Last season we brought awareness to one NHL benchmark backed by historical data that can predict which teams make the postseason. The (American) Thanksgiving Day playoff marker is a good measure for a team’s future success. The turkey day study suggests teams that are sitting in a playoff spot by Thanksgiving have a very high chance of competing for the Cup.
A more nail-biting trend is the November 1st, benchmark that Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman often brings up. NHL teams four or more points out of a playoff spot by 11/01, have roughly an 18% chance of making the postseason. Since 2005-06, 47 of 58 teams that were 4+ points out of the postseason spot by November 1st, missed the playoffs. That’s a whopping 82% of teams that their fate was determined by the beginning of November. Unfortunately, that’s where the Golden Knights were, and still are as of this moment.
Just keep working at it. It’s the same old cliché every coach says, but that’s what it is. Keep putting pucks there, we are out chancing and more shots than most teams, but we just got to get hungrier. -Gerard Gallant
On November 1st, the Golden Knights had a record of 5-7-1 (11 points), good for seventh in the Pacific Division, and four points out of a playoff spot. Along with Vegas, Detroit, Florida, Los Angeles, and St. Louis also were 4+ points down. 82% means four of those five teams are already eliminated, while one still has a shot.
Last season, Minnesota was the one that made the playoffs after being caught in the post-Halloween vortex.
2017-18 NHL Standings: November 1st
Eastern Conference: Atlantic
Tampa 21 Points: Postseason
Toronto 16 Points: Postseason
Ottawa 15 Points: Eliminated
Detroit 13 Points: Eliminated
Boston 11 Points: Postseason
Florida 9 Points: Eliminated
Montreal 9 Points: Eliminated
Buffalo 8 Points: Eliminated
Eastern Conference: Metropolitan
New Jersey 18 Points: Postseason
Pittsburgh 17 Points: Postseason
Columbus 16 Points: Postseason
NY Islanders 15 Points: Eliminated
Philadelphia 13 Points: Postseason
Washington 11 Points: Postseason
Carolina 10 Points: Eliminated
NY Rangers 10 Points: Eliminated
Western Conference: Central
St. Louis 21 Points: Eliminated
Dallas 14 Points: Eliminated
Winnipeg 14 Points: Postseason
Chicago 14 Points: Eliminated
Colorado 12 Points: Postseason
Nashville 12 Points: Postseason
*Minnesota 10 Points: Postseason
Western Conference: Pacific
Los Angeles 19 Points: Postseason
Vegas 16 Points: Postseason
San Jose 14 Points: Postseason
Vancouver 14 Points: Eliminated
Anaheim 13 Points: Postseason
Calgary 12 Points: Eliminated
Edmonton 7 Points: Eliminated
Arizona 3 Points: Eliminated
It’s clearly not a perfect science when a team like St. Louis has a 7 point divisional lead and fails to make the postseason. And as mentioned above, Minnesota was exactly four points out by November 1st, and ended up seven points ahead of an eliminated Blues team.
It never gets easier, we have to keep pushing and battling. We have to play a similar style to what we played tonight. -Alex Tuch
Currently, HockeyReference.com gives the Golden Knights a 26.4% chance of making the postseason in their playoff probability report. MoneyPuck.com has it quite a bit better at 62.6%, while The Athletic’s Dom Luszczyszyn’s model falls in between at 42%.
Four points is only two victories the Golden Knights will have to make up in the last 74 games. For the Stanley Cup runner’s-up, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Sure, 82% is an alarming number, but remember these are trends to be aware of and not to panic over. Some could look at the November 1st trend, and scream ‘the sky is falling’ but keep in mind this is a team that likes challenges. The Golden Knights we know faced multiple uphill battles and conquered each one. ￼