The Leafs' Fenwick and Their Historical Playoff Odds

Shawn Reis
November 25 2014 02:30PM

The Leafs currently sit 23rd in the league with a 47.78% Fenwick and seem to have settled into the 47% range as a season average over the last few games.  It's an improvement on the last couple of seasons and certainly makes their chances of getting into the playoffs better.  But by how much?

Like I said, the Leafs have seemed to settle into the 47% range for Fenwick over recent games.  What we also know is that once we get to about the 20 game mark there is an increasingly small chance that a team's possession numbers will vary much by the end of the season.  With this in mind, it seems at least probable that the Leafs Fenwick will finish in the 46 to 48% range by the end of the season.  Knowing this, I looked at every team that had a Fenwick in this range over the last five 82 game seasons in the NHL to see how they fared.  Here's the results:

Season

Team

Fenwick%

Conference Seed

2008-2009

Nashville Predators

48.96

10th

2008-2009

Pittsburgh Penguins

48.95

4th

2008-2009

Vancouver Canucks

48.91

3rd

2011-2012

Anaheim Ducks

48.86

13th

2011-2012

New York Islanders

48.72

14th

2010-2011

Nashville Predators

48.44

5th

2009-2010

New York Islanders

48.44

13th

2008-2009

Philadelphia Flyers

48.37

5th

2009-2010

Dallas Stars

48.30

12th

2009-2010

Minnesota Wild

48.10

13th

2008-2009

Colorado Avalanche

48.08

15th

2011-2012

Buffalo Sabres

48.04

9th

2009-2010

Carolina Hurricanes

47.94

11th

2009-2010

Tampa Bay Lightning

47.86

12th

2013-2014

Montreal Canadiens

47.86

4th

2011-2012

Toronto Maple Leafs

47.84

13th

2010-2011

Dallas Stars

47.82

9th

2011-2012

Carolina Hurricanes

47.81

12th

2009-2010

Atlanta Thrashers

47.76

10th

2011-2012

Edmonton Oilers

47.75

14th

2011-2012

Tampa Bay Lightning

47.75

10th

2013-2014

Calgary Flames

47.75

13th

2009-2010

Columbus Blue Jackets

47.74

14th

2011-2012

Montreal Canadiens

47.70

15th

2011-2012

Columbus Blue Jackets

47.68

15th

2008-2009

Tampa Bay Lightning

47.64

14th

2010-2011

Carolina Hurricanes

47.63

9th

2010-2011

Colorado Avalanche

47.55

14th

2008-2009

Montreal Canadiens

47.42

8th

2012-2014

Washington Capitals

47.11

9th

2011-2012

Nashville Predators

47.11

4th

2008-2009

Minnesota Wild

47.08

9th

2008-2009

Edmonton Oilers

47.05

11th

2010-2011

Toronto Maple Leafs

47.02

10th

2009-2010

Montreal Canadiens

46.88

8th

2011-2012

Calgary Flames

46.70

9th

2009-2010

Anaheim Ducks

46.69

11th

2013-2014

Colorado Avalanche

46.54

2nd

2010-2011

New York Islanders

46.47

14th

2008-2009

Atlanta Thrashers

46.43

13th

2009-2010

Colorado Avalanche

46.08

8th


NOTES

  • For teams with a Fenwick% between 46.00 and 46.99, 4/7 missed the playoffs and only one finished above 8th in their conference.  The average place in the standing for teams in this range (rounded) was 9th.
  • For teams with a Fenwick% between 47.00 and 47.99, just 3/22 made the playoffs.  One came 8th, and the other two came in 4th.  The average place in the standings for teams in this range was 11th.
  • For teams with a Fenwick% between 48.00 and 48.99, 8/12 missed the playoffs.  Interestingly enough, each team came between 3rd and 5th in the conference out of this bunch.  The average place in the standings for teams in this range was 10th.
  • Overall, for teams with a Fenwick% between 46.00 and 48.99, 31/41 missed the playoffs and just 7/41 teams finished higher than 8th in their conference.  The average place in the standings for teams in this range was 10th.

This isn't very encouraging for the Leafs playoff chances, but it's not terrible news either.  Historically speaking, they certainly seem to have at least a chance at getting in.  They do sit 7th in the East in points right now, have a positive goal differential, and a PDO off 100.4.  So, their record does seem largely sustainable.  I think this aligns pretty closely with what most people think of this team: they have a decent chance, albeit an outside one, at making the playoffs.  I guess we'll just have to wait and see.


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Shawn enjoys writing for The Leafs Nation, candlelit dinners, and long walks on the beach. Twitter: @ShawnReis
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#1 Dan
November 25 2014, 02:53PM
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I'd love to see an article written on how irrelevant advanced stats can be for some teams.

New Jersey last season.

Edmonton this season.

I'm sure there are many examples.

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#2 posthack
November 25 2014, 03:06PM
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Dan wrote:

I'd love to see an article written on how irrelevant advanced stats can be for some teams.

New Jersey last season.

Edmonton this season.

I'm sure there are many examples.

There is no mystery to why NJD did not make the playoffs last season (0-13 in shootouts if I recall correctly) and stubbornly playing Brodeur in half their games while sitting a goalie who was younger, better and winning more games for them.

Not sure you need advanced stats for the oil. Crap defence, no centres and questionable goaltending.

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#3 leafer1967
November 25 2014, 03:29PM
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@posthack

Fixed this for you.

Not sure you need advanced stats.

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#4 Benjamin
November 25 2014, 05:09PM
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@Dan

Advanced stats (or basic statistics, if you prefer) aren't God, they're just a very powerful predictive tool.

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#5 Benjamin
November 25 2014, 05:10PM
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@leafer1967

You don't, unless you're an NHL exec who wants to keep their job.

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#6 BubbaLou
November 25 2014, 06:03PM
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I still don't understand what there is to hate - these are simply the numbers that drive the scores. OBP% as an indicator of bases and walks, possession time for soccer, shooting% for ball, and the like. At the moment, no other stat correlates as closely with end-of-season standings than the new possession metrics do. Well, duh points correlate 100% wiseguy, but points don't -predict- as well mid-season. If something better comes around, you'll probably hear about it.

Yes, there will be outliers - just like everything ever, didn't anyone tell you how bell curves work in school? The point is not that there are some outliers, but that the bulk of the data fits within what you expect so often, you can discount the others. Often it takes very little digging to find another powerful stat that made/broke those outliers - Not winning a single shootout all year was the difference for New Jersey missing the playoffs - win even 4 of 13 and they were in. By contrast look at the Leafs: After game 20 the team won under 30% of the remaining games "in regulation" - so we got a huge outlier boost. The team still stunk.

The beautiful part about hockey is that individual games are VERY random - unlike soccer, where if you have the ball 65% of the time you're dominating the opponents and playing however you want to, if you have 65% of the shots in hockey it LOOKS like you're dominating on TV, and that's usually good enough - but not always. Never always. No stat is perfect, all require some context - Colorado's Corsi with their PDO. New Jersey with shootouts. Edmonton with save%.

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#7 leafer2013
November 25 2014, 08:37PM
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@Benjamin

Good point. Look at useful Analytics has been to the oilers. Management and coaching is going to take for the fall for trusting that analytics would save the team. Now Lowe, Mactavish and Eakins are going to lose their job and analytics is can really not do anything to help.

.

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#8 Dan
November 25 2014, 09:29PM
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@Dan

They're called outliers, pal. The plethora of examples of high-Fenwick teams making the playoffs versus low-Fenwick teams displays this relationship.

I still don't get how people are still doubting the validity of these stats...

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#9 Colleen
November 26 2014, 12:22AM
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Analytics experts were brought in after the start of free agency,some as late as August. Teams were already set for the most part. There was little they could do in Toronto in particular because of the existing cap mess. They aren't magicians. There's a lot they can help with but they can't change the cap, get rid of bad NT contracts or give the existing roster talent it doesn't possess. They can watch the games and collect needed data and suggest some changes in player usage, ice time, line combinations, D pairings and possible trades to upgrade in certain areas. You can't blame them for incompetence, mistakes and bad decisions made before they got there nor expect them to fix them in a month or two. That would be impossible.

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#10 TGT23
November 26 2014, 04:43AM
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@leafer2013

You mean bringing in a group of people to fix your roster AFTER you've already committed to overpaying free agents and have your roster set doesn't work? No... How could bringing in people after the fact not change the past and alter future reality?

Those guys are going to lose their jobs because they made terrible decisions well before they ever turned to analytics and then hoped it could bail them out.

You can't say this Oilers team or this Leafs team is based on the failures of analytics. Analytics had no part in creating these rosters.

Not to even get into the fact that analytics are just tools, not a magic wand. Analytics can't make a goalie who is saving 89.5% of his shots win games. Given better goaltending and Edmonton would be better (though not great, they don't have a good D, either).

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#11 Benjamin
November 26 2014, 06:13AM
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@leafer2013

Would you say, "Look at how useful the new coach and GM have been" after they'd only spent 20 games on the job, with a roster put in place before they got there?

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