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NHL Western Conference Playoff Update (Feb 26)

The race continues to get tighter for all teams involved down the stretch



The NHL’s trade deadline has come and gone so now it’s time to look at an updated version of each Western Conferene bubble team’s playoff chances heading into the last six weeks of the season. Here’s a link to the last update in early February.

All odds from Hockey Reference

Pacific Division Spots

San Jose Sharks (33-21-9, 75 pts) 2nd in Pacific: Playoff Chances = 75.7% (+1.4%)

Last Five Games: 2-2-1

Next Five Games: 27/02 vs EDM, 01/03 vs CHI, 04/03 vs CBJ, 08/03 vs STL, 10/03 vs WSH

The Sharks made the biggest acquisition of any Western Conference bubble team today with the pickup of Evander Kane from the Sabres for a package that included no roster players. San Jose has lost their last three games but now head home for six straight games where they are 17-9-3 this year.

Anaheim Ducks (31-21-12, 74 pts) 3rd in Pacific: Playoff Chances = 51.6% (+20.8%)

Last Five Games: 3-1-1

Next Five Games: 02/03 vs CBJ, 04/03 vs CHI, 06/03 vs WSH, 08/03 at NSH, 09/03 at DAL

I just wanted to say that I’m still pissed at the Oilers for gifting Anaheim a point. The Ducks made a big jump in their playoff odds thanks to picking up 9 out of a possible 12 points to end February. Anaheim didn’t do much at the deadline, adding Jason Chimera and signing Team Canada captian Chris Kelly.

Wild Card Playoff Spots

Dallas Stars (35-23-4, 74 pts) 1st Wild Card Spot: Playoff Chances = 75.8% (+2.2%)

Last Five Games: 2-3-0

Next Five Games: 27/02 vs CGY, 01/03 vs TB, 03/03 vs STL, 05/03 vs OTT, 06/03 at NSH

The Stars had a quiet deadline today which was to be expected as they’ve had a decent year overall but can’t quite compete points-wise with the top dogs in their division in Winnipeg and Nashville. The Stars have gotten goaltending this year which used to be their downfall, but can they ride it to a playoff spot in a tight Western Conference.

Calgary Flames (32-22-9, 73 pts) 2nd Wild Card Spot: Playoff Chances = 59.4% (+9.2%)

Last Five Games: 2-2-1

Next Five Games: 27/02 at DAL, 28/02 at COL, 02/03 vs NYR, 05/03 at PIT, 07/03 at BUF

With teams around them losing lately, the Flames managed to pick up a pair of wins over Arizona and Colorado to thrust themselves right back into the playoff picture. Calgary made two small acquisitions today, picking up Chris Stewart on waivers and trading for Nick Shore from Ottawa. The Flames chose not to add a veteran goalie and will continue forward with the Rittich/Gillies tandem until Mike Smith returns.

St. Louis Blues (34-25-4, 72 pts) 9th in West: Playoff Chances = 43.7% (N/A)

Last Five Games: 0-4-1

Next Five Games: 27/02 at MIN, 28/02 vs DET, 03/03 at DAL, 08/03 at SJ, 10/03 at LA

The Blues have fallen on hard times, losing six games in a row and falling out of a comfortable Central Division playoff spot to right outside of the playoff picture. The Blues also chose to sell today by trading Paul Statsny to Winnipeg. St. Louis still has a lot of good players but things are starting to fall apart for them and it’s hard to say if they’ll turn around in time.

Los Angeles Kings (33-24-5, 71 pts) 10th in West: Playoff Chances = 63.7% (-5.9%)

Last Five Games: 3-2-0

Next Five Games: 26/02 vs VGK, 27/02 at VGK, 01/03 vs CBJ, 03/03 vs CHI, 08/03 vs WSH

After acquiring Dion Phaneuf a couple weeks ago, the Kings only move near the deadline was bringing in Tobias Rieder from Arizona in a smaller deal. LA has a good roster that needs to find some of the mojo that propelled them to the top of the division earlier in the season. A back-to-back with Vegas post deadline will definitely be a challenge for the Kings.

Colorado Avalanche (32-24-5, 69 pts) 11th in West: Playoff Chances = 37.0% (-28.2%)

Last Five Games: 1-3-1

Next Five Games: 26/02 vs VAN, 28/02 vs CGY, 02/03 vs MIN, 04/03 vs NSH, 06/03 at CHI

The Avalanche’s playoff odds to a big hit in the month of February, falling 28%. That can be somewhat reversed if they’re able to take advantage of the 1-2 games in hand they have on other Western Confernce teams. If they can win those games, then they’re right back in it, if not then their odds will continue to fall way down.

With the trade deadline now passed and the season starting to wind down, I’ll be aiming to get out these pieces every 7-10 days. It’s a very exciting but also stressful stretch drive for these teams.

by Michael MacGillivray