Making the Playoffs: Formula Devised for All Teams

Patrick OlsenContributor IIIFebruary 15, 2012

OTTAWA, ON - JANUARY 26:  The NHL logo is displayed during Fan Fair as part of NHL All Star weekend at the Ottawa Convention Centre on January 26, 2012 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The NHL standings are hard to predict since the shootout has been implemented. Three-point games make gaining ground near impossible; teams are only separated by a few points and as a result haven't been able to figure out if they are buyers or sellers by the deadline.

The good news is, after reviewing the standings over the past four years and seeing which teams could climb the standings and how many wins it would take, I have created a formula on what it takes to hurdle teams and make the playoffs.

W=P+Y. W being how many wins in a row it will take to catch the team they are trying to catch, P being how many points back and Y being how many teams are in between.

Take a team like Montreal—as they sit they are seven points back of the eighth-place Leafs. Using the formula with three teams in between looks like this. Wins straight=7+3 and there we have 10. The Canadiens will not win ten straight and as a result will not make the playoffs.

Maybe it is a bit obvious that the playoffs are not in the cards for the Canadiens this year, but how about a team like the Jets? They are four points out and have to pass Washington as well. I have doubts regarding their ability to win five straight and then continue to keep pace with the chasing teams.

Colorado is currently three points out, and using the formula they would need four straight wins to get to eighth. They should commit to being sellers.

Do this for any team you like—it works for all places in the standings, not just eighth. I've used this formula for four years and it remains fairly accurate. The only problem with it is that it must be used day-to-day.

If a team needing eight straight wins gets four in a row then loses, then you must use the formula again until it accomplishes the goal. When it does, the team will be in the position calculated most of the time.

Of course it is not 100 percent accurate, but it is close enough for me. It lets me make statements such as: Every team in the West 11th place and under will miss the playoffs this year, as will every team in the East 10th and under, with good accuracy. Let's wait and see if I am right.