When we first went live with SB Nation’s FanPulse surveys earlier this season, not many fans believed that the Anaheim Ducks had a great shot at returning to the playoffs after missing out last year for the first time in six years.
Just 7.86% of respondents believed Anaheim would return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season at the time. Now, after what can only be described as a nightmare middle of the season run, confidence that they can make the playoffs is now almost non-existent. As one would expect.
We now have updated results at the halfway point of the season. Just 0.52% of respondents when asked the same question last week believed the Ducks would return to the playoffs this year. Unsurprising, given the Ducks would need to play like the 2018-19 regular season Tampa Bay Lightning to maybe, possibly, squeak into the second Wild Card spot.
Something to chew on, if it takes 94 points to make the playoffs, the Ducks would need to gain 55 points out of their final 38 games (.723 pt%). Over the course of a season that is a 118 pt pace.— Jake Rudolph (@ReindeerGames91) January 11, 2020
At this point in time that is extremely unlikely.
That 94 points is a bit of a conservative estimate, too.
So who do fans think is most likely to make the playoffs after missing out last season?
Fans are pretty confident in the Arizona Coyotes getting it done and making the postseason for the first time since 2012. Which makes sense given their addition of Taylor Hall, the return of Niklas Hjalmarsson, and stellar goaltending from Antti Raanta and Darcy Kuemper.
The Oilers are currently being dragged into the playoffs by Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl playing like they want to be promoted to some higher-level league than the NHL where literally God is the commissioner. I’d watch that league if for no other reason than the fact that God is probably better at marketing a sport than Gary Bettman.
As for the teams who fans think will miss the playoffs after making it last season, the San Jose Sharks took a big leap to the top with their uninspired performance to date that eventually led to the firing of head coach Peter DeBoer. It’s really tough to imagine DeBoer getting a shot with a contender anytime soon after his results with the Sharks this year and–
Puts finger to earpiece
The Columbus Blue Jackets have surprised many this year by sitting on the verge of a Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference despite the loss of Artemi Panarin, Sergei Bobrovsky, and Ryan Dzingel, making head coach John Tortorella a front-runner for the Jack Adams award at midseason. Despite their relative success, fans still do not have much confidence they will make the playoffs.