The Stanley Cup finals are just around the corner and it is never too early to start thinking about your playoff brackets and fantasy pools.
To better your chance at winning this year, I wanted to share with you another interesting stat that will not only help predict who will win the Stanley Cup, but also help you build the best possible fantasy lineup to win your playoff pools.
Without further ado, let's get to it!
Wins after scoring first as a Stanley Cup indicator
I looked at the past ten Stanley Cup winners from 2007 to 2016 and discovered the following:
Eight out of the past ten Stanley Cup winners finished in the top five in the statistic for most regular season wins after scoring first.
Seven of those teams finished in the top four of that statistic.
Finally, no Stanley Cup winning team in the past ten years has ever finished outside of the top eight in that statistic.
The last ten Stanley Cup winners
2007: Anaheim Ducks (4th), 34 Wins
2008: Detroit Red Wings (1st), 43 Wins
2009: Pittsburgh Penguins (5th), 30 Wins
2010: Chicago Blackhawks (1st), 40 Wins
2011: Boston Bruins (6th), 30 Wins
2012: Los Angeles Kings (4th), 32 Wins
2013: Chicago Blackhawks (1st), 26 Wins *Lockout Season*
2014: Los Angeles Kings (3rd), 36 Wins
2015: Chicago Blackhawks (4th), 35 Wins
2016: Pittsburgh Penguins (8th), 30 Wins
I don’t know about you, but these stats seem to be a very strong Stanley Cup indicator, especially when we consider the probability of correctly identifying the Stanley Cup winner:
You have great odds of picking who will win the Stanley Cup if you pick within the top four.
You have even better odds if you pick within the top five.
Finally, you have a guaranteed chance to pick the Stanley Cup winning team, if you pick within the top eight.
What these stats are saying
In hockey, we often hear about the importance of scoring the first goal, as it usually gives teams a huge advantage against their opponents. In many ways, this stat does a great job of attesting to that point. Especially when we consider the total goal differentials per game.
In the past five seasons, only three NHL teams had a postive goal differential higher than 1.00 per game. With the 2012 Chicago Blackhawks holding the highest goal differential of 1.08 per game, according to Sporting Charts. This shows how little scoring discrepancies there are among NHL teams, especially in more competitive playoff games, when many games are usually decided by just one goal.
Who will win the Stanley Cup in 2017?
So, based on this hypothesis, I am sure that you want to know who will win the Stanley Cup in 2017?
As of 3/20/2017 the top eight teams in the NHL with the most wins when scoring first includes:
1st - Washington Capitals, 38 Wins
2nd - Chicago Blackhawks, 34 Wins
3rd - Columbus Blue Jackets, 33 Wins
4th - San Jose Sharks, 31 Wins
5th - Minnesota Wild, 30 Wins
6th - New York Rangers, 29 Wins
7th - Montreal Canadiens, 29 Wins
8th - Anaheim Ducks, 28 Wins
*Please bear in mind, this list will fluctuate a bit before the NHL season ends.
Therefore, based on the current rankings of this list, the top four favourites to win the Stanley Cup in 2017 are the Washington Capitals, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets and the San Jose Sharks. Although I picked the Washington Capitals to win it all in my last article, the Chicago Blackhawks has my pick here.
Simply because I truly believe that defense wins championships. They have shown in the past that, they are capable of winning many close one goal games, especially during crucial times in the playoffs. Additionally, they are icing one of the best, if not the best defensive lineups the team has ever seen; with Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Johnny Oduya and Brian Campbell as their top five defensemen.
However, I am also a huge fan of seeing Cinderella teams going far into the playoffs. So based on the current rankings, if you were to pick a wild card team to win it all. The underdog team with the best odds would be the New York Rangers.
As you can see, this list is not 100 percent bulletproof and will likely require some extra input on your part to come to your final decisions, but this information can definitely give you a good idea of which teams will go far in the playoffs, and help you pick your players accordingly.
Do you think that the Chicago Blackhawks will win the Stanley Cup again this year? Will the New York Rangers be the Cinderella team of this year’s playoffs? Let us know in the comments section below.