When the Olympics are all said and done, which players are going home to join teams with the most difficult NHL schedules? There are some awfully tight playoff races, most of which could boil down to seemingly minor details like long road trips or tough opponents. In that regard, some teams definitely have it worse than others.
Using analytics, the difficulty of every NHL team's schedule can be measured in a variety of ways. For instance, the average winning percentage of their opponents can be calculated, even with home and road splits taken into account.
Sometimes a team's record doesn't accurately reflect the true strength of the team, in which case the estimated average time of possession for each team (via Extra Skater), can be checked for confirmation. Or, for who those who prefer placing their faith more in goal-based statistics, it can be established using each team's goal differentials.
In the end it's reasonably clear that the easiest schedule belongs to the New York Islanders, though the New Jersey Devils could also have one of the simpler stretch runs.
As for the toughest schedules, the top 10 are all ranked in reverse order in the upcoming slides. Let's begin!
All advanced statistics are via writer's own original research unless otherwise noted.