I am writing a series where I intend to explore the NHL’s Pacific Division. The intention is to help the readers have a clear understanding and look into the division that the Oilers compete in. I hope to look at the division from a few different angles. The main concept is to really understand the other teams and how the Oilers currently stack up. Personally at times I think have an idea of how things are. I think they are a certain way, but upon review they are different from my original thought. I like to have clarity and a clear understanding of the objective. The objective for me is to understand how and if the Oilers can make the playoffs. If they can’t, we should have a good idea why. If they can, we should be able to see where the opportunity lies ahead of time.
We all know the Oilers have stunk forever–well at least it seems like forever. How long has it been? In terms of the Pacific Division, it has been three full seasons. The Pacific Division was only formed to begin the 2013-14 season. It’s funny how my memory plays tricks on me. I remember the Oilers drafting Taylor Hall first overall, and it feels like they have been in last place ever since. I know there have been some ups, but a lot of downs. So here it is. During the 2012-13 season (The Northwest Division) the Oilers finished third out of five teams. In the 13-14 season after the league went to four Divisions the Oilers finished 7th out of 7. In the 2014-15 season the Oilers finished sixth out of seven, and in 2015-16th they finished seventh out of seven. As we know, cellar dwellers.
Here is the main thing with how the league constructed the divisions. They wanted rivalry. They wanted each team to have a real enemy of each of their division opponents. The intention of the alignment is simply to be one of the third best teams in your division and make the playoffs. If you are fourth, you lower your chances due to the fact you need to also beat out the teams from the Central Division. I know this isn’t rocket science at all. It is really simple. Simply be one of the three best teams in your division, and you make the playoffs. Displayed below is a table of how the Oilers have fared against their division rivals for their last three seasons combined.
[table id=10 /]
Miserable. Just Miserable.
Where do we go?
What is a reasonable chance at making the playoffs? Let’s work on that. Your goal has to be to finish top three to assure yourself of the playoffs. Over the last three years, the third place team in the division has finished with 100, 98, and 97 points.
[table id=11 /]
The Pacific Division only being three years old in its current form has a standard already: 35 “in-division” points. If you prefer we can call them “Bettman Points” as Bruce McCurdy calls them often. In those terms of Bettman style points,he third place finisher has managed 1.21 points per game in division.
Next post up: looking at the defence.