NHL Odds – Will Canada Get Frozen out of Playoffs? [UPDATED]
Eric ThompsonNo comments
The country has only one baseball team (the Blue Jays) and one basketball team (the Raptors), yet both of them were/are real contenders this year. But somehow, none of their seven NHL teams is currently sitting in a playoff spot past the halfway point of the season. In fact, Canadian hockey teams might be the one thing lower than their dollar right now.
When we originally forecast the season, we set the over/under for Canadian playoff teams at 3.5. Now that number is more like 0.5, and I’m pretty sure the under would get demolished. Granted, there is still plenty of season left, but with the trade deadline approaching, it looks like most of the Canadian clubs will be sellers, not buyers.
There has only been one postseason in the NHL’s history to have no representatives from the Great White North, all the way back in 1970. Can at least one club get off the mat and give the biggest hockey country in the world something to cheer about? Let’s look at the odds for each team to make a turnaround.
Odds each Canadian team will make the playoffs:
Vancouver Canucks: 7/3
- The team I thought would have the biggest drop off might be Canada’s only hope. Playing in the underwhelming Pacific Division, the Canucks are only a few wins out of the third and final automatic playoff spot. Of course, Vancouver has had plenty of opportunities to grab Ws, but instead lead the league in OT losses with 12. The Nucks are relying a lot on young kids to make contributions, like rookies Ben Hutton and Jake Virtanen. But with veterans Henrik and Daniel Sedin leading the way, this team should at least be in the hunt ’til the bitter end.
Montreal Canadiens: 4/1
- The Habs have been in a tailspin, just waiting for Carey Price to return and pull them out of it. But it doesn’t look like that white horse is coming any time soon. With rumors that Price might be shut down for the year, a Montreal team that has been the worst in the league since his injury will need to find another way to turn things around. If the Habs can’t find more goal scoring (perhaps by calling up John Scott?) then a few people will be out of a job in Montreal.
Ottawa Senators: 7/1
- Goaltending was the strength that got Ottawa into the playoffs last year. Now it’s the weakness that’s getting exploited. It’s not that Craig Anderson has been terrible, but Ottawa surrenders the most shots in the league, so an average save percentage of .912 won’t get the job done for the Sens. Ottawa has tried to help the defensive cause, making a blockbuster deal for Dion Phaneuf. However, the Sens will likely need to leapfrog Detroit and Boston – two veteran squads that aren’t likely to drop off – to guarantee a playoff spot. So we’ve likely not seen the end of this team making moves.
Edmonton Oilers: 10/1
- The Oilers have had the first overall pick in four of the last six drafts and clearly it is not helping. Their newest pick, Connor McDavid, is already the backbone of this young group. With the rookie back from injury, Edmonton is a far more entertaining team, but they’ve likely dug themselves too big of a hole to crawl out of now. The Oilers do have a favorable homestand coming up, including a visit from three of these awful Canadian teams, so they can still close the gap in the Pacific. But does this young team with little winning experience have what it takes? Canadian television networks certainly hope so.
Calgary Flames: 12/1
- Advanced statistics argued that Calgary couldn’t recreate the magic the young team found last year. When the team traded for Dougie Hamilton, it became very hard for me to listen to stats nerds: this team was gonna get it done again. Now it might be time to admit I was wrong. The Flames need to pass four teams to grab a playoff spot. Making it tougher, they’ll be without Dennis Wideman for most of that run after the defenseman was suspended 20 games for his hit on a linesman. For a team that relies heavily on their back line, it’s time to start planning for next season in Calgary.
Winnipeg Jets: 25/1
- After making their first trip to the playoffs since hockey returned to Winnipeg last year, hopes were high for the Jets this season. Now, not so much. The biggest question surrounding this team isn’t where they will finish, but rather what will happen to Andrew Ladd, now that the team has paid star defenseman Dustin Byfuglien. The Jets should be an active team at the deadline, but making moves that benefit their future. In the powerhouse Central Division, this team won’t be able to get off the mat this season.
Toronto Maple Leafs: 100/1
- Mike Babcock made it painfully clear that making the playoffs was not a part of the Leafs’ plan this season. Lo and behold, they have delivered! A real contender for first overall pick, Toronto is playing some inspired hockey, they just have a minor league caliber roster, made even worse (better) by the Dion Phaneuf trade. At least they boosted Leo Komarov to “All-Star” level. That should make him a hot commodity at the trade deadline.
Odds there are no Canadian teams in the playoffs: 13/12