Which Teams Are Primed For A Hot Start In The NHL?

May 1, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Flyers center Claude Giroux (28) gets ready for a face-off against the New Jersey Devils during the second period of game two of the 2012 Eastern Conference semifinals at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

With the NHL lockout being settled on January 6th and the memorandum of understanding signed on January 12th, NHL teams had only six days to hold a training camp before the first game of the season on January 19th.  This is obviously much shorter than a normal training camp and with zero exhibition games compared to six to eight in a typical season many players and teams will be shaking off the rust on Saturday.

I have a very simple hypothesis: NHL teams who had more players playing competitive hockey during the lockout will be in a better position at the start of the season than those that had just a  few players.  And since the season will be compressed I would also suspect that these teams will perform better over the course of the 48 game schedule.

The table below summarizes for each team the number of players they had playing in Europe and in North America (AHL, CHL, ECHL, etc.) during the lockout.

Team

Europe

NA

Total

Philadelphia

11

4

15

Boston

11

4

15

Ottawa

10

4

14

NY Islanders

9

5

14

San Jose

9

4

13

Toronto

7

6

13

Montreal

10

2

12

Chicago

6

5

11

Edmonton

5

6

11

Detroit

9

2

11

Washington

8

3

11

Winnipeg

7

4

11

Dallas

5

6

11

Buffalo

8

2

10

Carolina

5

5

10

St. Louis

8

2

10

Columbus

5

5

10

Nashville

6

3

9

Phoenix

6

3

9

Calgary

4

5

9

Florida

6

3

9

Anaheim

5

3

8

Tampa Bay

4

4

8

LA

5

3

8

New Jersey

4

3

7

Colorado

4

3

7

Pittsburgh

4

3

7

NY Rangers

5

1

6

Minnesota

4

2

6

Vancouver

1

4

5

The Philadelphia Flyers led all teams with 15 players that played during the lockout, while the Vancouver Canucks bring up the rear with only five players that saw real game action.  This is very interesting as the Canucks along with the Pittsburgh Penguins and NY Rangers are among the favorites to win the Stanley Cup according to bet365.  The Rangers along with the Penguins only had six and seven players playing respectively and if any of these teams get off to a slow start they may not be able to recover with only 48 games in the season.  That’s not saying that they cannot win the Stanley Cup, but a slow start could be the difference between winning a division or being an eight seed heading into the playoffs.

I plan on reviewing this data at the end of the year to see if there is any relationship between number of players active during the lockout and team success in the shortened NHL season.

 

Follow Tony on Twitter: @TheDailyBites

 

Topics: NHL, PREDICTIONS

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