The Western Conference has 14 teams that want to be in the playoffs. At this juncture, only 10 have legitimate hopes of actually playing when the post-season begins in mid-April (with apologies to Edmonton, Arizona, Dallas and Colorado).
In the interest of my own curiosity, here is a brief statistical comparison of the 10 teams currently battling for the post-season.
- In terms of power-plays, Minnesota is easily the worst while St. Louis and San Jose are positive outliers. Beyond those exceptions, all the other teams are in the same basic range. Calgary’s power-play is fairly typical, productivity-wise, of the teams contending for playoff spots
- In terms of the penalty kill, Calgary’s on the lower-end of the spectrum. San Jose’s is the worst, while Chicago, Vancouver and Minnesota are in the mix for the best. Beyond that, everyone is in the same general clump.
- This won’t be shocking, but to those of you just joining us, Calgary is not a strong even-strength puck possession team. They’re easily the worst in both Corsi and Corsi Close of all the teams in the playoff mix. They’re, like, five full percentage points behind every other team in that group.
- On the other hand, Chicago, Winnipeg, Los Angeles and Nashville are the best possession teams. Calgary would be wise to not play against them.
- Faceoffs: St. Louis’ group of centers are the group’s best, while Calgary and Vancouver are the worst of the playoff bunch. Everyone else is clumped towards the middle to top-half of the league.
- Shooting: Why is Calgary in the playoff mix? Their contender-group-best shooting percentage. Also near the top are Anaheim, St. Louis and Nashville, the conference’s three elite clubs. Meanwhile, Chicago’s dip towards the mushy middle of the wild-card teams? Fueled by their low shooting percentage.
- Saves: Even with their insane Devan Dubnyk-fueled push back into relevance, the Wild have the group’s worst save percentage – and consider this: it used to be worse than this. Nashville’s tops in this category, backed by Pekka Rinne, while Calgary is more or less typical of this group statistically in terms of their goaltending.