Greetings Dobberites! I tried to figure out the last time I pinch-hit to do a Ramblings, and couldn't remember, which means it's been quite a while. Hopefully I live up to the lofty standards of the normal ramblers…..
Although during these trying times it's even worse than usual to be aging, part of the benefits of me turning 50 (!) this Sunday is I've now been involved in fantasy hockey half my life. Why is that relevant? It means I was "there" for the shortened seasons in 1994-95 and 2012-13.
How does that have any bearing on the here and now? Although most of the focus in fantasy hockey at present is rightfully on the 24 teams playing hockey this summer once the NHL resumes, there will still be seven teams who'll ultimately have gone ten months – and maybe longer before all is said and done – without any NHL action. And that, to me, will be analogous to what happened in 1994-95 and 2012-13, when all NHL teams went an extra almost four months between when the previous season ended and the puck dropped again.
As such, I figured I'd look at data from not just 1994-95 and 2012-13, but also the seasons immediately prior to each. From that, I can try and predict what might happen to these seven non-playoff teams next season. In other words, by reviewing past team comparables, we can try to get a sense of how the Sabres, Ducks, Senators, Sharks, Kings, Red Wings, and Devils – and their players – might fare once they take the ice again after having not played for roughly as long as squads were idle due to these two lockouts. I realize that such analysis of season to season team data is far from perfect in that it doesn't take into account factors (such as player ages, injuries, trades, signings) that might have affected a team's performance one season to the next; but it's still data which I think can be useful to assess.
I was going to look at 2003-04 and 2005-06 too; but in the end I decided that what amounted to well more than a year with no hockey being played wasn't comparable enough to what is likely to occur here, as these other two seasons, both of which had hockey resume in January – i.e., the objective for 2020-21 – were more analogous. And yes, I realize the plan is to play an 82 game season for 2020-21, versus only 48 games in 1994-95 and 2012-13; nevertheless, I still think there's something to be learned. With all that out of the way, let's get to the numbers.
In 1993-94, the seven worst teams based on total points (and by