next 65 games (45.4 points percentage) and finishing in 13th place.

St. Louis's record was tied with that of San Jose, but the Sharks finished 18 points higher in the standings by year's end. Despite strong starts to the season, the Blues and Jackets were only 2 and 3 points ahead of the 9th place team respectively.

Below is a look at this year's standings so far. Which of these teams are likely to maintain their strong starts, and which teams will fall off?

We can be fairly certain that over the course of the season Los Angeles and Vancouver will make the post-season. That means that at least two teams that are currently in the top 8 have got to come out. If last year's trend continues, and no team that is more than 3 points out of the playoffs at this point makes them at the end, that means Calgary, Anaheim and Columbus are finished. That leaves 12 teams fighting for 8 spots, and we know that Chicago, Vancouver, Detroit, San Jose and Los Angeles are almost certain to make it. Therefore there are 7 teams going after 3 playoff spots.

Which teams will those be? And will the Oilers be among them? Edmonton's 20 points is good for fourth in the West right now, but the team is only 3 points removed from 12th. The good news is that the Oilers have made it much, much easier on themselves to make the playoffs this year than last, but there is still a lot of work to do.

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