Classic Stats: Projecting points needed to make the playoffs
Fri November 26, 2010 Leave a comment
All standings projections are based on the standings at the end of November 25, 2010. Rankings are based on number of points per game, not current point totals, as teams have not all played an equal number of games.
In the 2009-10 season, in order to make the playoffs a team in the Eastern Conference needed 88 points, while teams in the Western Conference needed 95. As you can see above in the P/82 column (current points-per-game pace over 82 games), the Western Conference is roughly on par with last season. The Eastern Conference, however, is another story.
Last season there were 10 teams in the Eastern Conference who were above .500, and only 2 teams were below 79 points. This season it’s looking like a team may not even need a .500 record to qualify for the playoffs. The 8 point gap between 8th and 9th is currently only 2 points, but over 82 games the margin could increase dramatically. The top 8 this season are racking up points playing against the weaker bottom 7 teams, particularly Buffalo, New Jersey, and the NY Islanders. How this will change once the NY Islanders start winning games is going to be interesting.
In the Western Conference, it’s a tight race yet again. It’s not unreasonable to think that Chicago will start winning at a greater pace and shake up the standings, but as it looks right now it should be as competitive as usual, and certainly more interesting than the Eastern Conference.