West race…Who you got?

Standings

The playoff race in the western conference is getting closer by the day. Ten points separate 5th place Winnipeg and 11th place Dallas. It is interesting to note that according to SportsClubStats the Jets have a 67.3% chance of making the playoffs, while Vancouver and Calgary have an 89.3% and 80% respectively due to having games in hand.

It would be great to cover a team in the midst of a playoff race, not a draft lottery race again, and even though the Oilers aren’t one of the six teams battling for four playoff spots (sorry Dallas, Seguin injury eliminates you), this year’s race illustrates how far the Oilers need to go just to be in the playoff conversation.

The Oilers will need to improve significantly by this time next season if they want to be in the mix. The Oilers are 9-10-3 under Todd Nelson, but 21 points in 22 games is not even on par with 11th place Dallas, who have 60 points in 56 games. So before you get too excited over the Oilers recent stretch of competitive hockey, keep in mind they still aren’t playing well enough to get you close to playoff excitement.

We would all like to be involved in the rollercoaster of emotions known as a playoff race. Look at the Wild for instance. Prior to last night’s 3-2 loss in Vancouver they had a 50.9% chance of making the playoffs, but their loss to the Canucks combined with the Jets and Flames victories dropped them down to only a 38.4% chance.

The stats are simply a number, and only represent a team’s odds of making the playoffs, but it does add extra excitement and nerves to the playoff race.

Here are the remaining games for each team in the race and how I see it playing out.

Winnipeg: 5th place, 23 games remaining and two sets of BTB games.
12 home games, 11 on the road.

15 games against the west: Predators, Blues (4), Hawks, Canucks (2), Flames, Sharks, Kings, Wild and non-playoff teams, Stars, Avalanche and Oilers. (Bold vs. teams battling for playoff spot).

8 games against the east: Canadiens. Lightning, Rangers, Capitals (2) and non playoff teams Panthers, Senators and Leafs.

Vancouver: 6th place, 26 games left and three sets of BTB games.
13 home games, 13 on the road.

18 games vs. the west: Predators, Blues (2), Ducks, Blackhawks, Jets (2), Sharks (2), Kings (3), Stars, Avalanche, Coyotes (3) and Oilers.

8 games vs. the east: Islanders, Rangers, Bruins and non-playoff Flyers, Blue Jackets, Devils, Leafs and Sabres. 

Calgary: 7th place, 25 games left and four sets of BTB games.
11 home games, 14 on the road.

15 games vs. the west: Predators, Blues (2), Ducks (2), Jets, Kings, Wild (2) and non-playoff Stars (2), Avalanche (2), Coyotes and Oilers.

10 games vs. the east: Islanders, Red Wings, Rangers, Bruins and non-playoff Flyers (2), Senators, Blue Jackets, Devils and Leafs. 

San Jose: 8th place, 24 games left and three sets of BTB games.
11 home games, 13 on the road.

14 games vs. the west: Predators (2), Blackhawks, Jets, Canucks (2), Kings (2) and non playoff Stars (2), Avalanche, Coyotes (2) and Oilers.

10 games vs. the east: Canadiens (2), Penguins (2), Red Wings (2),  and non-playoff Flyers, Senators (2) and Leafs

Los Angeles: 9th place, 26 games left and three sets of BTB games.
10 home games, 16 on the road.

19 games vs. the west: Predators, Ducks (2), Blackhawks, Jets, Canucks (3), Flames, Sharks (2), Wild, Stars, Avalanche (3), Coyotes and Oilers (3).

7 games vs. the east: Canadiens, Islanders, Rangers, Penguins, Red Wings, and non playoff Senators and Devils.

Minnesota: 10th place, 26 games left and five sets of BTB games.

13 home games, 13 on the road.

17 games vs. the west: Predators (3), Blues (3), Ducks, Blackhawks, Jets, Flames (2), Kings and non-playoff Stars, Avalanche (2) and Oilers (2). 

9 games vs. the east: Islanders, Rangers, Red Wings, Capitals (2), and non-playoff Senators, Devils, Leafs and Hurricanes. 

THOUGHTS… 

  • The Canucks have been decimated by injuries. They have four D-men out: Bieksa is out another 3-4 weeks. Edler and Tanev weren’t on charter today, while Corrado might return on Sunday. Nick Bonino is out at least a few more weeks up front as well. They have six games, five during their eastern road swing, before the trade deadline and they will be looking for some scoring depth.
  • The Flames continue to perform miracle comebacks, and they will need more if they hope to make the playoffs. The main question I have is what will they do with Curtis Glencross? Do they keep him for the playoff run, or do they trade him and get something instead of losing him as UFA in summer, because they have won without him?
  • Jets play the fewest games, but they also have the toughest schedule. If their goaltending can hold up I see them making the playoffs. With recent injuries to Stafford and Perreault, I also expect them to add another forward before the deadline. The Jets need to make the playoffs this year.
  • The Kings only have seven wins in 25 road games and 16 of their final 26 games are on the road. The defending champs seem to relish making life more difficult than it should be, but I have more faith in the Kings than I do the Flames or Canucks.
  • The Sharks are the toughest team to read. One night they look great and the next they look disinterested. I see the Sharks finishing in the second wild card spot and will cross over and play Nashville.
  • The Wild might have waited too long to get a goalie, but Dubnyk’s four shutouts and ten wins in 14 games has the Wild right back in the race. Can Dubnyk maintain a .935sv%? Unlikely, but he had a .920 with the Oilers so it is very possible he finishes with a .925sv% in Minnesota. If he does that, I think the Wild could squeak in.
  • I see the Flames and Sharks not making it. Who do you like?
  • Jordan88

    I hate the flames its in my blood.

    But I truly love how advanced stats under Eakins were great yet we sucked and Calgary is “Over achieving” and yet they defy the odds.

    Hard work, communication, and solid coaching do wonders.

    Todd Nelson was given the keys to a dump truck and has so far done amazing things with what little talent he has in the line up. He may have even saved Yakupov from the depths of draft bust land.

    Seasons over but I see enough positive changes to make me feel like we are trending up, we just need to stop signing UFA’s to massive over paid contracts.

  • Jordan88

    We interrupt this broadcast to bring you a fascinating interview today by BBC Football today with the incredibly successful and articulate chairman of Southampton Football club, whose 8th place finish last season shocked the English Premier League. His manager and some of the best players were poached by bigger clubs, all of whom are currently behind 4th place Saints. His name? Ralph Krueger. The guy MacT replaced with a cave men.

    http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/31506144

  • Jordan88

    Okay, just Google Ralph Krueger and click on news and it is the third item down. Or Google BBC Football and you will find on the upper right of the front page. It seems Ralph is doing just fine without the Oilers.

  • ubermiguel

    If the Flames make it into the playoffs it will just be another 1st round exit…again. They’ve won more than 3 games in a playoff year just once in the last 20 years. I would be stunned if LA doesn’t make it. They play their best hockey in the spring.

  • Armchair_Gm

    I think the flames get in, were red hot to start and have been playing pretty solid hockey all season. Maybe they add erik cole or horcoff.

    And the kings will make it, theyre getting hot at the right time and will probably win the cup again.

    Vancouver/San José have same problem, thornton/marleau and sedins are still great players but they arent elite anymore need to change the guard.

    Next year stars will be pushing either the blues or the Hawks down and theyll be battling for wildcard. Stars have excellent defense prospects and cap flexibility

    • Ed Hod

      You’re extremely optimistic!!! I figure the old boys will ride Katz’s hopes and dreams for atleast another 2-3 years of failure before they’re removed. Then it’ll take a couple years after that for a competent management group to take the pieces and build a team. I’ll say we’ll stretch the no playoff record to 13-15 years

  • Bob Cobb

    I think I need help. I’m addicted to Flames games. A few of my friends were on it so I thought “one game won’t hurt”. It went from once a month to once a week up until I started watching every game. I just can’t resist that interesting playoff type hockey. Someone help

    • Ed Hod

      No help needed. You’re probably a hockey fan who enjoys watching hockey. Since the oilers don’t play hockey anymore what better team to follow than another Alberta team that plays hard, has young skilled forwards, great defence quality goaltending and competing for a playoff berth!

      Sure their will be a couple oiler fans who will always hate the flames for no reason, but if edmonton can’t put together a professional hockey team I’m glad calgary can!

  • Butters

    Hypothetical . . .

    Last game of the season . . . vs. Vancouver Canucks . . . an Oiler win eliminates the Canucks from playoff contention . . . an Oiler loss secures 30th spot in the McEichel Sweepstakes . . .

    My question:

    Does anyone know where to get good Chinese food in the west end?

  • YakCity1039

    I’m with a lot of people in saying F*CK CALGARY. But I’d rather have them in the playoffs this year, so they aren’t anywhere near McDavid, or the top 5 of the draft for that matter.

  • Ed Hod

    The problem with the Sharks seems to be their work ethic. If they don’t make the play-offs this year, they need to fire their coach and hire Eakins: he can teach them to chop water and carry wood.

  • paul wodehouse

    “this year’s race illustrates how far the Oilers need to go just to be in the playoff conversation…”

    ..I’m not sure how much of an understatement THAT really IS!!!

    This much ? That much ? How much ?

  • camdog

    San Jose is done, could see the writing on the wall a couple of weeks ago, -5 in goals differential. Goaltending isn’t strong enough. With all of our luck Niemi will sign as a UFA in Edmonton.

  • Todd Nelson has the team winning again, it’s great for the players to gain confidence for next season.

    But I m also worry about the Leafs, they are really tanking for real. They are like 4-22-4 last 30 games or so.

    Oilers has 24 games left so if they go 10-14, that’s 62 points. We need Arizona, Toronto and Carolina to win some games also.

    First 3 draft picks are lotto picks, so Oilers has 13.5% of landing those 1st, 2nd and 3rd picks. Only Buffalo has better odds 20%.

    MacT and Todd need to pay attention to other teams tanking, finishing higher than 29th is not an option.

  • orangepylon

    Here’s my prediction.

    Penguins lose every game for the rest of year and miss the playoffs. Their pick, with their 1 percent chance, wins the lottery and the Oilers draft first and second overall.

    Yak continues his scoring streak and wins the Masterson trophy for putting up with the circus in Edmonton. He gets the C next year. Ference retires and becomes an analyst for Sportsnet. Or a tattoo artist.

    Petry gets dealt for for a first rounder in the 11th hour, but misses the Oil so much that he comes back re-signs at a decent price. Nikitin feels so bad about his play this year that he decides to retire as well.

    Flames flame out during the first round, setting off a chain of events that make them miss the playoffs until Johnny Hockey grows some pubes. So…never.

    • PutzStew

      I’m not a gambler but does anyone know the odds for the draft lottery and any places where a mature individual could place a wager on said lottery? There is know way Arizona doesn’t get Mcdavid.

  • Mike Krushelnyski

    MacT has made so many mistakes its unbelievable. Starting with his “bold moves” press conference, to hiring DE (his biggest f*ck up), going with two back up goalies, signing Nikitin, publicly overvaluing Jultz, not signing Petry last year. The list goes on and on and on….

    I have no faith in any moves MacT makes. Trades, signings, whatever – judging by his terrible performance so far, there is no reason to believe that he will make any astute moves. Actually, there are plenty of reasons and evidence to suggest that he will make the wrong moves.

    When I think of MacT and this organization, I see more losing, more BS and Calgary and Vancouver kicking our ass for the next 20 years.

  • orangepylon

    I think Minnesota will be in just to show us that Dubnyk was the real deal and make us all feel worse than we already do.

    Calgary Will squeak in just because the Hockey gods love work ethic.

    LA will come back and get in just so X Oilers can once again remind us of fish that got away.

    The Peg will get in because they got rid of Kane and he was Poison in the room. (Hockey gods like a good room)

    San Jose is on another planet and if they make the playoffs it wont matter as they will not win.

    Vancouver is the only team with worse luck with the Hockey gods than us. Sure they could make the playoffs but if they do it will be a game 7 loss as they have a lot of practice on that scenario.