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Predicting ECHL Playoff Teams on Thanksgiving – The Results, Plus Honoring the ECHL Ironmen

Monday, April 18th
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 The ECHL regular season is in the books and as promised in November, it is time to look back and see how well you can predict playoff teams at Thanksgiving.

– The “Thanksgiving Day Playoff Theory” predicts the eventual 16 ECHL playoff teams based on the standings on Thanksgiving. There is no subjectivity to this prediction, just the hard facts. The accuracy of using this method to predict playoff teams is typically around 80%.

– It is strange to think with just over 20% of the ECHL season completed you can predict who will be in the playoffs with close to 80% accuracy. Nothing ventured, nothing gained so here are the results of the Thanksgiving Day playoff predictions this season.

NORTH DIVISION (4-4)

  • THANKSGIVING
  • Newfoundland (.867)
  • Reading (.567)
  • Maine (.500)
  • Trois-Rivières (.500)
  • FINAL
  • Reading (.697)
  • Newfoundland (.664)
  • Trois-Riviéres (.536)
  • Maine (.514)

Not much to say about the North as the top four teams at Thanksgiving finished as the top four teams. Newfoundland fell from first place and Reading ended up winning the division.

SOUTH DIVISION (2-4)

  • THANKSGIVING
  • Florida (.656)
  • Orlando (.594)
  • Atlanta (.571)
  • Norfolk (.567)
  • FINAL
  • Florida (.653)
  • Atlanta (.632)
  • Jacksonville (.590)
  • Greenville (.528)

Only 2-4 in the South but you could see this coming. Norfolk was in a playoff spot at Thanksgiving. I said at the time, “they never make the playoffs” which turned out to be true. Orlando was a surprise as it missed the playoffs after being in second place at Thanksgiving. What I said at the time, ” I could see two of the three teams currently not in a playoff position (.536 – South Carolina, .529 – Jacksonville, .462 – Greenville) cracking the top four.” Jacksonville and Greenville did just that.

CENTRAL DIVISION (3-4)

  • THANKSGIVING
  • Fort Wayne (.667)
  • Toledo (.667
  • Kalamazoo (.615)
  • Cincinnati (.567)
  • FINAL
  • Toledo (.708)
  • Fort Wayne (.604)
  • Wheeling (.542)
  • Cincinnati (.528)

Toledo, Fort Wayne and Cincinnati were correct but missed on Kalamazoo, who was in third place on Thanksgiving. Had an inkling Wheeling might replace Kalamazoo. Here is what I said at the time, “Wheeling (.571) is the only team with a chance to gain a top four spot. The Nailers are on a three game win streak so have gained some ground recently. Kalamazoo is the team that might be at risk. The Wings have historically finished just in or just out of the playoffs. The question is whether they will be able to hang on to a playoff spot..”

MOUNTAIN DIVISION (2-4)

  • THANKSGIVING
  • Utah (.656)
  • Wichita (.633)
  • Idaho (.588)
  • Tulsa (.577)
  • FINAL
  • Utah (.604)
  • Rapid City (.576)
  • Allen (.549)
  • Tulsa (.542)

 Utah and Tulsa are the only playoff teams that were in the top four at Thanksgiving. I predicted Allen might crack the top four saying this at the time, “Allen is the most likely to defy the odds and make the playoffs. Allen finished #2 and #3 the last two seasons in ECHL points percentage.” Definitely didn’t see the Rapid City move from out of the playoffs at Thanksgiving to second place.

– The final results in predicting the ECHL 2022 playoffs teams from the standings at Thanksgiving is 11-16 which is lower than average at 69%. How does this compare to past seasons?

  • 81% (13-16) 2018-19
  • 77% (12-16) 2017-18

– Over a five year period (2013-2018) in the NHL, 62 of 80 (77.5%) teams in the playoffs at Thanksgiving wound up qualifying for a playoff spot.

BACKGROUND

– Just to be upfront, here is the post from last Thanksgiving with the standings and all of the details I talked about at the time.

NORTH DIVISION1. Newfoundland (.867)2. Reading (.567)3. Maine (.500)4. Trois-Rivières (.500)

The North Division didn’t compete last season and is the only ECHL division with six teams, only two teams miss the playoffs. The entire ECHL is chasing Newfoundland with little luck. The Growlers look like a lock for the regular season championship and are on record points percentage pace. The two teams outside the fourth playoff spot are Adirondack (.433) and Worcester (.393). Adirondack is a perennial strong team that has struggled all season but could be a team to make the top four. It will be hard to catch Trois-Rivières who had a slow start but has won four of the last five games and has a lot of contracted players as well as access to players living in the Montreal area. Worcester looks destined for another last place finish in the North Division.

SOUTH DIVISION1. Florida (.656)2. Orlando (.594)3. Atlanta (.571)4. Norfolk (.567)

The South Division is the tightest division in the league with the points percentage ranging from the lowest first place (.656) to the highest last place (.433). Two teams in the final four for the Kelly Cup last season, Greenville and the Cup runner-up South Carolina are on the outside looking in for the playoffs. Norfolk is in a playoff position but never makes the playoffs. I could see two of the three teams currently not in a playoff position (.536 – South Carolina, .529 – Jacksonville, .462 – Greenville) cracking the top four.

CENTRAL DIVISION1. Fort Wayne (.667)2. Toledo (.667)3. Kalamazoo (.615)4. Cincinnati (.600)

Of all of the divisions the Central looks to be the one where the top four will remain the top four all season. The only issue is who takes the top spot. Indy (.333) and Iowa (.353) are already eight points out of a playoff spot and will not recover. Wheeling (.571) is the only team with a chance to gain a top four spot. The Nailers are on a three game win streak so have gained some ground recently. Kalamazoo is the team that might be at risk. The Wings have historically finished just in or just out of the playoffs. The question is whether they will be able to hang on to a playoff spot.

MOUNTAIN DIVISION1. Utah (.656)2. Wichita (.633)3. Idaho (.588)4. Tulsa (.577)

The three teams on the outside looking in have winning percentages of .469 (Rapid City), .433 (Allen), and .433 (Kansas City) and will have a tough time making the playoffs. This is the division where the #4 team (Tulsa) might be overtaken. Tulsa has cooled off after leading the division early in the season. Tulsa has lost four straight and watched its point percentage fall from .750 to .542 in the last week. Based on performance over the last two seasons, Allen is the most likely to defy the odds and make the playoffs. Allen finished #2 and #3 the last two seasons in ECHL points percentage. Rapid City finished #12 and #14. Kansas City finished #11 and #24.

DID YOU KNOW: The ECHL Stats post today honors the 16 ECHL Ironmen who played in everyone of their team’s games. The list includes Kris Myllari who is the only Allen player to play in all 72 games.

Honorable mention goes to Spencer Asuchak who didn’t miss a game all season. He played in all 68 games he was in Allen and added four AHL games (Charlotte) for a total of 72 games.

Honorable mention also goes to Chad Costello who recently missed his first game in almost four years while playing for Allen. Chad played in 340 straight games (280 regular season, 60 playoff) to add to his list of Allen records that will never be broken.

The ECHL used 1101 players this season. Just 1.5% (16) played in every game. Stick taps to the Ironmen, those few players that never missed a game all season. The list includes three veterans and three rookies. Here are the 16 ECHL Ironmen:Patrick Bajkov, ReadingMatthieu Brodeur, Trois-Rivières*Gabriel Chabot, Rapid CityThomas Ebbing, Reading*Conlan Keenan, Toledo*Duggie Lagrone: Tulsa****Mason Mannek: Utah***Jimmy Mazza, Adirondack*Jade Miller, South Carolina*Kris Myllari, Allen*Tyler Penner, Utah****Anthony Petruzzelli, Fort Wayne*Tanner Sorenson, Kalamazoo*Justin Taylor: Kalamazoo***Zach Tolkinen: Fort Wayne***A.J. White: Idaho***Team played 72 games**Veterans***Rookies

The post Predicting ECHL Playoff Teams on Thanksgiving – The Results, Plus Honoring the ECHL Ironmen appeared first on Allen Americans Hockey Club.

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