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2015-16 Pacific Division Schedule Advantage Breakdown

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The Ducks have more built in wins than losses, but a couple interesting teams have it even better schedule-wise this coming season.

Though not hard done by the NHL schedule makers, the Ducks will have to fight several built in advantages.
Though not hard done by the NHL schedule makers, the Ducks will have to fight several built in advantages.
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Last night data visualizer extraordinaire Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath on Twitter) released a chart that documents how the NHL schedule advantages and disadvantages teams, based on when the most recent games played by the teams involved are. Here's the chart in all its glory:

1516SkedChartIEM

The chart tracks schedule wins and losses, as well as games where both teams are rested or playing on the second leg of a back-to-back. The blue games are schedule wins, meaning the team faces an opponent that is playing on the second half of a back-to-back. The red games are schedule losses, meaning the team is on the second half of a back-to-back and faces a rested opponent. The yellow games are ones here both teams are rested with two or more days off, while the black games are ones where both are playing on the second end of a back-to-back.

Lets take a look at how things chart out for the Pacific Division, and then look and see what benefits or hurdles the schedule has for the Ducks in division, sorted by schedule win/loss differential.

2015-16 Pacific Division Schedule Advantages
Team Schedule W's Schedule L's Differential Both Rested Both Tired
Edmonton 14 7 +7 8 2
Los Angeles 16 11 +5 9 2
Calgary 14 11 +3 14 1
Anaheim 11 9 +2 11 2
Arizona 13 12 +1 6 3
Vancouver 12 12 0 11 1
San Jose 10 11 -1 17 3

While the schedule makers were nice to the Ducks in slotting them with the second fewest schedule losses in the division, they also penned Anaheim for the second fewest schedule wins. Only one of the playoff teams from last season has more built in games over .500 ('Differential' in the chart) than the Ducks, but they'll have to make up a total of nine additional built in games over .500 between the three teams above them.

The Kings 16 schedule wins are the most in the league, while the Oilers +7 differential is also the highest league-wide. The Sharks have the most games in the league where both teams come in rested, as well as the greatest differential in rested vs tired games.

We did some additional figuring of the league highs and lows last night right after the chart was released:

One certainly has to feel that it'd take a major implosion by Los Angeles to miss the playoffs for a second year in a row having a built in five games over .500. Perhaps even more intriguing is Connor McDavid and Edmonton having the league high for built in games over .500. For so many seasons we've seen people seduced by the young talent of the Oilers and projecting "surely this is the breakout year"; Edmonton certainly has plenty of help from the schedule this season that may finally boost them into the discussion.

The west coast swing always makes for interesting scheduling issues for the league. The Ducks will have some ground to make up in the division schedule-wise, but it's the team that plays the schedule and not the other way around. Just something hockey to chew on in early August...