The reality is the NHL regular season is about to thunder on to its conclusion. Just a little less than three weeks are left. A few teams have clinched playoff spots already while others are on the verge of clinching. This post just goes over some possible scenarios including records teams may have to go to make the second season.
What does it all mean? First, there’s a cutoff? The cutoff is a point projection that the last team gets in (the second wildcard from each conference). From there, we look up at those who are about in or in and then those who could be eliminated or are already.
Where Do The Numbers Come From?
Yes, we have our own here at The Program. However, taking an average from some of the best in the business always helps. Thanks to Micah McCurdy , Dom Luszczyszyn, and the many people on Twitter tracking numbers and schedules. If you have not read Micah or Dom’s work, then you should do so now. Most teams have right around ten games left on the year. Some have more and some have less.
Currently the cutoffs for the second wildcard in each conference is as follows:
- Eastern Conference — 92 points
- Western Conference — 95 points
This could naturally change. Using the current projections, Tampa Bay, Boston, and Toronto have clinched from the East. Nashville, Vegas, and Winnipeg have clinched from the West. After that every other spot is up for grabs. Please note that these cutoff projections CAN CHANGE! Adaptations and modifications happen. Overtime losses and shootout losses are one in the same.
It is time to take a look at what teams need to approximately do in order to get to that cutoff. After that, there is a little commentary as well.
Eastern Conference Eliminator
Washington Capitals — 89 points — 1-8-1
Pittsburgh Penguins — 87 points — 2-7-1
Philadelphia Flyers — 85 points — 3-5-1
Columbus Blue Jackets — 83 points — 4-5-1
New Jersey Devils — 82 points — 4-4-2
Florida Panthers — 77 points — 7-5-1
Carolina Panthers — 73 points — 9-0-1
New York Islanders — 72 points — 10-0
The New York Rangers, Montreal, Ottawa, Detroit, and Buffalo have all been eliminated. Keep in mind, that only Buffalo has been mathematically. Teams like the Islanders and Hurricanes could be nixed by the projections as soon as Tuesday night. Eastern Conference numbers are more cut and dry to a point.
Western Conference Eliminator
Minnesota Wild — 2-6-2
San Jose Sharks — 2-6-2
Colorado Avalanche — 4-5-1
Anaheim Ducks — 4-4-1
Los Angeles Kings — 5-4-1
Dallas Stars — 5-3-1
St. Louis Blues — 5-3-2
Calgary Flames — 7-1-1
Chicago, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Arizona have been eliminated. Vancouver and Arizona are not in playoff contention and are battling for “gold points”. It is a term created to express the amount of points teams accrue post-elimination. It has no bearing but this will be something updated from time to time. Calgary is on the verge of being knocked out while Dallas and St. Louis are teetering a bit. All it takes is a few swings to change the equation and projections.
This is, as of 5:00 pm ET on March 19th. Further updates will come over the weekend and then more as the final days count down until Florida and Boston end the regular season in 20 days.