Does the Regular Season Even Matter? by @disgruntledbill - PensInitiative | Pittsburgh Penguins Blog | Rumors | News

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Monday, February 19, 2018

Does the Regular Season Even Matter? by @disgruntledbill

The WBS Pens have dropped all three games of their three in three this weekend. This is the first time the team has managed to look truly mediocre this year. The Pens lost to the Amerks 12-3 (yes seriously) in a humiliating game. Then the Pens lost to the Comets  (4-3 OT). This was especially problematic because Pens fans were upstaged in WB by a rowdy bunch of Vikings from Utica…who chanted UTICA for 2.5 hours and were louder than anything else in the building. To round things out the Pens were run out of Allentown  Sunday night (4-1 L). The only part of the game worth watching was when Tux scored a goal in the mascot game between periods. All in all Tux is a world class heel, so we have that going for us which is nice.

Casey DeSmith played in all 3 games this past weekend. 

Before the team turned into an unrecognizable dog pile, the Pens were competing neck and neck with the Phantoms for first place in the division and were making noise to have the best record in the league. Only the Marlies and the Moose had better records than the Phantoms and Pens prior to this week, so having the best winning percentage this season was not outside the realm of possibility.   
Wining the NHL’s President’s trophy seems to sometimes matter, at least if you’re not the Caps. Since 2000, 4 NHL teams have won the President’s Trophy and have gone on to win the Stanley Cup. But what about in the AHL? 

Year Presidents Trophy Winner  Result Score Year Regular Season Champions Result Score
16-17 Washington Capitals Lost 2nd round 2 16-17 WBS Penguins  Lost 1st round  1
2015-16 Washington Capitals Lost 2nd round 2 2015-16 Toronto Marlies  Lost 3rd round 3
2014-15 New York Rangers Lost 3rd round  3 2014-15 Manchester Monarchs  Won Calder Cup  5
2013-14 Boston Bruins Lost 2nd round 2 2013-14 Texas Stars  Won Calder Cup  5
2012-13 Chicago Blackhawks Won Stanley Cup 5 2012-13 Providence Bruins  Lost 2nd round 2
2011-12 Vancouver Canucks Lost 1st round 1 2011-12 Norfolk Admirals  Won Calder Cup  5
2010-11 Vancouver Canucks Lost Final  4 2010-11 WBS Penguins  Lost 2nd round 2
2009-10 Washington Capitals Lost 1st round 1 2009-10 Hershey Bears  Won Calder Cup  5
2008-09 San Jose Sharks Lost 1st round 1 2008-09 Manitoba Moose  Lost Calder Cup  4
2007-08 Detroit Red Wings Won Stanley Cup 5 2007-08 Providence Bruins  Lost 2nd round 2
2006-07 Buffalo Sabres Lost 3rd round  3 2006-07 Hershey Bears  Lost Calder Cup  4
2005-06 Detroit Red Wings Lost 1st round 1 2005-06 Grand Rapids Griffins  Lost 3rd round 3
2003-04 Detroit Red Wings Lost 2nd round 2 2003-04 Rochester Americans  Lost 2nd round 2
2002-03 Ottawa Senators Lost 3rd round  3 2002-03 Hamilton Bulldogs  Lost Calder Cup  3
2001-02 Detroit Red Wings Won Stanley Cup 5 2001-02 Bridgeport Sound Tigers  Lost Calder Cup  4
2000-01 Colorado Avalanche Won Stanley Cup  5 2000-01 Worcester IceCats Lost 2nd round 2
1999-00* St. Louis Blues Lost First Round 1 1999-00 Hartford Wolf Pack  Won Calder Cup  5
2.705882 3.352941
* The Year 2000 was chosen since that’s the first year the Pens started play.

In the same span since 2000, 5 AHL teams have won the Calder Cup…and a whopping 9 teams (53%) have made it to the Final, versus just 5 President’s Trophy winners making the Final in the NHL.  
The best team in the NHL and AHL is shown for all years since 2000. These teams were assigned a score based on how far they progressed in the playoff: 5 points for winning it all, 4 to make the Final, 3 points for losing in the third round, 2 points for wrapping up in the second round and 1 point for the first round eliminations.  Based on this analysis, winning the regular season will net you on average an extra .6 rounds of playoff merriment.

The moral here is winning the regular season seems to matter in the AHL more than the NHL. Perhaps it’s because there is less parity between teams in the league? It’s hard to say for sure. What is clear is that WBS should be peaking right now and instead injuries, call ups, and poor play have combined to leave the team a shell of their formal self. At this point we can only hope that trade deadline improves the team, rather than guts it even further.

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