Saturday, April 9, 2016

Winding it Up

Brandon Saad becomes second Jacket to score 30 goals.
Last night the Columbus Blue Jackets and youngsters beat their second minor league team in a row, pulling away from a Buffalo Sabres team starting a number of rookies, and a goal tender making his first NHL start.  The gnashing of teeth and anguish shown amongst the fan base for this win hurting our 'lottery odds' is significant.  Folks, if we are going to gnash teeth over late season standings, let's save it for when we punt when we are trying to get into the playoffs (see Flyers, Philadelphia).

The reality is that if we pick in the first 4 picks, we get an impact player.  Two of those picks are Finns, probably highly coveted by Jarmo.  So to avoid more gnashing, lets look at how much we really hurt our odds.  Because this is a new format, lottery for the first three picks, the odds are calculated some what differently.  And, for the sake of this discussion, we will assume that the lottery for the number one overall pick is actually random, instead of going to Toronto as Shanahan certainly pre-arranged with Bettman before he left DoPS.  The NHL will want it to appear random, so we'll go along with their PR branch for this discussion.

I am relying on this website for the calculations on these odds, and this website  for the odds of hitting in the lottery depending on how you finish.  Since hitting in ANY of the lottery choices is a victory for the CBJ, we have 3 chances to hit.  In the first website if you scroll down to the example of playing the lottery, that is the formula I have used, basically #of times you lose based on finishing percentage, divided by number of overall times played, and the result of that cubed.  The following are the overall chances of us hitting in the draft lottery.  I omitted last place because we can't get there.

Place     Overall Odds
29                35%
28                31%
27                26%
26                23%
25                21%

So remember when you think about these odds, that if we go through this exercise 10 times, the chance we lose is 7 times if we tank harder, versus the chance we lose being 8 times if we win a few games.  My point is that we are not seeing huge shifts in the odds of getting what we need, with the added bonus that for every team that finishes behind us that hits on their longer odds, the closer we come to the 4th overall pick, which will likely be Matthew Tkachuk,who will also be an impact player.  Calculation of the odds that would happen would get incredibly complex, and would best be done by a statistician.  Our odds of that fourth pick are helped immeasurably by the aforementioned conspiracy between Shanahan and the Commissioner.  So why complain?

My point is, the gnashing of teeth over our inability to tank effectively matching our inability to win effectively is probably an over reaction.  At the end of the day, what will be is what will be.  And Tortorella's notion of what is due the hockey gods is probably every bit as thoughtful as the tanking discussions, and perhaps more realistic.  Karma is a bitch.

So Brandon Saad becomes the second Blue Jacket to score 30 goals this season, setting franchise record in which two Blue Jackets score 30 goals in a single season.  This means they are unlikely to hit that plateau again next year, but there are a number of other Jackets who might step up to that gap, including Cam Atkinson, but that is a post for another day.

Today the Jackets will play a real NHL team in their finale, and this is not likely to be real pretty.  But it will be fun, and I plan to go and celebrate the last day of our season.  Then comes the difficult chore of breaking this thing apart and looking at it over the off season.  But for now, relax and enjoy!


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