Post-deadline possession: Which teams are hot heading into the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs?

USA TODAY Sports

A final look at even-strength puck possession prior to the second season.

The year is basically over, below is a summary table of important possession metrics updated as of 06:30 4/28/13. The table is sortable, click headers to sort. We will parse each component of the table individually below.


Even-strength possession numbers

Team SAF% SAF Rank FenClose% FenClose Rank Pre-Deadline SAF% Pre-Deadline FenClose post-SAF post-SAF Rank post-FenClose post-FenClose Rank SAF Change FenClose Change Final Standings Rank Final Points SAF-Standings PDO
Los Angeles Kings 55.8 1 57.0 1 56.4 58.60 53.81 8 51.83 11 -0.62 -1.62 7 59 -6 0.996
Chicago Blackhawks 55.4 2 55.9 2 54.3 54.40 58.83 2 60.58 1 1.11 1.51 1 77 1 1.023
New Jersey Devils 54.6 3 55.2 3 52.4 53.67 61.54 1 60.03 2 2.18 1.52 22 48 -19 0.971
Boston Bruins 54.4 4 54.2 4 54.8 55.03 53.37 9 51.89 10 -0.39 -0.85 5 62 -1 1.006
Montreal Canadiens 53.8 5 53.4 7 54.0 53.47 53.07 10 53.36 8 -0.24 -0.03 4 63 1 1.003
New York Rangers 53.4 6 53.8 6 52.5 53.52 56.07 7 54.63 7 0.93 0.29 12 56 -6 1.005
Ottawa Senators 53.2 7 52.2 10 51.4 49.91 58.75 3 59.28 4 1.76 2.24 17 54 -10 1.002
Detroit Red Wings 53.1 8 53.2 8 51.5 51.73 58.53 4 58.21 5 1.56 1.44 13 56 -5 1.001
San Jose Sharks 52.8 9 53.0 9 51.2 51.54 57.41 5 57.25 6 1.62 1.49 11 57 -2 0.996
Vancouver Canucks 52.3 10 51.8 12 53.1 53.67 49.81 14 45.85 21 -0.79 -1.87 8 59 2 1.007
St. Louis Blues 52.0 11 53.9 5 52.2 54.46 51.58 11 52.44 9 -0.18 -0.57 6 60 5 0.994
New York Islanders 51.3 12 52.0 11 49.7 49.70 56.19 6 59.36 3 1.55 2.31 15 56 -3 1.005
Phoenix Coyotes 50.6 13 50.3 14 51.2 50.09 48.28 16 50.81 14 -0.65 0.16 19 51 -6 0.997
Pittsburgh Penguins 50.0 14 49.7 15 51.7 51.24 45.06 24 45.20 22 -1.66 -1.51 2 72 12 1.028
Winnipeg Jets 49.8 15 49.7 16 50.3 50.27 48.20 17 47.88 18 -0.49 -0.56 18 51 -3 0.992
Carolina Hurricanes 49.7 16 51.2 13 50.3 51.54 48.15 18 50.41 15 -0.61 -0.32 26 42 -10 0.980
Minnesota Wild 49.5 17 48.5 19 49.2 48.32 50.48 12 48.90 16 0.33 0.15 14 55 3 0.989
Anaheim Ducks 48.8 18 48.1 21 48.3 47.25 50.23 13 50.93 13 0.46 0.88 3 66 15 1.013
Washington Capitals 48.8 19 47.9 22 48.6 46.87 49.25 15 50.97 12 0.15 0.98 10 57 9 1.024
Philadelphia Flyers 48.7 20 48.7 18 48.9 48.92 48.14 19 48.00 17 -0.18 -0.22 20 49 0 0.993
Dallas Stars 48.3 21 47.7 23 49.2 48.85 45.81 23 44.56 24 -0.88 -1.12 21 48 0 1.007
Colorado Avalanche 48.2 22 46.8 24 48.6 47.42 46.93 21 44.97 23 -0.44 -0.64 29 39 -7 0.981
Florida Panthers 47.3 23 49.0 17 49.6 51.62 38.99 30 39.38 30 -2.31 -2.66 30 36 -7 0.965
Calgary Flames 47.3 24 48.2 20 48.8 48.96 43.44 26 46.34 20 -1.52 -0.74 25 42 -1 0.988
Tampa Bay Lightning 46.9 25 44.8 27 46.9 44.99 47.02 20 44.36 25 0.03 -0.15 28 40 -3 1.010
Nashville Predators 46.5 26 46.3 25 47.4 47.11 43.59 25 43.72 26 -0.91 -0.81 27 41 -1 0.988
Columbus Blue Jackets 46.2 27 45.1 26 46.3 44.52 45.86 22 46.96 19 -0.10 0.53 16 55 11 1.010
Toronto Maple Leafs 45.4 28 44.1 29 46.3 44.94 41.84 28 40.89 29 -0.89 -0.81 9 57 19 1.032
Edmonton Oilers 45.0 29 44.2 28 45.6 44.72 43.15 27 42.51 28 -0.60 -0.54 24 45 5 1.012
Buffalo Sabres 43.7 30 43.7 30 44.5 43.94 41.17 29 43.10 27 -0.83 -0.21 23 48 7 1.002
Average 50.1 15.5 50.0 15.5 50.2 50.0 49.8 15.5 49.8 15.5 -0.1 -0.1 15.5 53.4 0.0 1.001
Standard Deviation 3.2 8.7 3.7 8.7 2.8 3.6 5.8 8.7 5.9 8.7 1.1 1.2 8.7 9.5 7.9 0.0154

I included year end points, and final standings rank, along with the SAF rank minus the standings rank, to get a since of which teams really out-performed, and under-performed their SAF.

Year End SAF/FenClose vs. Post-Deadline SAF/FenClose

Although post-deadline SAF/FenClose provides us with timely information, (in total) the most predictive measure of future success is still year end SAF. That being said, we can get a better sense of some teams by looking for major changes since the deadline. Notable teams include; N.J, OTT, S.J, DET, and NYI. N.J fails to clinch despite being one of the best possession teams, but the rest of those truly hot teams are all coming into the playoffs as lower seeds.

I would definitely pay close attention to the series' as they are going to be a lot closer than they appear. None more so than the PIT-OTT series. Although MSM has nearly crowned the Penguins as the Stanley Cup winners, I'm not so sure they will even make it out of the first round. A lot of their poor post-deadline SAF/FenClose can be traced to injuries, but even before media darling Crosby went down, the penguins were sliding.

S.J has come alive since the deadline, and sure losing possession anchors Murray and Handzus has helped, rather, it appears the re-distribution of forward talent across all 4 lines has probably driven most of the success. The Sharks now rank in top 10, which they hadn't all year, posting the 3rd best change in SAF since the deadline. DET hasn't been far behind, making their tilt with ANA one of the most lopsided match-ups this post-season, from a possession point of view.

Don't forget that last year's Stanley Cup winners also featured such a streak as the teams above prior to their post-season run. Speaking of;

L.A dominates the league once again

While Chicago will be dropping the President's trophy banner next year, L.A's possession numbers indicate their territorial dominance was unparalleled. It's tough to say whether or not L.A could have maintained they're gaudy numbers for a full 82 game season, but as we stand now, they have one of the top FenClose% in the past 5 years. A remarkable effort even if it is a shortened season.

Year-end all strength PDO

The twitter-blogosphere has commented a lot about the progress of this season in terms of PDO, and I don't want to be redundant here, so I'll take some broad strokes with this topic, starting with our pre-season predictions. As I posted here, we expected a tighter distribution of points along with increased randomness to generate some interesting results this year. That may have been an understatement.

My expectation was a SD(Pts) of about 8, and we finished with 9.5, quite a bit higher than expected. That tells us that there was a widened gap between the "good" teams and the "bad" teams. By eye this occurred both through possession and PDO. The distribution for PDO was much wider than it has been over previous 48 game samples. The unfortunate thing is we cant exactly tease out if this was the result of some dramatic chance, or actual skill. In all likelihood it was probably a little of both. Teams like ANA, TOR, and PIT rode impressively high and sustained PDO, while teams like N.J, CAR, couldn't rebound. Again we can't throw out PDO skill entirely as talent makes up approximately 30% of all-strength PDO by this time of year. Still, I wouldn't bank on a high PDO team to be a high PDO playoff team, there's just not enough post-season games for that.

Lastly, SAF-Standings

This may be my favorite column in the table, showing how teams finished compared to their SAF. The blogophsgere has discussed TOR, ANA, N.J ad naseum, but what about teams like PIT over-performing, and NYR, OTT, under-performing. Clearly these teams haven't seen such a wide gap between SAF and points, but it's still remarkable. Lastly, note that the Islanders aren't on this list, in fact they are a -3. They are definitely for real, and could wreck havoc this post-season.

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