What analytics experts think about the Oilers playoff chances

Feb 24 2022, 10:44 pm

The odds are still certainly in the Edmonton Oilers’ favour.Ā 

But they aren’t exactly trending in the right direction.Ā 

Nor is the team.Ā 

The Oilers dropped a tough test to the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday, decreasing their odds to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.Ā 

Their chance at a cup-winning run are almost non-existent, according to MoneyPuck.

The Oilers have a 36.2% chance of missing the playoffs, and just a 2.6% chance of winning the whole thing.

 

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That might be painting things optimistically, too.

Edmonton was projected at 91.3% on November 28, prior to a 2-11-2 run through December and much of January that contributed to the firing of then-coach Dave Tippett.Ā 

The odds have dropped 11.1% over the past four days as a result of back-to-back losses.

ā€œItā€™s been up and down like a toilet seat, really. Stretches where weā€™ve played pretty good and then we donā€™t play good,ā€ general manager Ken Holland said at the time.Ā 

Right now, they’re down.

The Oilers got a bump after hiring Jay Woodcroft, rattling off five straight wins before dropping consecutive contests — including Wednesday’s affair in Tampa Bay.Ā 

They’ve got meetings against the Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes upcoming.Ā 

Two tough tasks to nab points and gain ground.

“If you just look at it from that perspective, you’re not concentrating on your process,” Woodcroft said Wednesday. “We want to steer the conversation for our team towards process and making sure we’re playing the game the right way so we’ll be in a position to take points in every game that we play. That’s where our focus is.

“Just to look at the end result of things or the amount of points you have to get here or there, I don’t think that’s conducive to us moving the needle. I think we have to continue to concentrate on our process and making sure we’re playing the game the right way and limiting certain things and if we do that, we’ll be where we want to be at the end.”

Edmonton’s currently in, but certainly not comfortable at the moment.

The Oilers awoke Thursday in fourth place in the Pacific Division with 59 points in 51 games, two points back of the Los Angeles Kings for the third and final guaranteed spot into the playoffs.

Edmonton, however, does currently hold a share of the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference with the Anaheim Ducks. They are, though, just one point up on the Dallas Stars, which also have a game at hand. Ā 

MoneyPuck projects the Oilers to finish fourth in the Pacific with 95.1 points, behind the Calgary Flames, Los Angeles Kings, and Vegas Golden Knights. They’re also expected to slide in at eighth in the west, snagging the final playoff berth in the conference.

Edmonton has a 2.4% chance of winning the Pacific Division, according to the site, and a 63.8% chance of making the playoffs.Ā 

The Oilers have a slightly better projection from Dom Luszczyszyn.

Luszczyszyn, of The Athletic, projects Edmonton to finish slightly better with 96 points — seventh in the Western Conference and one point clear of the Stars and Kings. Still, with Luszczyszyn’s model, the Oilers have a 27% chance of missing the dance and just a 3% shot of topping the Pacific. A shot at playing in the cup final isn’t much better, and a win checks in at roughly half the odds.

It’s actually good news.Ā 

Edmonton is trending in the right direction, according to Luszczyszyn. The Oilers dipped below 50% in the midst of their struggling stretch.Ā 

The Oilers have 31 games remaining on the regular-season schedule and need 37 points to reach 96. Their current points percentage has them at a 95-point pace.Ā 

Edmonton has made the playoffs just twice since drafting captain Connor McDavid with the no. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft. The Oilers advanced to the second round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs before being eliminated in seven games by the Anaheim Ducks.

Edmonton qualified again in 2021 but was swept out of the first round by the Winnipeg Jets. The Oilers also lost in four games to the Chicago Blackhawks in the qualifying round of the 2020 playoffs.Ā 

Aaron VickersAaron Vickers

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