Around the NHL: Updated Playoff Odds, NHL Awards Watch, Wheeler’s Prospect Project, Fight Night, More

Sidney Crosby Evgeni Malkin for DraftKings promo code 12.13
Sidney Crosby Evgeni Malkin for DraftKings promo code 12.13

With the NHL’s All-Star Game in the books and most of the league back in action this week, let’s take a look at what things might look like in the standings and the races for the game’s most prestigious awards in just a couple of months.

Stanley Cup Playoff Odds

With the All-Star break in the books, we check in with Dom Luszczyszyn over at The Athletic and take a look at their odds machine to get an early look at what the Stanley Cup Playoff picture might look like when the regular season comes to an end. For those who aren’t familiar with their projection model, here’s their description:

“The projections are based on 50,000 simulations of the remainder of the season, which factors in each team’s projected strength, current health, and their strength of schedule (which includes opponent strength, venue, and rest). Each team’s projected strength is based on the projected value of the players on its roster based on Game Score Valued Added (GSVA) and can be found at the bottom of the article, along with a link to team depth charts containing projected GSVA values for each player. You can read more about GSVA and the model here.”

We’ll start with the teams with a 100 percent chance of missing the postseason. The Athletic’s projection model has Ottawa, Detroit, Chicago, Philly, Columbus, New Jersey, Seattle, Buffalo, Montreal, and Arizona with a zero percent chance at making the Stanley Cup Playoffs. No surprises there for the most part. Columbus (21-22-1) and Detroit (20-21-6) probably have the best chance at making a run of the teams that currently have the zero percent chance, according to The Athletic’s prediction machine.

On the other end of the spectrum, the prediction machine gives six teams a predicted 110 points or more, with the Colorado Avalanche predicted to finish with an NHL-best 120 points when it’s all said and done.

The Avs, Panthers, Maple Leafs, and Islanders are the four teams that the prediction machine gives a greater than 10 percent chance of winning the Stanley Cup this season. If you’d like to check out the complete odds and predictions at The Athletic, you can check it out here. Luszczyszyn and The Athletic update the prediction machine every morning, so you can bookmark that one and check it out every day.

NHL Awards Watch

Dom Luszczyszyn has been ranking players for all of the major NHL awards, the Hart, the Norris, the Calder, the Selke, the Vezina, the Art Ross, and the Rocket Richard, all season long. In his latest update, he’s got Johnny Gaudreau leading a field of ten candidates for the Hart Trophy.

Luszczyszyn ranks the top-10 candidates for each of the major awards, but he breaks down the criteria for the award and makes a case for and against each of the candidates that he slides into his leaderboards. Here’s what Luszczyszyn makes as the case for his current leader for the Hart Trophy, Johnny Gaudreau:

He leads all players in GSVA as part of Calgary’s super line — one that has outscored opponents to a staggering degree at five-on-five. With Gaudreau on the ice, the Flames have outscored opponents 46-13 due to a 61 percent expected goals percentage. Gaudreau is a massive part of that dominance and currently leads all players in points at five-on-five with 37. Anyone who watches the Flames knows how much the team’s offense and transition game runs through Gaudreau, but it’s his defensive numbers this season that help catapult him to a legitimate Hart trophy case.

The Blackhawks only appear once in these rankings, with Alex DeBrincat slotting into the No. 8 spot for the Rocket Richard Trophy. The Richard is awarded to the NHL’s top goal-scorer at the end of the season. The first-time All-Star DeBrincat has 26 goals entering play today, and he’s projected to finish the season with 43.9 goals, according to Luszczyszyn and The Athletic.

Scott Wheeler’s Massive ’22 Prospect Pool Rankings

The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler has completed his massive 2022 prospect pool rankings, which, as Wheeler notes, includes 140,456 words, 586 players, 32 teams, and much more. Holy cow. If you’ve got a few hours (or days?) to mull over prospect rankings and tape, this is a can’t miss resource for you.

The only spoiler I will provide you with, out of respect for what I can only imagine was many, many hours of work by Wheeler on this project, is that the Chicago Blackhawks standing is in the bottom-third of the NHL. Beyond that, you’re going to have to check it out yourself. Wheeler provides Blackhawks fans with a report on their top-20 prospects and then places them into tiers, including a tier for Lukas Reichel himself, potential everyday guys, bubble guys for the second group, and players that are just interesting enough in one way or another to warrant discussion.

One-Timers …

•   Brad Marchand lost his cool during Tuesday night’s contest with the Pittsburgh Penguins when he punched and then hit Pens’ goaltender Tristan Jarry in the mask with his stick. Here’s a nice overhead view of the encounter between Marchand and Jarry.

•   Here’s another angle of the scrum:

•   To no one’s surprise, Marchand has been summoned by the NHL Department of Player Safety for the roughing/high-sticking against Tristan Jarry. Marchand’s hearing date and time are TBD, according to the NHL Department of Player Safety’s Twitter account.

•   The Marchand/Jarry dust-up wasn’t the only thing of note from the Boston-Pittsburgh game last night, though. Sidney Crosby notched goal No. 499 in the Penguins’ 4-2 victory over the Bruins.

•  Danton Heinen scored both of the Bruins goals on Tuesday night, with both of them coming within 28 seconds!

•   Also out of Boston, Tuukka Rask is reportedly ending his comeback attempt with the Bruins. This season, Rask was 2-2-0 in four games with the Bruins, allowing 4.28 GAA and a .844 save percentage.

•   There was no shortage of action in Winnipeg last night between the Minnesota Wild and the Winnipeg Jets:

•   But, of course, someone always has to take things a step too far:

•   According to the NHL Department of Player Safety, Minnesota’s Marcus Foligno will have a hearing for Kneeing Winnipeg’s Adam Lowry. The date and time for that meeting are TBD.

•   All right, that’s enough of the fisticuffs for today. Cleanse your pallet with this incredible view of J.T. Miller going coast-to-coast:

•   Jack Eichel has ditched the no-contact jersey, meaning that we’re that much closer to his return to action and his Vegas debut.

written by

Patrick grew up in Chicago's Bridgeport and Garfield Ridge neighborhoods before moving to the Western Suburbs of Chicago before eventually relocating to the Las Vegas area with his family in 2023. He started with Bleacher Nation in 2021 and has spent time as a Staff Writer and on the Chicago Blackhawks beat. He is currently a writer and editor at Bleacher Nation covering the Chicago Bears and the NFL at large and the author of the Bleacher Nation Newsletter. Patrick is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA).

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