October 23, 2006


Arguably any statistics at this point in the season don’t say all that much about the final outcome of the season. As I stated in a previous post one game error for winning percentage can be approximated to around 36%, with a crude sqrt(n)/n approximation I can say that 8 games in works out to 13%. It should more importantly be noted that 13% is equivalent to around 20 points, so teams have 20 points worth of error, or I could say I expect Vancouver to get 95 points ± 40 (95% confidence interval), which doesn’t tell you all that much about how the Canucks will do (bad predictor), but it appears the NHL is settling down to some sort of balance. The Ducks have taken over the west (for now) as a very dominant team, and Detroit continues its dominance within their division. Calgary is a bit of a shocker, but they’re not scoring and they’re not preventing goals so they’re hitting rock bottom and they will have a hard time competing in the Northwest division.

3Red Wings811283%92%
14Blue Jackets6420%1%

What’s neat is you can already see the playoff battles setting themselves up with Nashville and L.A. trying to steal the spot from Vancouver. Coyotes unless they make drastic changes have a 0% chance of making the playoffs, and the Blackhawks, Blues, Flames and Blue Jackets all have less than or equal to 5% chance of making the playoffs (which to a statistician is about as good as no chance). It might be confusing to some that Detroit’s 7 points gets them into 3rd. I should say I’m looking that expected goals not actual goals to predict future games and Detroit may have only scored 20 goals, but they’ve played at a level that should get 25 goals. This could be because of better goaltending on the other teams or just “bad luck”. The Avs are another good example scoring 24 goals (and allowing 27), but their expected goals are 32 or (4 goals per game, I doubt they’ll keep that up).



Every team is good and every team is not quite great. You can see the battle for the division is by no means determined, but mostly a battle between the Oilers and Wild. While unlikely my number crunching is predicting 4 of the Northwest teams to make the playoffs this season, largely due to the poor performance of the Central division (unable to get 2 teams in). If the Flames maintain their level of play they performed in the first 7 games of the season they have a 3% chance of making the playoffs. It would appear that the games within the division will be critical for success in this division.

1Red Wings811283%92%
5Blue Jackets6420%1%


I wonder when this division will get competitive. A lot of people may have considered Chicago a much better team with Havlat (now injured) playing so well, but their goals against keep adding up and keeping them held back. The Blues keep allowing goals against as do the Columbus Blue Jackets. I expect that the Predators will make the playoffs despite what this shows, Vokoun probably isn’t as good as he played last year, but he’s better than how he started this year. Detroit, despite being an average team, should have no trouble winning the division.



The pacific division is a very dynamic division, and Phoenix would be a much better team this year if they didn’t have to play Dallas and Anaheim 8 times in one season. The three top teams are very dominant at this point it’s hard to say who’ll win this division. Anaheim’s defense certainly bodes well for them and they have enough scoring to win games. Dallas can score, but their defense is questionable and it appears as though Turco is outplaying his average at this time. San Jose is great at scoring as well, but their goaltending is questionable, not that is really matter when you can score. In any other division the Kings would be a competitive team, but they’ll likely be playing golf early this year. It’s hard to imagine a scenario that would get Phoenix into the playoffs, just hope you win 6 or 7 games out of the 8 you play them if you’re in this division.

If you like these standings I up them periodically at my statistics website

I should note: (all based on a model with 10,000 iterations).
WD - Probability of winning division
MP - Probability of making the playoffs
EPTS - Expected points based on a statistical prediction

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