Anaheim Ducks Gameday: The Art of Junk Stats

Remember this guy? He's back. I don't remember much else about the roster. Photo credit - Phillip MacCallum

Ducks at Canucks, and some made up numbers that mean nothing at all.

Next Game

Hockey is back, and that means that all of the obligations and responsibilities of my normal life are about to fall by the wayside. Let's celebrate together by complaining a lot about the team's performance in the comments.

Based on last years's final regular (full-length) season rankings, I'm going to make some projections regarding what the rankings will need to look like this time around in the shortened season, and just how many points a team will need to slip into a playoff spot.

I'm calling these projections "junk stats" because they're based on so much speculation and are the subject of too many variables to ever be taken seriously. But you see this kind of trash all of the time because when you're proven wrong all you have to do is claim "hey, this stuff is too unpredictable and a lot of intangibles went into play."

Here's the points-based rankings from last season. Since it was a full 82-game season, and teams get two points for each win, the total number of possible points available to each team was 164 (of course this would require a perfect season, which isn't going to happen). This table includes the percentage of points available that each team received.

Western Conference 2011-12
Eastern Conference 2011-12
Team Pts % of Pts Available (164)
Team Pts % of Pts Available (164)
1. Vancouver 111 67.68%
1. N.Y. Rangers 109 66.46%
2. St. Louis 109 66.46%
2. Boston 102 62.20%
3. Phoenix 97 59.15%
3. Florida 94 57.32%
4. Nashville 104 63.41%
4. Pittsburgh 108 65.85%
5. Detroit 102 62.20%
5. Philadelphia 103 62.80%
6. Chicago 101 61.59%
6. New Jersey 102 62.20%
7. San Jose 96 58.54%
7. Washington 92 56.10%
8. Los Angeles 95 57.93%
8. Ottawa 92 56.10%
9. Calgary 90 54.88%
9. Buffalo 89 54.27%
10. Dallas 89 54.27%
10. Tampa Bay 84 51.22%
11. Colorado 88 53.66%
11. Winnipeg 84 51.22%
12. Minnesota 81 49.39%
12. Carolina 82 50.00%
13. Anaheim 80 48.78%
13. Toronto 80 48.78%
14. Edmonton 74 45.12%
14. N.Y. Islanders 79 48.17%
15. Columbus 65 39.63%
15. Montreal 78 47.56%

If we take the above very real numbers and extrapolate, we can come up with some very nonsense numbers to irresponsibly build our expectations around. Using the percentages above, we can determine how many points the 8 playoff teams from each conference will need to obtain this 48-game season (out of a total possible of 96):

Western Conference
Eastern Conference
Rank % of Pts in 2011-12 Equivalent Pts in 2013
Rank % of Pts in 2011-12 Equivalent Pts in 2013
1 67.68% 65
1 66.46% 64
2 66.46% 64
2 62.20% 60
3 59.15% 57
3 57.32% 56
4 63.41% 61
4 65.85% 64
5 62.20% 60
5 62.80% 61
6 61.59% 60
6 62.20% 60
7 58.54% 57
7 56.10% 54
8 57.93% 56
8 56.10% 54

All point values are being rounded up to the nearest whole numbers. So, assuming that all teams perform identically to last season (which of course is a perfectly reasonable assumption, right?) the bare minimum to slip into the playoffs this season out West would be 56 points. That's 28 wins (or whatever crazy combination of wins and 1-point overtime losses that you see fit).

Let's hope that win number one comes for the Ducks tonight.

Prediction: Ducks exploit an injured Vancouver, topping the Canucks 3-1 with goals from Perry, Bonino, and Smith-Pelly.

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