A pie chart released today by moneypuck.com suggests the Chicago Blackhawks are firmly in the postseason, but certainly not the Stanley Cup favorite
If you look at the NHL standings in the midst of the Chicago Blackhawks’ ongoing bye week, you’ll see the Blackhawks have a comfortable spot as the postseason gets closer.
The Blackhawks are not only in second place in the Central Division, but also within the entire Western Conference. They actually have games in hand on teams now, which is so strange. But with the Blackhawks holding points advantages over so many teams and the games-played field being evened out, it’s good news for the Blackhawks.
came out with a pie chart today suggesting each of the 30 NHL teams’ chances for making it to certain rounds of the postseason.
The Blackhawks, it may not surprise you to learn, are listed as near locks for the playoffs. They’re listed at having a 99.68 percent chance of qualifying for the postseason, the third-highest percentage on the graphic. Those ahead of Chicago are Pittsburgh (99.75), Minnesota (100) and Washington (100).
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But there are a few surprises as we go deeper into the postseason. This chart suggests the percentages of each team to make it to not just the playoffs, but through each round of the postseason.
Blackhawks not a strong favorite early
Just looking ahead to the second round offers an interesting discussion. The Blackhawks’ percent chance of winning their first-round playoff matchup is listed at 43.7 percent. While that may seem reasonable, if you compare it to some other marks, it’s a little strange.
The St. Louis Blues currently have an 89.23 percent chance of making the postseason, per this graphic. However, their chance of making the second round is listed at 44.44 percent. AKA, this graphic is asserting the Blues would beat the Blackhawks in a first-round playoff matchup.
Think about it. If the regular season ended today, the Blackhawks and Blues would square off in the first round. I’m not sure what basis this graphic makes for such an idea, as the teams have split their four games this regular season, and the Blues have seen far more struggle and turmoil this season than the Blackhawks.
Another potential matchup for the Blackhawks in the first round could be the Nashville Predators. Their making-the-playoff chances are currently 76.27 percent. But, their first-round win chance is listed at a cool 38 percent. So why are the Blues and Predators experiencing such a slight dropoff in advance chance compared to the Blackhawks?
It’s a good question, and I’m not sure I can answer it. The Wild, for a point of reference, have a really 64.9 percent chance of advancing to the second round, according to this graphic. Of course, if they end up facing the Calgary Flames in the first round (they would if the season ended at this very moment), I’d give them an even better chance than that.
As other points of reference, some of the other first-round-win chances in the Western Conference are: 59.9 for San Jose, 51.9 for Los Angeles, 36.6 for Edmonton, 32.9 for Anaheim and 16.9 for Calgary. For the record, the Kings wouldn’t even be in the postseason if the regular season ended today.
Going beyond the early stages
The Blackhawks’ chances for success, per this graphic, don’t get much better beyond the opening round. They’re listed at 18.9 percent to make the conference finals, 8.2 percent to make the Stanley Cup Final and 3.5 percent to take home the silver chalice.
Other Western Conference contenders see their percentages in the three areas as follows:
Minnesota: 37.7, 19.4, 9.9
St. Louis: 20.7, 9.8, 4.3
Nashville: 20.0, 10.3, 5.0
San Jose: 32.5, 17.6, 8.8
Los Angeles: 29.2, 16.7, 8.9
Edmonton: 14.9, 6.4, too small to list
Anaheim: 12.2, 5.0, too small to list
Calgary: 8.2, too small to list, too small to list
So the Blackhawks are somehow the least-favored Central Division team to win the Stanley Cup of the four true contenders. Which, again, I find very strange.
Sure, the Blackhawks haven’t been incredible the entire season, but they’ve had multiple multi-game win streaks and clearly haven’t been at their best for many portions of the regular season.
They’re starting to pick up wins against teams that had previously struggled against, and there’s no counting out some deadline deal that could improve the team’s chances. So it seems the Blackhawks are being taken very lightly despite their ability to record surprising results in the past when they weren’t really expected.
Of course, this is entirely speculatory and one website’s opinion. But it’s certainly an interesting one that lets you know where some believe the Blackhawks stand at this point.