Follow Micah McCurdy on Twitter @ineffectiveMath
I’ve posted point projections from my possession model previously on Hockey Prospectus. You can read a more detailed explanation of how the model works at http://www.silversevensens.com/2014/12/23/7439287/season-simulations-with-pip
(click to enlarge)
The Sabres recent run of spectacular goaltending raised the Sabres about five points, which they’ve largely already relinquished. A similar streak of great goaltending has recently raised the Habs up dramatically.
The Maple Leafs, whose reliance on percentages makes them a little streaky by nature have moved around a lot but with no change over the month. If the Senators coaching change has improved them, it is a very small one so far.
The Islanders have extraordinary control of the puck at 5v5 and it’s showing as they’re the first team to crack 110pts in the projections. The Rangers have surged up on the back of sky-high shooting rates and so will likely stabilize soon. The Bluejackets are improving as they come back from many injuries but already the required improvement to make the playoffs seems extremely difficult to muster, especially since Vezina seasons aren’t usually followed by Vezina seasons.
The gulf between “playoff” and “non playoff” teams in the East is starting to appear very wide.
All three of shooting percentage, save percentage, and 5v5 possession have lowered badly in Minnesota and the result is continued decline. The matching rise from Dallas has rewritten my expectations for the bubble teams in the west. Winnipeg remain quietly strong and Chicago and Nashville are indistinguishable in projected points, although Nashville have leaned more heavily on goaltending than the Hawks.
The woeful goaltending in Edmonton has caused a precipitous slide (although all within 29th overall) for the Oilers. The bad luck in the beginning of December for Calgary was even worse than the good luck they had previously, though they’ve played to type more recently. Los Angeles have started posting dominant possession numbers recently and are starting to open up a gap between themselves and the just-over-the-bubble teams in the Pacific.