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Dissecting The Numbers Behind VGK’s Playoff Chances

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

As we head down the stretch, the Golden Knights still clearly control their own destiny. If they win all 15 of the remaining games they’ll finish the season with 104 points and will be in the playoffs with ease.

However, that’s about as realistic as the entire roster being healthy tomorrow, which it obviously won’t be. So, Vegas may need some help from others to punch their ticket to the postseason.

The Golden Knights currently boast a .552 points percentage. If they were to play that out to the end, they would end up with either 90 or 91 points. Simply put, that will not be enough to reach the postseason. However, if they were to play a bit better, and wind up with somewhere between 93 and 97 points, they still have a realistic shot to be there.

For Vegas to reach 93 points, they would need to play .663 hockey the rest of the way. They could do it a variety of ways, but it requires at least eight wins in the last 15 games. That would mean there were at least three overtime losses involved, which considering Vegas has just four this season, seems unrealistic. So, it’s more likely that Vegas needs a minimum of nine wins to reach 93 points.

Normally, 93 points would be enough for a team to reach the playoffs. But this year, it may not. Here are the points percentages each team must reach to attain 93, 95, or 97 points.

 To Reach 93To Reach 95To Reach 97Current Pts%
Vegas.633.700.767.552
Vancouver.688.750.813.538
Winnipeg.676.735.794.538
Dallas.474.526.579.595
Edmonton.471.529.588.592
Nashville.441.500.559.600
Los Angeles.438.500.563.598
St. Louis.368.421.474.627
Minnesota.325.375.425.645
Calgary.237.289.342.667

As you can see, if every team plays at or slightly below their current points percentage, it will take at least 97 points to reach the playoffs. That would mean the Golden Knights would have to win at least 1o games and more likely 11 or 12.

However, there is something significant the Golden Knights have working for them despite head coach Pete DeBoer downplaying it today.

I don’t think there are any easy games down the stretch regardless of what people say about the strength of schedule. Particularly where we are at and with what we are dealing with. We can’t overlook anybody. -DeBoer

He’s not wrong about there being no easy games on the schedule, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t levels of ease to a schedule. Would you rather play Seattle, Chicago, and Arizona or Colorado, Florida, and Carolina? Luckily for Vegas, they do have the easiest schedule of any team in the Western Conference playoff chase.

 Opponent Pts%# vs Playoff Teams# vs Bottom 5 Teams
Vegas.50454
Dallas.51453
Los Angeles.52762
Vancouver.53584
Edmonton.58591
Nashville.563103
Winnipeg.55794

Finally, let’s try to project how many points teams will end up with based on their schedule. To simplify this, we will give each team 90% of the points against teams in the bottom 12 in the NHL, 60% of the points against teams in the middle 10, and 30% of points against teams in the top 10. Here’s what we come up with.

DAL – 102
LAK – 100
NSH – 98
EDM – 97
(Playoff Cut Line)
VGK – 96
VAN – 91
WPG – 90

Unfortunately for Vegas, that would put them just one point out of the postseason despite earning 22 points in their final 15 games.

Adding it all up, it’s pretty clear that the Golden Knights are going to need some help from others to reach the playoffs for a fifth consecutive season. Vegas will have to play close to .700 points percentage hockey while rooting for teams like Edmonton, Nashville, and Los Angeles to drop points every time possible.

No one is saying it’s impossible, because it’s not. But a lot has to go right for this version of the Golden Knights to be in the tournament in May.

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27 Comments

  1. Vic

    Difficult but not impossible to make the playoffs (20% chance).

    Kudos to Dadonov for having Anaheim on his no trade list. Real estate per square foot double that of Las Vegas, taxes at obscene levels, and crime and traffic a bit of a problem. Pretty smart guy, and handled the situation in a way not many could have.

    When and if Eichel gets more snipers around him, the points will pile up and wins will return. Anyone with eyes can see he’s an elite passer, and some of the VGK haven’t been able to accept his passes and then get off a quick shot. We’re seeing glimpses though. Kudos to him for playing with what hopefully is a minor injury.

    Thompson and the other kids getting valuable NHL time, and some of them may have a future here. That’s the silver lining in a catastrophic season.

    Focus next shifts to the front office to see what sort of a team they can get on the ice next year without damaging things further. Difficult task but not impossible (20% chance).

  2. Let’s be realistic about this entire situation as opposed to wishful, hopeful, pray full thinking. The probability of Vegas playing 70% hockey the balance of the way is ZERO. Winning 11 or 12 of 15 games to make the playoff just isn’t going to happen. What would have you think the other teams with a chance are going to roll over dead? While Vegas mounted a big win against Nashville last night go back and look at the losses to Minnesota and Winnepeg the beginning of the week. They don’t have the consistency to make it happen. I would like to believe I am wrong, but I sure wouldn’t bet on them making the playoff. What if for example the GM meeting next week lands up with a cap restriction on playoff teams – it very well could happen and actually surprised it already hasn’t based on the Tampa deal last season. If by chance they did pull the rabbit out of the hat and made the playoff Vegas would be screwed and playing with the same group, they have now Save the tears and hope next year they can get their s–t together. They desperately need to get a handle on the cap situation or things will be no different. They have way too much money tied up in way too few players. No more shiny new toys just some hard working blue collar guys who want to prove something and win would be a start in the right direction.

  3. Galdom

    The reason why they have a very small chance is because the schedule has them playing against many weak teams. I also believe that they won’t make the playoffs and I’ve been saying it for quite some time. I could see that they have a good work ethic lately but it doesn’t do much when they can’t score.

    One of my favourite baseball players Josh Donaldson got traded to the Blue Jays in 2015 and one statement he made it early in the year is one of my favorites. He said, “This isn’t the try hard league it is to get the get it done league.”

    • Galdom – playing weak teams in their case doesn’t seem to be much help. Go back and look the weak teams often were more of a problem for them. They often won playing better teams when they shouldn’t and lost when they should have won ( against those weak teams). Sad to say they are toast. They have lots of time to 8mprove their golf games.

  4. Galdom

    Was looking at their schedule and the Kings schedule and other teams schedules and they are done. Too many three-point games in this league. Too many times teams getting points for losing. It’s over. It would have been tough with a healthy lineup.

  5. Welcome to reality. Not every team will make the playoffs in any sport, and at some point the Golden Knights won’t either. This is the year that will see who the real fans are and who are the bandwagoners are.

    • Pistol Pete

      Not every one who lurks on this board is actually a fan to begin with. I agree though, welcome to the reality of being a loyal fan. Your team is going to have some tough times. This season I want to use the “excuse” of the injuries…helps to ease the pain lol.

  6. THE hockey GOD

    yes VGK is going to need help from others , they played the most games in NHL. The best help they can get is if teams ahead of them play each other, have to look at schedule. I gave a point tally of 96 about a week back. I stick with that.

    I give them a one in ten chance of making it considering all the fluctuating variables.

    “Kirk : That’s a pretty close approximation. Mr. Spock : I endeavor to be accurate. Captain James T. Kirk : You do quite well.”

    “Kirk : “How are we gonna get out of this one, Spock. We got no ship, no crew. Not the best odds.”
    Spock : “We will do what we always done Jim, we will find hope in the impossible.””

    “Spock : “Lieutenant Uhura wears a Vulcaya amulet which I presented to her as a token of my affection and respect.”
    McCoy : “You gave your girlfriend radioactive jewellery?”
    Spock : “The emission is harmless Doctor, but its unique signature makes it very easy to identify.”
    McCoy : “You gave your girlfriend a tracking device?”
    [Long pause]
    Spock : “…that was not my intention.”
    McCoy : “Well I’m glad he doesn’t respect me”

  7. vgk21

    here it is in a nutshell— playoff chances are slim if 97 is the cut line——–

    GMillerTSN
    Gord Miller @GMillerTSN
    10m
    As of today, the projected cut line to make the playoffs in the Western Conference is 97 pts (Dallas is 8th, on a 97 pt pace). The records (or equivalent) the teams in the chase would need: STL 9-10 LAK 9-7 NSH 9-7-1 EDM 10-7 DAL 11-8 VGK 11-3-1 WPG 12-3-1 VAN 13-3 ANA 16-0

    • Pistol Pete

      That is pretty daunting. That 0-5 road trip hurt. 12-3 here we come. Possible but not likely.

  8. vgk21

    RyanHockeyGuy
    Ryan The Hockey Guy @RyanHockeyGuy
    11h
    RT @CapFriendly: We’ve learned that #Vegas has moved Reilly Smith from IR to LTIR. This adds $5,000,000 to their LTI Salary pool. The team has also loaned Hayes to the minors. Both these moves result in Vegas now having a total of $6,935,833 in usable LTI Salary space.

  9. Barney

    Grease bag mcCriminal gets caught red handed

    PRICELESS

  10. Mike StG

    By next weekend we will know if Vegas still has a reasonable chance to make the playoffs. By then the Kings will have played more games than Vegas, Preds & Jets will have played the same number games, and EDM will have only 1 game in hand on VGK.

    Vegas could be pretty much out of it by then, or right in the thick of the race for either 2nd or 3rd in the Pacific, or possibly a wild card. If they make it in as 2nd wild card it will be an interesting matchup against the Avs. Vegas plays really well against them and they’re ‘in their heads’ so to speak. And if they’re mostly healthy going into the playoffs and take out COL the playoff picture is going to look a lot different.

  11. ulf

    where does this math come from?

    Currently Vegas is one point out of a Wild Card spot and three points out of 3rd in the Pacific.

    Every other team has games in hand on Vegas.

    It’s impossible for Vegas to win every game and be guaranteed to be in the playoffs. It might happen, but Vegas is not in control of their own destiny at all.

    The major competitors ahead of them:

    LA 1 game in hand, 5 points ahead
    Edmonton 2 games in hand, 3 points ahead
    Nashville 2 games in hand, 4 points ahead
    Dallas 4 games in hand, 1 point ahead

    Vegas does have an easy schedule ahead of them, which might be an advantage – But the Knights do NOT control their own destiny.

    • They are going to have to win and win big time from here on in — and hope for help. They DO NOT control their own destiny.

  12. Galdom

    Tough assignment for Marchessault today as he has to play with two players that produce offence like fourth liners in William Karlsson and Keegan Kolesar.

  13. Galdom

    Did anyone see William Karlsson miss a wide-open net at 5:30 into the first period?

    I’m now convinced he is a mole or some kind of mob hired payoff to throw games.

    He can’t actually be that shit. He’s got one point in his last 11 games and I’m wondering how in the hell did he get that point.

    Forget the Dadonov trade. I want the NHL to spend its resources on who is paying off William Karlsson. After Karlsson is suspended for life for throwing hockey games I wonder if his contract can be voided.

  14. knights fan in minny

    good to see martini back in the mix

  15. Pistol Pete

    This will disappoint the bashers, the VGK haters, but VGK plays to live another day.

    • ulf

      not a hater, and nice to see Dad get the goal – but this narrative of Vegas controlling their own destiny is just wrong – still possible! But VGK need help from the 4 teams they’re chasing ahead of them, and all of them have games in hand.

      They can’t just win every game and get in without one or more of those 4 teams losing a few.

      Vegas has one of the easier schedules down the stretch, but if today’s matchup was an indication it’ll be a bumpy ride.

      • Pistol Pete

        Down but not out. One little step on that long uphill climb. Another couple will be if the Flames take care of business at home and the Kraken accomplish the unlikely on the road.

        Btw, no such thing as an easy game in the NHL, and easy team to beat. Absolutely impossible to say you barely win a game against this team a weak one, you don’t stand a chance against good one.

        • Ulf

          I’ve been following the NHL for over 40 years and although the cap has thankfully brought more parity, there are absolutely games that are circled on the calendar by teams and coaches as easier ones. Good teams don’t take their foot off the pedal and still prepare properly, but there is a different feel on those ones than those VS rivals or elite teams.

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