Pick Me a Winner

steve laidlaw



Taking a look back at some of the statistical qualities of successful playoff teams.


If you are looking for an edge in your playoff pool, I just might have one for you. This isn't a list of dark horses, Dobber has you covered there. Nor is it some overarching draft list, again the Dobber has that covered. What this is, is a mining of the data, eight years worth to be exact (every round since the 2005-06 playoffs) to try and determine what qualities were prevalent among successful playoff teams.


Determining which qualities mattered the most can help you to fill out your playoff bracket, which will guide your decisions at the playoff draft table. Of course, this isn't perfect by any means. No one trait is a guarantee of playoff success. In the era of parity luck prevails over all. A team could have a great season and then run into a hot goaltender. Or it could lose its best player to injury. Or the bounces could go against them. Nothing is fool proof.


But if you are a fan of numbers then this study of the qualities of the recent successful teams is for you. Let's take a look at eight different factors that may or may not have impacted a teams' ability to win playoff series.


playoff stats1

What Home Ice Advantage?


As seen above, the team with home ice advantage has won just 57.50% of all series played over the past eight years. Once you take into account the fact that most teams who have had home ice were probably the better teams winning such a paltry percentage doesn't bode well for the existence of a home ice advantage.


Sure enough, hockey doesn't rate very high among the major sports with regard to the presence of a home field advantage. Surely one exists but it's not as prevalent as you'd think and especially not when spread out over a series of games where a team may or may not actually receive more games at home than their opponent.


I wouldn't put much stock in a team just because they get to play the last game at home.

Defense Wins Championships?


We've all heard the mantra but is it really all that meaningful? It turns out, probably not. At least not without a good offense to pair with that defense. Teams won only 53.39% of series where they had allowed fewer goals in the regular season than their opponents. Over such a sample that'