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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?
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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
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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
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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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