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Leading Division On New Year’s Day Bodes Well For Future

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

For the 2nd time in three seasons when the fireworks went up over the Strip, the team that calls Las Vegas home was sitting in 1st place as the calendar flipped to the new year.

January 1st essentially marks the halfway point of the NHL season, give or take a few days, and while plenty of hockey is still to be played the standings when the year changes are significant in predicting the future.

Since the lockout killed the 2004-05 season, there have been 66 teams that have led their division on January 1st (four divisions from 2012-13 to 2018-19, six divisions from 2005-06 to 2011-12).

Of the 66 who led the division on New Year’s Day, 61 made the playoffs, including all 12 since Vegas has been a franchise.

Just 7.6% of teams with a hold of the division title on New Year’s Day have failed to reach the postseason and only one team (4.2%) has done it since the league went to the four division format it currently uses now (2015-16 Montreal).

39 of the 66 division leaders on January 1st went on to win their respective divisions for a nearly 60% success rate. Since 2017-18, eight of the 12 New Year’s division leaders (66.7%) raised a division champion banner that season, including the 2017- 18 Golden Knights.

31 of the 66 teams went on to win at least one round and 21 of the 66 went on to reach the conference finals.

In the 13 years since the lockout, there have been eight teams to win the Stanley Cup that held their respective division’s number one spot on New Year’s Day. That means 61.5% of Stanley Cup Champions since 2006 led their division on January 1st.

All in all, leading the division on New Year’s Day is significant. It means you have a 92% chance of making the playoffs, a 59% chance of winning the division, a 47% chance of winning a round, a 32% chance of reaching the conference finals, and a 12% chance of winning the Stanley Cup.

As I say every time I walk up to a craps table, “I like these odds.”


2018-19

Tampa Bay – Won Division, 1st Round
Washington – Won Division, 1st Round
Winnipeg – 2nd Place, 1st Round
Calgary – Won Division, 1st Round

2017-18

Tampa Bay – Won Division, ECF
Washington – Won Division, Cup
Winnipeg – 2nd Place, WCF
Vegas – Won Division – SCF

2016-17

Montreal – Won Division, 1st Round
Columbus – 3rd place, 1st Round
Chicago – Won Division, 1st Round
San Jose – 3rd Place, 1st Round

2015-16

Montreal – Missed Playoffs
Washington – Won Division, 2nd Round
Dallas – Won Division, 2nd Round
Los Angeles – 2nd Place, 1st Round

2014-15

Tampa Bay – 2nd Place, SCF
Pittsburgh – Wild Card, 1st Round
Chicago – 3rd Place, Cup
Anaheim – Won Division, WCF

2013-14

Boston – Won Division, 2nd Round
Pittsburgh – Won Division, 2nd Round
Chicago – 3rd Place, WCF
Anaheim – Won Division, 2nd Round

2011-12

New York Rangers – Won Division, ECF
Boston Bruins – Won Division, 1st Round
Florida – Won Division, 1st Round
Chicago – 4th Place, 1st Round
Vancouver – Won Division, 1st Round
Los Angeles – 3rd Place, Cup

2010-11

Pittsburgh – 2nd Place, 1st Round
Boston – Won Division, Cup
Tampa Bay – 2nd Place, ECF
Detroit – Won Division, 2nd Round
Vancouver – Won Division, SCF
Dallas – Missed Playoffs

2009-10

New Jersey – Won Division, 1st Round
Buffalo – Won Division, 1st Round
Washington – Won Division, 1st Round
Chicago – Won Division, Cup
Colorado – 2nd Place, 1st Round
San Jose – Won Division, WCF

2008-09

New York Rangers – 4th Place, 1st Round
Boston – Won Division, 2nd Round
Washington – Won Division – 2nd Round
Detroit – Won Division, SCF
Calgary – 2nd Place, 1st Round
San Jose – Won Division, 1st Round

2007-08

New Jersey – 2nd Place, 1st Round
Ottawa – 2nd Place, 1st Round
Carolina – Missed Playoffs
Detroit – Won Division, Cup
Vancouver – Missed Playoffs
Dallas – 3rd Place, WCF

2006-07

New Jersey – Won Division, 2nd Round
Buffalo – Won Division, ECF
Atlanta – Won Division, 1st Round
Nashville – 2nd Place, 1st Round
Calgary – 3rd Place, 1st Round
Anaheim – Won Division, Cup

2005-06

Philadelphia – 2nd Place, 1st Round
Ottawa – Won Division, 2nd Round
Carolina – Won Division, Cup
Detroit – Won Division, 1st Round
Calgary – Won Division, 1st Round
Los Angeles – Missed Playoffs

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1 Comment

  1. DOC Williams

    Most important stretch of the season, so far, is here. Five at home facing four very tuff teams, (plus LA). Knights NEED to take 4 outta 5 !!! After playing their two best games the past two, this will show if they really have lit up that desire. Is the “misfit” attitude back???? Hope so!

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