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Can the Leafs still qualify for the Playoffs? Do I even want to know? I know you do!


Yes, I'm referring to the 2010 playoffs.  When Brian Burke declared that making the playoffs was still the goal for his team this year (in spite of the questions it inevitably raises about his grasp on reality) it got me to wondering... "Can it be done? What exactly needs to happen?"  It's something the fine folks who visit PPP would probably all like to know.  If anything, it will give "Playoffs!!1" a little bit of context.

I really don't know what the numbers are and so I'm going to be coming up with answers as I go along.  Come along with me on an adventure through dubious statistics and questionable logic!

***DISCLAIMER***

At this point I am confident that the Leafs' playoff chances are extremely remote.  This is merely an exercise in speculation, pontification and self-loathing.

***END OF DISCLAIMER***

Getting into the playoffs is easy.  All you need to do is pass the teams between you and the 7th place team in your conference.  Piece of cake.  In fact, if the Leafs continue their post-Phaneuf/Giguere acquisition pace over the 25 games they have remaining this season they will earn 97 points, which would get them into the post-season polka by a country mile.

A sober second look at that statistic does not bode well for the Leafs' chances.  Even a perfect 25-0-0 record from now until the end of the season won't even get them to the triple-digit plateau.

Alright, enough meandering, let's get some numbers crunched.  In order, the Leafs will need to pass the Islanders, Bruins, Thrashers, Rangers, Panthers and Lightning, while remaining ahead of the Hurricanes, in order to make the post-season.

I'm going to take the easy way out and project the aforementioned team's records by multiplying their points-per-game rate over their past ten games by the number of games they have remaining and then add the result to their current point total in the standings.  Kind of a cop out because it's very unlikely that these rates will be maintained - but I'm simply not that good at fancy math or evaluating strength of schedule stats.  I'm going to round up all decimals.

Islanders - (3-7-0 = 6/10) * 25 GR = 15 + 54 = 69 points (Seems reasonable.)

Bruins - (1-6-3 = 4/10) * 27 GR = 11 + 56 = 67 points (OK, this one is unlikely, they'll probably finish a little higher.)

Thrashers - (4-4-2 = 10/10) * 27 GR = 27 + 56 = 83 points (Without Kovalchuk they may not reach this.)

Rangers - (3-7-0 = 6/10) * 24 GR = 15 + 57 = 72 points (Seems a bit low... but not that low.)

Panthers - (6-3-1 = 13/10) * 26 GR = 34 + 57 = 91 points (The pitfalls of this method are becoming apparent.)

Lightning - (6-3-1 = 13/10) * 26 GR = 34 + 59 = 93 points (Sweet merciful crap.)

Alright, I think it's fair to adjust both Floridian totals downwardly to around 85-86 points.  So I've clumsily pointed something out that we pretty much already knew:  90 points will get you into the playoffs this year in the East and anything from 85 up will get you in the hunt.

Now to the Leafs...

Maple Leafs - (3-5-2 = 8/10) * 25 GR = 20 + 47 = 67 points (Not good.  Also, ominous.)

In order to earn just 85 points on the season, which will probably still leave them just shy of the playoffs, the Leafs will need to accumulate an additional 38 points over their remaining 25 games.   How likely do the following records sound?

14 - 1 - 10

15 - 2 - 8

16 - 3 - 6

17 - 4- 4

18 - 5 - 2

19 - 6 - 0

If your answer was anything other than "not very" I will have some of what you're having.  (Ha, sorry.)

So it looks like we have our answer.... But wait! There's more!!

What is the one thing we want more than anything else if we don't make the playoffs?  Something to do with Phil Kessel... and Boston... and that pick that used to be ours.  Right?  If our ship is sinking we might as well ram a few others on the way down! Pity party!!!

The other teams "competing" for a lottery pick this season will be the Oilers, Hurricanes and Blue Jackets. (Here comes that stupid equation again!)

Oilers - (2-7-1 = 5/10) * 26 GR = 13 + 42 = 55 points

Hurricanes (5-5-0 = 10/10) * 26 = 26 + 45 = 71 points

Jackets - (5-5-0 = 10/10) * 23 GR = 23 + 44 = 78 points

 

So the bottom feeders are looking like:

  1. Edmonton @ 55 points
  2. Bruins @ 67
  3. Leafs @ 67
  4. Islanders @ 69
  5. Hurricanes @ 71
  6. Rangers @ 72
  7. Jackets @ 78

Firstly, if this indeed is the end result of the season those Bruins will be salivating on lottery day and draft day.  Holy F bomb.

Secondly, we've got some games to win if we want to get out of lottery land but it's entirely within the realm of possibility if the team plays well.

Thirdly, the 30 minutes that I have spent writing this post have been thoroughly depressing and I'm tempted to just delete it.

If the additions of Dion Phaneuf and J.S. Giguere can get this team to play at a reasonable clip for the rest of the season the Leafs have a good shot at at least squirming out of the bottom five.  That's something!

But it will be tough to escape the bottom ten unless a few teams really take nosedives.

Sorry to be such a debbie downer at a time when optimism is swirling around the Leafs organization but the numbers just aren't in the Leafs' favour for the rest of the season.  Perhaps someone with better mathing skills can prove otherwise?  Please?

Thanks for reading.  Go Leafs.

PensionPlanPuppets.com is a fan community that allows members to post their own thoughts and opinions on the Toronto Maple Leafs and hockey in general. These views and thoughts may not be shared by the editor of PensionPlanPuppets.com.

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