We just considered the difference in the Eastern Conference between goal differential and the projected standings, and now we move our focus West. I was actually inspired to do this by Edmonton radio host Bob Staffuer, who prior to last night’s game against Colorado suggested that the Oilers might be better than their record. Goal differential is probably the best comparison we have, so I thought I’d run up a chart looking at the two.

As before, this is an imperfect measure and doesn’t allow for variance in shooting and save percentage (Colorado, for instance, would fall a ton by that metric) or early season runs that probably won’t happen again (Colorado again, I’m afraid) but it does make for an interesting contrast.

Rank Team Projection Goal Diff.
1 Chicago 120 55
2 San Jose 118 42
3 Colorado 104 12
4 Nashville 102 4
5 Phoenix 100 4
6 Vancouver 99 36
7 Los Angeles 97 10
8 Detroit 96 -1
9 Calgary 95 2
10 Dallas 89 -16
11 Anaheim 85 -16
12 St. Louis 84 -10
13 Minnesota 84 -12
14 Columbus 76 -35
15 Edmonton 63 -37

Well, so much for that idea. The Oilers still sit at the very bottom of the conference.

The team that stands out here, again, is Vancouver. By goal differential they’re one of the three powerhouse teams in the Western Conference, and just like at the start of the season I’d bet on them to finish at the top of their division (and the return of Pavol Demitra certainly won’t hurt).

Minnesota doesn’t stand out a ton by this scale either, but it’s worth remembering the horrible run they had to start the year, and they could make up some ground. That said, they may not have enough to challenge one of the nine teams in the thick of the playoff fight. The bottom four teams (of those nine) by goal differential (Detroit, Calgary, Nashville and Phoenix) would all probably be second-tier contenders in the East; here one of them will likely miss the playoffs. The next tier (everyone except Edmonton and Columbus) would all have a serious shot at the playoffs in the East but they’ll probably fall short in this conference.

Comments (6)

  1. Wow so at their current pace Calgary would miss the playoffs? That’s got to be the most shocking thing about this entire chart. And here I was thinking Suter had to make it to the second round to save his job as GM. Now it looks like just getting the team in could be an issue. Of course not long ago L.A. plummeted down the Standing, but certainly the Flames are in major trouble. Meanwhile I like you Jon still have the Canucks getting that 3rd seed. Which would set them up if these projections are as close to being right at the end of year with Nashville or Phoenix.

  2. Devon:

    Whoever finishes 9th in the West is getting ripped off. They’d be a Cup contender in the East.

  3. Ripped off or not there’s nothing that can be done. The NBA is discussing this issue and has been given a proposal to let the best 16 teams get into the playoffs not just the best 8 of each conference. Could be an idea but, the reality is we all knew that their going be anywhere from 1 to 3 deserving teams in the west that would not get in. And right now that’s definetly the case with Calgary.

  4. Calgary is gonna go on a tear, what was it 8 games in 10 nights they just played? Calgary miss the playoffs pfftftttfttf

  5. J I got 2-1 odds before the season started that the Flames would be on the outside looking in when it was all over. I couldn’t jump on it fast enough. If it wasn’t for Kipper’s resurgence they would be in serious trouble.

  6. [...] been arguing for some time now that the Vancouver Canucks are one of the powerhouse teams in the Western [...]

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