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Guest4178
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Posted - 01/17/2014 :  15:02:21  Reply with Quote
It's just past the mid-point of the season, and more precisely, around the 48-game mark, which is the number of games played last NHL season.

Some teams are up from last year, and some are down in comparison to last year's standings.

Teams which are down five or more positions include Edmonton (-5), Montreal, Columbus, Philadelphia (-6), Toronto, Washington, Detroit, Winnipeg, Buffalo (-7), and the New York Islanders have dropped the most (-10), going from 16th place last season (and making the playoffs) to 26th at the 48-game mark this season.

Granted, some of these dips are not as big as they look. The Leafs, for example, are currently listed 16th overall, but they're essentially tied for 14th in points. And last season, the Leafs finished 9th overall (with 57 points), but they finished with exactly two more points than the Columbus Blue Jackets, who finished the 2012-2013 season in 17th place with 55 points. So while the Leafs appear to have slipped a bit (from 57 to 53 points at the 48-game mark), it's not as stark as the seven game dip would seem to indicate.

On the upside, the Predators, Sharks and Coyotes have improved five, six and seven positions respectively.

But the biggest jumps (by far) are the Lightning and Avalanche. Tampa finished in third last place in the overall standings, drafting Jonathan Drouin in the process. Without Drouin in the line-up, and without Steve Stamkos for a considerable number of games, the Lightning are currently sitting in 9th place in the league standings, a jump of 19 positions! As for the Avalanche (who currently sit in 6th place overall), they finished in second last place last season, drafting Nathan MacKinnon, who leads rookies in goals (15) and points (29) at this point in the season.

As an aside, Florida had the number one overall pick, and went with Alexsander Barkov, who currently has 8 goals and 15 assists. And Nashville was very lucky to pick up Seth Jones at the number four position. The Predators are eight points higher in the standings in comparison to last season.

Does any of this surprise anyone? To me (and I suspect most hockey fans), the biggest surprises are the Lightning and Avalanche. But as well as they've played this season (so far), I don't think they were as bad as they finished last season. Going back to the 2011-2012 season, the Lightning and Avalanche finished 20th and 21st in the standings, so was last year a bit of an aberration?

Maybe the change in coaches has made an impact this season? Tampa fired Guy Boucher late last season, promoting Jon Cooper from their AHL affiliate. As for the Avalanche, some credit (or a lot) has to be given to Patrick Roy for the turnaround. In addition to being named their head coach the end of last season, Roy is also vice president of hockey operations for the team, making him the only NHL coach with the title or powers of a general manager.

Alex116
PickupHockey Legend



5794 Posts

Posted - 01/17/2014 :  16:09:49  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Guest4178
As an aside, Florida had the number one overall pick, and went with Alexsander Barkov, who currently has 8 goals and 15 assists.


The Panthers actually picked 2nd overall, taking Barkov after MacInnon went to Colorado. It was a mild surprise as most figured Drouin to be going 1 or 2.

Great info, and i'd agree that those two are the biggest surprises. Detroit being out of the playoffs as we speak is a surprise for me! I thought the move to the east would have had them in a playoff spot at this point by far!
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slozo
Moderator



Canada
4593 Posts

Posted - 01/17/2014 :  17:52:47  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My biggest surprise is one not mentioned outright by you, Anaheim at #1 overall with a bullet.

They have been dominant, rolling over even the very good teams in the Western Conference, and . . . frankly, despite some commentators pretending they didn't, most had them slipping back this year, not leaping forward.

They had a huge loss in Ryan obviously, but the understated loss (we were predicting) was Selanne either becoming insignificant or retiring; Koivu basically the same; the defence still not being in anything remotely called a elite category. And yet . . . they have just all had outstanding seasons this year, barring none.

Getzlaf is having a career season, and so are the lesser but not so insignificant Cogliano and Bonino. Hiller's been great, and this Andersen kid's been phenomenal in backing him up - 11 wins, 2 losses! What can you say? And Perry may not be having his MVP season, but it looks like it's going to be a very good one.

Just one of those total team efforts, and every part fits. And I never saw it coming to this degree . . . where they are the best in the NHL by 7 points at just past the halfway mark. Really astounding!

"Take off, eh?" - Bob and Doug
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Guest4377
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Posted - 01/17/2014 :  19:39:32  Reply with Quote
I agree with Slozo. While Anaheim is only up two positions from the 48-game point last season (from 3rd overall last season to 1st overall this season), they had 75 points as compared to 66 points at the same point last season. That's a big jump.

And while west and east didn't compete against each other last season, and this year they do (and west is a bit better than east), the Ducks record is equally great against both conferences, so their record is not necessarily better because of the increased play between teams of both confetences.

Another thing about the Ducks - their home record is incredible - no regulation game losses. (20 wins and 2 overtime loss points.). Recognizing their likelihood to have/keep home ice advantage, this is meaningful.

So no doubt the Ducks are an improved team from last season. But how about the St. Louis Blues?

Here's their record at the 48-game mark the past two seasons compared to the Ducks:

St. Louis Blues: 2012-2013 / 2013-2014

29 wins, 17 losses, 2 OT losses = 60 points. (GF/GA: +14)
32 wins, 9 losses, 5 OT losses = 69 points. (GF/GA: +60)

Anaheim Ducks: 2012-2013 / 2013-2014

30 wins, 12 losses, 6 OT losses = 66 points. (GF/GA: +22)
35 wins, 8 losses, 5 OT losses = 75 points. (GF/GA: +42)

So both teams are 9 points ahead of last year's pace, but here's the thing - the Blues have only played 46 games so far this season.

So as much as the Ducks are a positive surprise this season, I think the Blues are up there too! But meanwhile, we're talking about one team (the Ducks) who finished 3rd place overall last season, and another team (the Blues) who finished 6th place overall. So theses two teams were not exactly slouches last season!

With all that being said or stated, as Guest4178, I still think the Avalanche and Lightning are the biggest surprises (for upswings) this season.

But all of the above is subject to Alex's adroit scrutiny of my stats and information! :)

You caught me on the MacKinnon/Barkov error Alex! What was I thinking? Everyone knows the Avalanche won the lottery and got the first overall pick! :)
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Alex116
PickupHockey Legend



5794 Posts

Posted - 01/17/2014 :  22:47:30  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Anaheim is a good one for sure. And while St Louis could be a surprise, I think they were expected to be top 3 in the west, maybe better so I'm not surprised at all. I think the Blues have been trending upwards for the past couple seasons.
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Guest4404
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Posted - 01/18/2014 :  17:31:01  Reply with Quote
These two teams face off tonight. Anaheim and St. Louis are 8-2 the last ten games, so it should be a good game. It seems like yesterday when some pundits were questioning Bruce Boudreau's coaching abilities. There are a lot of reasons for the Ducks ascension, but surely some credit has to be given to the head coach.

As for St. Louis, they have one of the best in Ken Hitchcock. St. Louis is not a team superstars per se. Sure they have Oshie, Steen, Backes, Bouwmeester, Pietrangelo, etc., but their top three point getters have less points than the 29th place Oilers top three. But the Blues definitely have depth - with 10 of their players heading to Sochi, this speaks to their roster strength.

But the key question is whether St. Louis (or Anaheim) can parlay their regular season success to the playoffs? They have to get past some pretty good teams including the Hawks, Sharks, Kings and Avalanche. And maybe even the Canucks or Wild. Wow - the west is stacked with some very good teams!
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slozo
Moderator



Canada
4593 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2014 :  08:05:56  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Guest4404

These two teams face off tonight. Anaheim and St. Louis are 8-2 the last ten games, so it should be a good game. It seems like yesterday when some pundits were questioning Bruce Boudreau's coaching abilities. There are a lot of reasons for the Ducks ascension, but surely some credit has to be given to the head coach.

As for St. Louis, they have one of the best in Ken Hitchcock. St. Louis is not a team superstars per se. Sure they have Oshie, Steen, Backes, Bouwmeester, Pietrangelo, etc., but their top three point getters have less points than the 29th place Oilers top three. But the Blues definitely have depth - with 10 of their players heading to Sochi, this speaks to their roster strength.

But the key question is whether St. Louis (or Anaheim) can parlay their regular season success to the playoffs? They have to get past some pretty good teams including the Hawks, Sharks, Kings and Avalanche. And maybe even the Canucks or Wild. Wow - the west is stacked with some very good teams!



Agreed. I was never a huge Boudreau fan myself, but, you gotta give the guy his due, he's a huge reason the Ducks have been very very good. And Hitchcock, who I do think is one of the best coaches in the entire league, is 100% the reason the Blues are one of the top teams, and not just a team fighting for the playoffs.

About the playoffs, we'll see - it's all a bit of a crapshoot, I think.



"Take off, eh?" - Bob and Doug
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