By Fred Wallace
Hi, this is Fred Wallace with " Off the Wire. "
This has evolved into a regular yearly segment for this feature.
It started a few years ago in Erie, Pennsylvania when then-Attack coach Ryan McGill related there was a statistic that revealed that 80-85 % of NHL teams in a playoff position on the Monday after U.S. Thanksgiving made the playoffs.
Intrigued, we've always made a point at this time of the year to do a double check.
In 2017-18, the percentages were lower than projected.
Six of 8, or 75 %, of the Eastern Conference teams in a playoff position at US Thanksgiving in 2017, made the 2018 NHL Playoffs.
Boston & Philadelphia fought their way in. The New York teams; the Rangers and Islanders played their way out.
In the Western Conference, there was more fluctuation; 5 of 8, or 68 %, remained in a playoff position from US Thanksgiving on, while 3 teams- Anaheim, Minnesota & Colorado- arrived for the post season, and 3 others- St Louis, Chicago & Calgary- tumbled out of contention.
So based on the numbers from last year, who do you project will stay or go in the East ?
Right now from a divisional standpoint, Tampa Bay, Buffalo & the Leafs are in for the Atlantic Division, while Washington, Columbus & the Islanders represent the Metropolitan Division. Boston & Montreal have Wild Card positions.
And in the West, from the Central Division Nashville, Minnesota & Colorado are in while Calgary, San Jose & Vegas have spots in the Pacific Division.
The Western Wild cards are Winnipeg & Dallas.
We'll do an update on the Monday following the regular season, Monday April 8th, to see who played and who stayed.
I'm Fred Wallace