NHL Futures: Lightning at the Top

There is a very large 16.1% gap between the Lightning and the Capitals. The Washington Capitals at 19.8% trails the Tampa Bay Lightning at 35.9%. The gap seems to be widening. The Capitals chances are down from 22.9 percent. There is a 5.16 difference in projected points between the #8 best record and the #9 best record in the West. This is a pretty significant difference even if it does not seem to be at first glance. There is not a lot of parity and power is concentrated at the top of the West with just 5 teams having at least a 4% chance of winning it.

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Tampa Bay Lightning109.555.9%97.7%3/1 (25%)35.9%
Washington Capitals102.635.1%89.8%10/1 (9.1%)19.8%
Pittsburgh Penguins104.144.0%92.4%15/1 (6.2%)12.1%
Toronto Maple Leafs100.712.3%82.9%5/1 (16.7%)11.8%
Boston Bruins101.515.4%85.2%5/1 (16.7%)10.6%
Florida Panthers100.211.5%81.4%15/1 (6.2%)3.4%
Carolina Hurricanes97.113.3%72.2%8/1 (11.1%)2.9%
Montreal Canadiens92.72.2%46.9%30/1 (3.2%)1.9%
New York Islanders87.61.3%26.2%25/1 (3.8%)0.5%
Philadelphia Flyers88.72.5%32.0%15/1 (6.2%)0.5%
Buffalo Sabres93.02.6%47.8%15/1 (6.2%)0.2%
New York Rangers90.33.7%39.3%20/1 (4.8%)0.2%
Columbus Blue Jackets74.70.0%1.7%100/1 (1%)--
Detroit Red Wings77.80.0%3.3%150/1 (0.7%)--
New Jersey Devils74.50.0%1.4%30/1 (3.2%)--
Ottawa Senators63.70.0%0.0%150/1 (0.7%)--

There is a virtual tie at the top of the West. The St. Louis Blues at 18.6% trails the Vegas Golden Knights at 19.1%. The gap seems to be widening. The Blues chances are down from 20.1 percent. As far as teams fighting for the final playoff spots go, there is a very small difference in projected points between the teams with the #8 best record and the team with the #9 best record. In terms of having a realistic chance of winning the West, there are 7 legitimate contenders (those with >=4% chance).

Vegas Golden Knights103.059.9%96.6%3/1 (25%)19.1%
St. Louis Blues102.816.6%96.4%9/2 (18.2%)18.6%
Colorado Avalanche111.462.6%99.7%9/2 (18.2%)15.4%
San Jose Sharks96.421.1%86.0%15/1 (6.2%)15.1%
Winnipeg Jets101.312.4%94.9%20/1 (4.8%)11.4%
Calgary Flames91.27.7%66.1%15/1 (6.2%)11.0%
Nashville Predators99.38.2%91.5%8/1 (11.1%)6.3%
Chicago Blackhawks85.50.2%36.0%30/1 (3.2%)1.0%
Edmonton Oilers91.78.8%67.3%15/1 (6.2%)0.9%
Arizona Coyotes83.71.6%28.4%30/1 (3.2%)0.5%
Vancouver Canucks81.90.8%21.2%25/1 (3.8%)0.4%
Dallas Stars73.80.0%3.6%10/1 (9.1%)0.1%
Minnesota Wild76.10.0%6.2%50/1 (2%)--
Anaheim Ducks75.00.1%5.2%15/1 (6.2%)--
Los Angeles Kings69.50.0%1.1%150/1 (0.7%)--

Getting into the playoffs will be the peak of the season for 5 teams. There are only 11 winning it all in at least two percent of simulations. At the top, the Lightning have a significant 14 percentage point lead over the Capitals. The separation between the team with the #9 highest chances vs the #11 highest is 1.4 percentage points.

Tampa Bay Lightning6/114.3%26.2%--
Washington Capitals20/14.8%12.0%--
Vegas Golden Knights7/112.5%8.1%--
St. Louis Blues12/17.7%7.6%--
San Jose Sharks30/13.2%6.8%DOWN
Toronto Maple Leafs10/19.1%6.5%DOWN
Colorado Avalanche10/19.1%6.0%--
Pittsburgh Penguins30/13.2%5.9%UP
Boston Bruins10/19.1%5.8%DOWN
Calgary Flames30/13.2%4.5%DOWN
Winnipeg Jets40/12.4%4.4%DOWN
Nashville Predators16/15.9%2.0%DOWN
Florida Panthers30/13.2%1.4%UP
Carolina Hurricanes16/15.9%1.2%DOWN