The odds of the San Jose Sharks making the playoffs are long.
Popular analytics sites HockeyViz and MoneyPuck give the Sharks about a 10 percent chance.
let's please not do the playoffs discourse again. there's gotta be something else to talk about pic.twitter.com/XI6P0Qdw5B
— rooster trick (@FowleBall15) February 5, 2022
At the moment, the Sharks, with 48 points, lurk just four points away from the Calgary Flames and the last wild card spot in the West. The Flames, however, have four games in hand.
Another way to underscore the difference between San Jose and say a Calgary? The Sharks are on pace for 86 points, while the Flames are on pace for 102 points.
So San Jose isn’t catching Calgary.
In fact, 86 points isn’t cutting it either. From 2005-19 and the advent of the shootout and the end of ties, to the last 82-game season, the worst playoff team, the 2015-16 Minnesota Wild, had 87 points. From 2005-19, only two teams have made a 16-team playoff under 90 points, these Wild and the 2009-10 Montreal Canadiens.
These teams were really the exception to the rule — from 2005-19, the average worst playoff team in a season had 92 points.
So what do these San Jose Sharks need to do to reach 92 points? They’ll need 44 points in 36 games — a .611 Points % clip. That would be well ahead of their current .522.
They can do it with say a 20-12-4 finish: They would basically need to put up points at a Flames-like pace (Calgary is 14th in the NHL at .619 Points %) the rest of the season.
But that just gets them in the playoffs — maybe. From 2005-19, there were five seasons where the worst playoff team cleared 92 points.
Bob Boughner said last week, after the San Jose Sharks’ last game before the All-star break: “I like the way our schedule sets up for the second half. We play a lot of teams around us that are either just ahead of us or just behind us and that’s a good thing.”
There’s some truth in that, insofar as in the final 36 games of the regular season, the Sharks will play 20 divisional games, after just six in their first 46.
Those are some big games upcoming, especially against the Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, and Vancouver Canucks.
The Sharks will also need to keep an eye out on Central Division foes Dallas Stars and Winnipeg Jets for that last wild card spot.
The odds are against the Sharks — but maybe they’ll keep surprising us.
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