Dusting off the old calculator, we looked at the Chicago Blackhawks’ current pace and what kind of a record they will need down the stretch to see postseason play
Things are getting pretty grim for Chicago Blackhawks fans out there. The team has had back-to-back humiliating losses, being outscored 11-3 in those two games. The status of goaltender Corey Crawford is cloudy, at best, and the team is five points out of a playoff spot with four teams ahead of it.
We have talked ad nauseum about what players need to step up and turn things around for the Blackhawks to make the playoffs this year, but I want to take things back a couple steps. Let’s get down to just the raw numbers and how they are stacked up against the ‘Hawks. I’ll warn you ahead of time: This isn’t happy news.
We did the math
It’s simple to look at a five-point deficit and think that it is easy for a team to bounce back. Three more wins than the other team and you gain six points on them.
But things get a little muddier when you have to make that jump against a team that has been hot lately. It gets worse when you include needing to jump three other teams that are also ahead of you.
So instead of looking at how many more wins you need to get than three other teams, let’s just look at an end goal the ‘Hawks can aim at.
Last year (as if you could possibly forget), the Nashville Predators were the last team to make the playoffs and landed in the eighth seed in the West. They had a total of 94 points in the regular season with a 41-29-12 record. Let’s use that 94-point mark as a baseline.
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The Blackhawks currently have 50 points in 46 games played this season, a 22-18-6 overall record. This puts them on pace to end up with 89 points total in 2017-18, which certainly doesn’t seem like it would be enough to make the playoffs.
If we are using the 94-point line Nashville ended with a season ago as the number to beat, the Blackhawks would need to come up with 45 points in their final 36 games this year. That looks something like a 20-11-5 record to close out the year.
But things may not even be that easy (if we can call 20-11-5 easy) for the Blackhawks. With the surge the teams in front of the ‘Hawks have been on, 95 points may not be enough. Currently, Colorado is on pace for 100 points this season. Dallas and St. Louis are both on pace for 99 points.
If those numbers hold, the Blackhawks would need to come up with 50 points in the standings in their final 36 games, or something like a 23-9-4 record. For reference, the best 36-game stretch the Blackhawks had a season ago (a year in which they finished with the No. 1 seed) was 23-8-5, or 51 points in 36 games.
Even the Predators of last season (who had to turn it on in the second half of the year in order to make the postseason after a disappointing first half) only finished with a 19-12-5 record, worth 43 standings points, in their final 36 games last year.
In the 36 games the Blackhawks have left this year, 20 are against teams that are currently in a playoff spot. Only six games are against opponents with a current record worse than the Blackhawks’ current record. So if the point total wasn’t already hard enough, the opponents are not going to be any easier.
Basically, in order for the Blackhawks to make the playoffs they are going to need to go on one of their hottest runs in recent years, hope the teams ahead of them in the standings don’t go on a similar streak, and they will have to do it against some very tough opponents.
All of these numbers make things look pretty rough for the guys in red, and that is before even adding in the fact the Blackhawks have lost their starting goaltender for an indefinite amount of time.
Facts are facts. Unless the Blackhawks go on a run that is basically as good as their best 36-game stretch from last season, the likelihood is the team will not have enough points to make it to the postseason, ending its consecutive postseason streak at nine seasons.
We can talk for hours about what stars need to step up, what help could come in a trade or which youth players could make a big impact, but at the end of the day, the numbers are just not there. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the hole is just about six feet underground and playoff chances are on life support.