2012 NHL Playoff Push: How Fantasy Hockey Meets Eliminating of NHL Teams

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2012 NHL Playoff Push: How Fantasy Hockey Meets Eliminating of NHL Teams
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Steven Stamkos might have to ask for goals with their depleted goaltending.

 

Sometimes it is just a lot of fun when you break the numbers down easily.  Tonight we do this for a reason as we look at the magic golfing numbers with a fantasy twist.  Now please keep in mind that these numbers are as of the games before March 8th.  Let's look at the Eastern Conference first.

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Eastern

Rank Team GP W L OT PTS GF GA L10 Streak
1 NY Rangers 65 42 16 7 91 180 137 5-3-2 Lost 1
2 Boston 65 39 23 3 81 214 154 4-5-1 Won 1
3 Florida 65 31 22 12 74 163 184 4-5-1 Won 1
4 Pittsburgh 66 40 21 5 85 212 170 8-2-0 Won 7
5 Philadelphia 65 37 21 7 81 213 193 6-4-0 Won 3
6 New Jersey 66 37 24 5 79 184 176 5-4-1 Won 1
7 Ottawa 68 35 25 8 78 209 201 7-3-0 Won 1
8 Winnipeg 67 32 27 8 72 176 187 6-2-2 Won 2

9 Washington 66 32 28 6 70 175 188 4-5-1 OT 1
10 Buffalo 67 31 28 8 70 166 188 7-1-2 Won 1
11 Tampa Bay 66 31 29 6 68 187 226 7-3-0 Lost 1
12 Toronto 67 30 30 7 67 200 209 2-7-1 Lost 2
13 NY Islanders 66 28 29 9 65 155 195 4-5-1 Won 2
14 Carolina 67 25 27 15 65 177 203 4-2-4 OT 1
15 Montreal 67 25 32 10 60 174 189 2-7-1 Lost 2
Just another case of a one goal loss for Montreal.

 

It still is weird to see the mere fact that the Montreal Canadiens are dead last in the East.  We throw out the goal differentials and home/away record for this reason.......just the graphic itself with the stats above is enough.  At this moment ladies and gentlemen, the current projection to make the playoffs or nab the eight seed in the East should be.......

 

90

 

That is what it should take anyway.  So what is the magic golfing number for some teams.  Well let's get down to those ugly numbers.  Again these do not take into account tonight's results.  This is simply a snapshot for hockey and fantasy hockey purposes.  And yes we add in projected records to make the playoffs as well.  The elimination number reflects regulation losses.

 

EASTERN CONFERENCE:

  • 9. Washington -- 9-5-2 :  6
  • 10. Buffalo -- 9-4-2  : 6
  • 11. Tampa Bay -- 10-4-2 : 6 
  • 12. Toronto -- 11-3-1 :  4
  • 13. NY Islanders -- 12-3-1 : 4
  • 14. Carolina -- 12-2-1 : 3
  • 15. Montreal -- ELIMINATED
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
If Michael Grabner could only convert those chances.....

 

There you have that.  The key numbers is when you look at some of the awful goal differentials as you get further and further down the standings.  Montreal is a -15 amazingly because they lose more one goal games than anyone in the East.  However, Florida leads the Southeast and yet has a -21 differential.  The Southeast as a whole has not played all that well.  Washington was a -6 going into the night while Tampa was a -39 and Carolina at a -26.  Winnipeg is a -11 by the way.  Now the Islanders are a whopping -40 yet right near .500 because when they lose they get blown out and usually when they win, it is razor close.

The Isles are an interesting case however and something that merits a deeper look for fantasy purposes.  When you take a look at their first line and then peak into the secondary scoring, it has been like taking a long walk off a short pier all year.  Matt Moulson has 56 points (lowest on first line) and after that the next forward has 33 points (Frans Nielsen).  Oh by the way, the first line combined is a +1 on the season.  Travis Hamonic is their most responsible defenseman and does have some scoring potential down the road but not really this year (15 points, +7).  Mark Streit is not the same player he was before the shoulder injury and though he has 35 points, the defensive acumen he once had is just not there at all.

Speaking of that secondary scoring, Michael Grabner has  25 points and misses more breakaways than any player in the NHL.  Nino Niederreiter is a fourth line guy who is too slow right now for the NHL and needed to play another year in the AHL to continue that development (1 point in 41 games, -18).  The depth just cannot produce no matter how many combinations are trotted out there.  It comes down to those who shop for the groceries so while the first line is going to thrive in the playoff push, the rest of the team is ultimately what will let this team and fantasy teams down.  This is a team with so much potential and yet many will disagree but for fantasy, the New York Islanders have mostly underachieved as a group even with pretty nice goaltending.

Mathieu's Garon's injury does not make Tampa fans jump for joy.

 

The one team that absolutely has to play balls to the wall is Tampa with the injury to Mathieu Garon.  Garon will be out 3-4 weeks with a groin injury and he was the one goalie that the Bolts could somewhat rely on so that Tampa would not have to score 4 or 5 goals night in and night out to win.  Steven Stamkos throws the numbers off a bit because he has a whopping 20 more points than Martin St. Louis which means he can generate his own offense.  Anything in the +15 or more means they excel at that.  The drop from Teddy Purcell to Vincent Lecavalier and Ryan Malone is small because Purcell was installed on the top line full-time after Steve Downie was traded to Colorado.  Looking at the bottom line is that Tampa's first line is more prolific than the Isles and has to be because of their team defense or lack thereof.  Looking ahead the Bolts have to get healthy on offense sooner rather than later.

Again there are teams that have to play pedal to the metal which applies to any team with an elimination number of five or better.  The teams with less than five are pretty well finished barring a miracle so the Islanders, Hurricanes, and Maple Leafs are now destined for the golf course while the Canadiens are already there ladies and gentlemen. 

It is time to look at the Western Conference records, shall we?

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Western

Rank Team GP W L OT PTS GF GA L10 Streak
1 St. Louis 67 42 18 7 91 174 132 7-3-0 Won 2
2 Vancouver 67 41 18 8 90 211 166 5-3-2 Lost 2
3 Dallas 67 36 26 5 77 179 180 7-1-2 Won 3
4 Detroit 67 43 21 3 89 211 156 5-4-1 Lost 2
5 Nashville 66 38 21 7 83 188 171 6-3-1 Lost 1
6 Chicago 68 36 25 7 79 203 200 6-4-0 Lost 1
7 Phoenix 67 33 25 9 75 173 170 6-4-0 Lost 4
8 San Jose 65 33 24 8 74 181 166 2-7-1 OT 1

9 Los Angeles 66 31 23 12 74 147 143 5-4-1 Won 3
10 Colorado 68 35 29 4 74 178 181 7-3-0 Won 2
11 Calgary 67 30 25 12 72 164 185 3-3-4 Won 1
12 Anaheim 67 29 28 10 68 170 188 5-4-1 Won 1
13 Minnesota 67 28 29 10 66 144 187 3-6-1 Lost 3
14 Edmonton 66 26 34 6 58 175 198 4-6-0 Won 1
15 Columbus 66 21 38 7 49 156 216 5-4-1 Won 3
Mikko Koivu is not only missed by Minnesota but by the fantasy hockey masses as well.

 

The numbers are fun to look at here even more.  We left the goal differentials for the West because of the eye poppers in here including a -60 by Columbus!  Minnesota has the next worst at -43 while Edmonton has a -23.  The two previous teams had very good Octobers if I remember then went South.  Injuries have derailed the current 13th and 14th seeds quite a bit yet some teams like Dallas have risen above adversity to gain the Pacific lead for now.

We have decided to project out the 8th seed cutoff for the Western Conference and this may be a bit more controversial than the East to a point but this will be interesting.  Here is the number:

 

93

 

Now let the fun begin!  Some will ask why we adjusted the numbers a bit.  The answer was simple.  It is clear that at some point San Jose is going to turn this around just enough.  They almost have to.  Do you think its time to play the elimination number?

Well we do and sure enough here are the ugly facts from the West.

 

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Tom Renney has Edmonton playing for pride......again which is a mixed bag for fantasy owners.

WESTERN CONFERENCE:

  • 9. Los Angeles -- 9-6-1 : 7
  • 10. Colorado -- 9-4-1 :  5
  • 11. Calgary -- 10-4-1 : 5
  • 12. Anaheim -- 12-2-1 : 3
  • 13. Minnesota -- 13-1-1 :  2 
  • 14. Edmonton -- ELIMINATED
  • 15. Columbus -- ELIMINATED

 

 

Well Columbus has been eliminated and now Edmonton has too.  Honestly the two teams are playing out the string and have been mostly for jobs next year.  Fantasy wise this has an important role for some teams headed to their playoffs because even bottom feeder NHL teams can have gems for fantasy owners.  This happens every year where one or two players come off a bad team catch fire and it sets the wheels in motion.

That is it for now.  Come back next week when we add a few more wrinkles to this column......

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