By Rob Ficiur
The following statistics from the last 26 years will predict with mathematical certainty who win the championship in June. (The statistics used in this article are based on the playoffs from 1989-2015). To keep the statistics accurate as possible, numbers from the lockout shortened 1995 and 2014 seasons were not included in the total points, goals for and goals against ranking. (Many of these numbers are therefore based on 24 full seasons of statistics).
This is the eighth year I have used the statistical data to predict the Stanley Cup winner. To make my numbers more mathematically accurate I have not used the regular season rankings from the two lockout years (2013 and 1995). In the end it does not seem to change my accuracy. These mathematical calculations have never predicted the champ, but we will try it again.)
1. a) Total Points: The team that finished first overall in league standings has won six Stanley Cups in the last 24 years. First overall has won more Stanley Cups than any spot in overall standings (Mode). Mode: 1st overall is the Washington Capitals (1 vote for them.) (Note that the first overall team has not won the Stanley Cup since 2008, so don’t run out and put money on Washington).
b) Adding up the 24 years, the average (mean) overall ranking is 4.04; meaning the fourth place overall team has the best chance of winning the Cup. This year team that finished fourth overall is the Pittsburgh Penguins, one vote for them.
c) The average number of points of the Stanley Cup champion is 105. The team with the most points to win it all was the 1989 Flames with 117 points. The lowest team to win was the 1992 Pittsburgh Penguins with 87 points. This year no team finished with 105 points, but the closest is the Pittsburgh Penguins with 104; one vote for Sidney Crosby’s team.
d) The mode (most common number) for Stanley Cup champs is 112 and 103 points. Three champs having earned that 112 and three have earned 103 and won the Stanley Cup. This year no team had 112 but two had 103 points. One vote for each for Anaheim and Florida of these teams.
2. Goals Against. We have been brainwashed to believe that defence wins championships. That may not be so.
a) The average ranking of the Stanley Cup champs in goals against average is 6.45. The team with the sixth best goals against average this year is the Pittsburgh Penguins one vote for them.
b) The first, second and third best defensive teams have all won four Stanley Cups. This is the mode (most commonly occurring number). That means that three teams get one vote: Washington, Los Angeles and Anaheim.
3. Goals For. In 2012 and 2014 the LA Kings won the Stanley Cup with the 29th and 25th best offense in the NHL. Those two championship teams were the lowest offensive ranked teams to win the Cup in the last 25 years. In 2014 the Kings improved to 18th in NHL offense and missed the playoffs.
a) The average Stanley Cup champion ranked 5.8 in goals for during the regular season. So which team ranks sixth this year in goal scoring is the Florida Panthers; one vote for them.
b) Six teams that finished second in overall goals claimed the championship and six teams with the third ranked offense have also won. For this year that means that one vote goes to each of the Washington Captials and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Pittsburgh Penguins 3 and Washington Capitals 3; two points for Florida and one point the Anaheim and Los Angeles.
Tie Breaker Round (using only the five playoff teams from the previous list).
4. How did the team do the previous playoffs?
Of the last 26 Stanley Cup winners – ten of them won zero playoff rounds the year before. Of these ten teams who went from winning zero playoff rounds to champs three missed the playoffs and seven lost in the first round of the previous season. Of our six finalists, the Penguins and the Kings did not get out of the first round. One point will be added to each of them.
The totals now tells the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals have the most votes.
The Winner Will Be: In 2015 the Penguins lost in the first round; while the Washington lost out in the second round.
The last team to win the Stanley Cup after being out in round two was the 2011 Boston Bruins. The last team to win the Stanley Cup after losing in round one the year before was the 2013 Chicago Black Hawks. Since 2013 is more recent, history tells us that the Pittsburgh Penguins (who get the vote here) will win the 2016 Stanley Cup.
(PS sorry Penguins fans, often when I pick a winner it is like a bad luck omen.)