As the NHL has officially hit its
Olympic COVID induced non-Olympic winter break, clubs around the league get the chance to refresh and recharge their batteries, preparing themselves for when the league resumes on the 27th of December.
So, where do things stand roughly 35% of the way through the season? Well, by the standings, the best team in the league has been, no surprise, the Tampa Bay Lightning, with 44 points and an 8-1-1 record in their last ten games. Meanwhile at the bottom are the Arizona Coyotes, who not only ran into hot water with their arena and the city they play in, but sit on a measly 14 points, and only 6 wins. Yikes.
The Flyers, however, despite playing better as of late, sit closer to the likes of the Coyotes than they do the Lightning. Overall in the NHL-wide league table, they sit at 24th, tied on points with Columbus but with one more game played, the Blue Jackets are in the spot above the Flyers. Taking a cue from the Phillies, the Flyers are a perfect 0.500 with a 12-12-5 record.
In their own division, the Flyers are in 6th place, and are 4 points out from the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, held currently by the Detroit Red Wings. This isn’t an impossible position for the Flyers to overcome, but certainly one that leaves them with much more work to do.
With that being said, however, let’s take a look at what some reputable outlets are theorizing about what odds the Flyers have at accomplishing said feat...
NHL odds and analytics site MoneyPuck has a fairly grim outlook for the Flyers’ playoff hopes. Their odds for obtaining a spot clock in at just 12.7%.
In fairness, however, there is hope when looking at their odds compared to other teams around them. Despite being tied on points with one less game played, the Blue Jackets’ playoff odds are still calculated as lower than the Flyers’. It is also interesting that this model projects the Bruins will overtake the Red Wings in the wildcard and/or divisional standings.
Micah Blake McCurdy:
Friend of Broad Street Hockey Micah has regularly updated projections on NHL point totals, and his projection for the Flyers is, well, also suboptimal...
Point projections over the past fortnight. It's fun to pretend that the season will keep on going. pic.twitter.com/SSNEG7ALhI— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) December 20, 2021
As of December 20th, he has the Flyers finishing on 80.6 points, well below the 90.9 point projected playoff threshold.
The Bulsink bot is a twitter account which posts data visualizations made by Daily Faceoff’s Philip Bulsink (the guys with Frank Seravalli). This model, unsurprisingly, also rates the Flyers’ playoff chances poorly.
This particular model only gives the Flyers a 3.0% chance of making the postseason. This model also assumes the Bruins (in fairness, who have five less games played than Detroit) will catch the Red wings, and doesn’t give Detroit much of a chance to make the playoffs at all.
Overall then, yes, the Flyers’ chances of making the postseason by model projections are very low. However, they stand more of a fighting chance with how surprisingly close they are to the second Eastern Conference wild card spot.
If the Flyers have proven anything over their 50+ year history, it’s that improbably does not equal impossible, and when the season resumes, they’ll be more than looking to prove that.