The odds of most Canadian teams making the NHL playoffs look pretty long as the league heads into its Christmas break. However, some of the clubs are still talking about making the post season when the mathematical odds says otherwise.
Take the Toronto Maple Leafs for instance, who haven’t made the playoffs for the last five years. The Leafs chances at making them this season are now at less than one per cent (0.8 per cent) as their winning percentage after 33 games is 42.4 per cent. For them to have even a 20 per cent chance of finishing in the top eight in their conference they would have to elevate their game to a 63.3 per cent clip for the rest of the season.
Calgary and Edmonton are in similar positions, with Edmonton having about a 2.7 per cent shot at the playoffs and Calgary at 5.9 per cent. If Edmonton fails, it’ll be the fifth straight year they’ve missed out on post season action. Ottawa has an outside shot at it, but don’t put all your hockey betting funds on that as they’re six points back of the last playoff spot and would have to leap over three teams to make it. Their chance of doing this is 1.9 per cent.
Looking at the 30-team league as a whole, Ottawa is in 24th place while Calgary sits in 25th, Edmonton 27th and Toronto 28th. Only Vancouver, in sixth place and Montreal in 14th, are having respectable seasons. But even though Vancouver is sixth in the league, they play in the strong Western Conference and are only four points ahead of the ninth place team.
All it will take is a short losing streak and they could easily be on the outside looking in as well. But their odds of making the playoffs are 98.2 per cent. Montreal has a six point cushion on the ninth-place team in the East and they have a 90.2 per cent shot at getting to the post season.
However, while the odds sure don’t look too good at the Christmas break, anything can still happen and that’s why each team plays 82 games in a season. The problem for these Canadian teams is they aren’t just chasing one team each to make the playoffs they’ll have to leapfrog over several of them to finish in the top eight of their conferences. In fact, all of the Canadian teams that are below eighth spot at the moment, except Ottawa, would have to overtake five teams to finish in the last playoff spot.