Rob Pizzo, my partner-in-podcast at theScore, dug up some pretty interesting info for us today.

He wanted to look at how teams have improved or gotten worse since last season. And, instead of just picking today’s date, he went back and said (as an example) ”okay – New Jersey has played 32 games so far this year – where were they after 32 games last year?”

Below is that information for every NHL team. How do you like the direction of yours?

*****

Eastern Conference

Team Games Played Pts 10-11 Pts 11-12 Change
1. Boston 32 38 45 +7
2. Philadelphia 32 45 44 -1
3. Florida 33 32 42 +10
4. NY Rangers 30 35 40 +5
5. Pittsburgh 33 44 40 -4
6. New Jersey 32 20 37 +17
7. Toronto 33 28 36 +8
8. Buffalo 32 30 35 +5
9. Winnipeg/Atlanta 32 38 34 -4
10. Ottawa 33 31 34 +3
11. Washington 31 39 33 -6
12. Montreal 34 40 33 -7
13. Tampa Bay 32 40 30 -10
14. NY Islanders 30 18 26 +8
15. Carolina 34 34 26 -8

Western Conference

Team Games Played Pts 10-11 Pts 11-12 Change
1. Chicago 33 35 46 +11
2. Minnesota 34 36 45 +9
3. Dallas 32 41 39 -2
4. Detroit 32 44 43 -1
5. St. Louis 32 35 42 +7
6. Vancouver 33 45 42 -3
7. Nashville 32 40 38 -2
8. San Jose 30 35 37 +2
9. Phoenix 32 37 35 -2
10. Los Angeles 33 41 34 -7
11. Colorado 34 42 33 -9
12. Calgary 33 31 32 +1
13. Edmonton 33 30 31 +1
14. Anaheim 33 36 23 -13
15. Columbus 33 37 22 -15

Biggest Jumps:

New Jersey (+17)
Chicago (+11)
Florida (+10)
Minnesota (+9)
NY Islanders/Toronto (+8)

Biggest Drops:

Columbus (-15)
Anaheim (-13)
Tampa Bay (-10)
Colorado (-9)
Carolina (-8)

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A few thoughts from this info:

* The Islanders are eight points better after 30 games, yet still find themselves in 14th. A) They better cash in on those games in hand, and B) how bad were they last year? It’s like I have a mental block on the past few years.

* Columbus gets Jeff Carter and James Wisniewski, two huge off-season moves, and gets worse by more than two touchdowns.

* Scott Arniel still has a job, eh? Hmm.

* Colorado is doing worse than this point last year? It wasn’t long ago they were up there with Dallas at the top of the West. It ain’t been pretty lately.

* The Devils had 20 points after 32 games last season – don’t they remind you of Anaheim this year? Team with talent that inexplicably sucks and starts so poorly they burn any playoff hopes by Christmas?

* Dallas had this many points last year at this time too? I don’t remember them being in the mix at all for some reason.

And last…

* Of the “five biggest drops” list, only two have fired their coach. Odd when you consider how many have been canned this season.

Comments (10)

  1. Dallas was leading the whole Western Conference for a few days here and there around this time last year. Then the injuries hit and Crawford couldn’t compensate, they plummeted and barely missed the playoffs. Lehtonen’s a couple weeks away from returning, and Burish returns tomorrow. The Stars are almost at full health again, looks like they’re about to turn it up to 11 like they did at the beginning of the season.
    At least, that’s the hope.

  2. Great article Piz! It is odd that only 2 of the 5 biggest dropped teams have fired their coach, but to be fair to Tampa they did also just hire their coach last year and it’s his second year as a HC so I don’t think he would’ve been fired either way this year. His third year might be his firing year if things don’t work out with that team.

  3. I’d say a big trend here is that the East has really gained ground on the West. The East as a whole is 23 points higher and the West is 23 points lower.

  4. Think you forgot to point out that the defending champs were last in the East in October, yet they are at the top of their conference and +7 compared to last year .. Dangerous .

    Also, the fact that the top two teams are the previous two Stanley Cup winners, AND original six .. THAT would be a great Finals .

    PS: Go BRUINS !!

  5. A nice recap…
    Because we know team win more games at home, it would be interesting to see if the Home/Away has a big influence.

  6. That BJ thing adding those great players has me shaking my head too. Maybe goaltending IS that important in hockey.

  7. how bad were the islanders? dont you remember their horrible losing streak? i dont remember the numbers but it was something like 11 or 13 games or something. they were terrible for some time last season

    • especially when you consider they’re tied for the 3rd most improved team and STILL 14th in the conference. By the way the last sentence of your post is probably the understatement of the year; you could make “decade” the last word and it would still be true

    • The Isles went 1-17-3 from Oct 23 through Dec 13 and after 30 games were just 6-18-6. They finished out 24-21-7.

      It’s been a little touch and go this season, but they’re imrpoving. A similar four-game improvement over last year’s closing run would be 28-17-7, which ain’t too shabby.

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