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Predictive model says the Canucks make the playoffs!


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We squeak in with the lowest points of all the playoff teams!




Rest easy, Ottawa and Vancouver.

Over the past decade, an average of three NHL teams per season have gone on to miss the Stanley Cup playoffs after holding a spot on American Thanksgiving.

The Senators and Canucks won't be those teams this season, according to a predictive model from Halifax-based mathematicianMicah Blake McCurdy, who runs HockeyViz.com.

According to McCurdy's model, nicknamed "Oscar," Pittsburgh and Detroit are the only two current teams situated in playoff position predicted to fall out. The numbers say will be replaced by New Jersey and Tampa Bay.

McCurdy's math sees the Western Conference shaping up almost exactly as it is currently setup on Thursday, the day Americans plan to nap and gobble turkey. That's good news for the Canucks, who would make for three Canadian playoff teams one year after five qualified.

The Leafs are currently projected to finish in seventh place in the Atlantic with 83 points, marking a 15-point improvement under Mike Babcock. With 80 points apiece, Calgary and Edmonton were both lottery-bound in Thursday's projections.
No, McCurdy doesn't “hate” your team if they aren't projected to make the playoffs. His projections are not subjective.
McCurdy's model simulates the remaining schedule for all 30 teams based on a lot of data: recent 5-on-5 shot generation and suppression, lifetime goaltending save percentages, followed by recent team shooting percentages, then special teams shot generation and suppression. Each are weighted differently. A detailed explanation of the formula is available here.

The projections shift based on the most recent 25 games worth of recent data. In the case of this season, when no team has reached 25 games yet, McCurdy backfills with data from last season to paint a fuller picture.
In other words: this projection actually has substance behind it, rather than saying, “the Penguins are on-pace for 102 points and are likely to qualify.”
(Fun fact: McCurdy dubbed the model “Oscar” as a leftover baby name after the birth of his son, Edmund, who is 15 months old. He is toying with other predictive models and needed names to keep them all straight.)
Two other teams with high expectations - Anaheim and Winnipeg - are also projected to miss the playoffs, according to McCurdy. TSN's consensus Stanley Cup winner, the Ducks, dug themselves an early hole with an abysmal October. Their only hope is a capitalizing on a mediocre Pacific division.

In the last two seasons, since the NHL instituted the current playoff format with two wild cards from each conference, five teams that were out of the playoffs on this day rallied to make the playoffs: Columbus, Dallas and Philadelphia in 2013-14, and Washington and Minnesota in 2014-15.

According to Thursday's numbers, the league-leading Canadiens are predicted to win the President's Trophy narrowly over Washington and Dallas.
Absent of obvious tanking, Buffalo (78), Edmonton (80), Philadelphia (80), Colorado (80) and Calgary (80) are all projected to finish within three points of each other in the Auston Matthews sweepstakes. That would give the Sabres the best odds to land the No. 1 overall pick for the second spring in a row.
We're a long way from April, to be sure. There are 901 games to be played. But McCurdy gives us at least a peek where the NHL might be heading over the next five months.



Eastern Conference     Eastern Conference    
Atlantic     Atlantic    
Team GP Pts Team GP Pts
1. Montreal 23 36 1. Montreal 82 108
2. Ottawa 22 29 2. Boston 82 98
3. Boston 21 25 3. Ottawa 82 94
Metropolitan     Metropolitan    
Team GP Pts Team GP Pts
1. N.Y. Rangers 22 34 1. Washington 82 106
2. Washington 21 31 2. N.Y. Rangers 82 104
3. Pittsburgh 21 26 3. N.Y. Islanders 82 95
Wild Card     Wild Card    
Team GP Pts Team GP Pts
1. N.Y. Islanders 22 25 1. New Jersey 82 92
2. Detroit 22 25 2. Tampa Bay 82 92
Western Conference     Western Conference    
Central     Central    
Team GP Pts Team GP Pts
1. Dallas 22 34 1. Dallas 82 105
2. St. Louis 23 31 2. Nashville 82 102
3. Nashville 21 27 3. St. Louis 82 100
Pacific     Pacific    
Team GP Pts Team GP Pts
1. Los Angeles 22 27 1. Los Angeles 82 100
2. San Jose 22 26 2. San Jose 82 97
3. Vancouver 23 24 3. Vancouver 82 91
Wild Card     Wild Card    
Team GP Pts Team GP Pts
1. Chicago 22 26 1. Minnesota 82 95
2. Minnesota 20 25 2. Chicago 82 94

Source: Hocke



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I agree that the Canucks will make the playoff. Realistically - we're had some REALLY bad luck so far this year and in the long run it will balance out. I think that this team will have no expectations on them going into the playoffs and surprise a few people. I'm not saying we're contenders, but there is not reason we can't go on a Cinderella run. 

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11 hours ago, ice orca said:

All those predictions and models never figure out what a critical injury does to a team. Just lose a twin or say a Tanev or Edler for a stretch and you can throw that model off the bridge.

I don't completely agree. I mean, obviously this is true for the rest of this season - there's just no way of knowing which teams will suffer major injury losses from here to April.

On the other hand, he's building his team and goaltender databases from 2008-2015. Every team will have had several major injury periods over this time, whether it's to key players or simply a lot of players. Consider goaltenders specifically: any NHL starter who has, say, 3 seasons under his belt has probably, at some point, had to play a string of games with more AHL defenders than NHL defenders in front of him (we seem to do this annually around February..).

I'd say injury trouble is baked into the equation as much as it can be. But like I said earlier no predictive model will ever be completely accurate.

Anyhow, I'd never heard of hockeyviz.com before so I went and looked around. There's some interesting stuff there, for example: Which regular-season qualities predict playoff success?

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2 minutes ago, MovesLikeDatsyuk said:

Ya i imagine that if we miss are know we are going to miss, some players are going for some juicy draft picks ! So far Benning's drafting looks very strong.

I really go back and forth, confused one would say, over which is better for our future chances to become Cup competitive again - making or missing the playoffs?  :blink:

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