Sunday, April 10, 2016

No Canadian teams in the NHL playoffs this year

Well another regular season wraps up this weekend. Drama-free for the Canadian teams, none of them came close to making the playoffs and all were eliminated some time ago.

Well what to make of it? Is it a fluke or are the NHL teams from Canada systemically underperforming?

It's not difficult to calculate the random chance of no Canadian teams making the playoffs. There are 30 teams in the NHL and 7 Canada teams. 16 teams make the playoffs each year.

So there are 30C16 or 145,422,675 ways to randomly select playoff teams. There are 23 American teams so 23C16 or only 245,157 ways to select just American teams for the playoffs.

So the random chance of all 7 Canadian teams missing the playoffs is 0.001685824, or about 1 in 593.

hmmm 1 in 593. Well that's unlikely but not astronomically unlikely. So was this season really this crazy 600-to-1 longshot or is there other evidence of underperformance by the Canadian teams as a whole. There is a bit of data. If the Canadian teams as a group are underperforming then the odds of all of them missing the playoffs in a season is a lot better than 592-1.

The current 23-7 balance traces to 2011-2012, when the Winnipeg Jets became Canada's 7th team. So 5 seasons now. In a given season 16 of 30 teams get in the playoffs, so in general each team has about a 53% chance to make the playoffs. With 7 teams the expectation then would be about 3.7 Canadian teams in the playoffs each season. Over 5 seasons then we would have expected to have 18.67 Canadian playoff teams. Let's check the data.

Season Canadian Teams in NHL Playoffs
2011-2012 2
2012-2013 4
2013-2014 1
2014-2015 5
2015-2016 0
Total 12

So we can see that Canada is well below expectation. In the 4 years before this season the expectation was 15 playoff teams, so 12 of 15 is about 80% of the expected amount. Including this season we are now off by a third of where Canada should be. So it's a concern that the Canada NHL teams are systemically uncompetitive.