Who could have guessed that at this point of the season, no Canadian NHL team is even close to staying in the playoff hunt, let alone securing a playoff spot. As of right now, all 7 Canadian teams occupy the league's bottom 10 spots in the standings, with only Buffalo, Columbus and Arizona joining them in the basement.
1970 is the only time in NHL history that none of the NHL's Canadian teams qualified for the playoffs. Back then only 2 Canadian teams existed from a total of 12 teams, with 8 of those (66.7%) making the playoffs. 4 teams missed the playoffs that year, and 2 of those were both Toronto and Montreal.
This year, 46 years later, it can happen again, and there's nearly a 90% chance that it will according to SportsClubStats, a stats simulation service that does billions of simulations daily. There are 30 teams in the NHL. Every year, after 6 months of grueling hockey action, 16 make the playoffs. That leaves 14 that don't.
If my math serves me right, here are some pre-season odds if we were to go back to the beginning of the 82-game season:
- Odds of all 7 Canadian teams missing the playoffs: 1 in 593
- Odds of all 7 Canadian teams finishing bottom 10 positions: 1 in 16,966 (If the season ended today, this would actually happen)
- Odds of all 7 Canadian teams sweeping all bottom 7 positions: 1 in 2.04 million. (This can still happen. Getting close to lottery/powerball odds!)
As of today, only two teams (Montreal and Ottawa) currently have a greater than 4% chance to make the playoffs, as of today. Vancouver is just under 2%, and all the others (Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg) are less than 1% combined. That leaves a grand total of 89% split among the remaining American teams. Ouch.
Talk about hockey being Canada's game... right.