A Canadian team hasn’t won the Stanley Cup since the Montreal Canadiens turned the trick in 1993.
That’s an awfully long time but for most fans of Canadian teams, being in the playoff race is enough to keep them buying tickets and watching on TV.
Now, let’s look at the probabilities. Every team enters a new NHL season with about a 54% chance of making the playoffs. Those are decent odds…better than you would get at the blackjack tables in Vegas.
So, how is it looking so far?
We can thank Sports Club Stats for an update on which fans of Canadian teams should still be holding out hope for a post season run.
Here are the odds for each Canadian team making the playoffs after Friday night action:
Vancouver – 83.5
Calgary – 77.2
Toronto – 68.2
Montreal – 67.7
Ottawa – 66.0
Winnipeg – 50.5
Edmonton – 8.7
Now, I think it’s probable that not all 6 of the 7 currently ranked as having an above even chance of getting into the playoffs will make it but the point remains that, for fans of 6 of those teams, there remains a reason to hope their team could be playing in late April.
I do have to wonder what keeps Oiler fans coming back year after dreary year for another round of abuse from their team’s management and trying to find some positives in a team that shows precious few signs of getting any close to the playoffs.
Here’s some food for thought.
Last season the Oilers finished the season with 67 points…this season they are on pace for 67 points.
Last season the Oilers scored 203 goals…this season they are on pace to score 207 goals.
Last season the Oilers surrendered 270 goals…this season they are on pace to give up 280 goals.
Last season the Oilers had a goal differential of -67…this season they are on pace for -72.
There are some factions in the Oiler fan base that are convinced the team is improving based not on results but on better shot metrics and, yes, the team is not being as severely outshot as they were last season, narrowing the gap from -6 shots per game last season to -1 this season…BUT…the Oilers have played 9 of their first 17 games against weaker EC opponents.
In the next 3 weeks, the Oilers face a schedule that sees them play 12 of 13 games against WC opponents.
We’ll come back to this on December 13th when that stretch ends and I’d wager any apparent “improvement” in shots metrics is long forgotten.