2011-12 Minnesota Wild Compared to Past Teams: Which is a Better Comparison?

So many articles from the people making the argument that the Wild will falter rely on the same two examples, we decided it was time to look at how the three teams relate to each other. They say that the 2010-11 Dallas Stars and 2009-10 Colorado Avalanche should serve as a warning to the Wild fans that the failure rates of teams with early season success is very real. The emphasis really seems to be on the Avs team, so bear that in mind.

These two teams are constantly brought up as teams that outplayed their talent, beating teams they shouldn't beat, and having similar fancy stats as the Wild. The problem we have found with this line of reasoning is that those Stars and Avalanche teams saw their success slip much sooner than the Wild of today. To me, that suggests that something else is different between the teams. Maybe even something that cannot be quantified.

Perhaps, a new comparison is needed. We'll try that, too.

There will, no doubt, be debate and stats thrown around in the comment section. We present this not as a critique of the stats, but simply as a counter point to be considered.

The Tired Comparison

Here is how the teams stack up:

Team

Record

GP

Points

% of points won

League

Conference

Division

2011-12 Minnesota Wild

20-7-3

30

43

71.70%

1

1

1

2010-11 Dallas Stars

17-10-2

29

36

62%

7

2

1

2009-10 Colorado Avalanche

18-10-6

34

42

61.7%

7

4

2

The first thing that jumps out is number of games played by the Avs at this point in their season, compared to the points they had earned. Four more games played, and one fewer point. This was good for just seventh in the league, and fourth in the West. Clagary had passed them for the division lead, and the slide was in full effect.

The Stars of last season are a slightly better comparison, having played just one fewer games, but still sitting with seven fewer points. Last time I checked, there are no seven point games in the NHL. Their record was good for seventh in the league, due mainly to tie breakers, as there were six teams tied with 36 points at this point in the season.

In other words, both of the teams the doubters love to point to had fewer points in the same or more games played, were ranked six or seven spots lower in the league than the current Wild team, and were winning a smaller percentage of points available.

Somehow, the comparisons don't seem to fit anymore. Regardless of what happened to those two teams, the current Wild team has had more success for a longer period of time. Time for this line of thinking to die.

Better Comparison

As a replacement, let's look at the teams that were, in fact, at the top of the NHL for the past 20 years:

Team

Pts

GP

Reg Seas Result

Playoff Seed

Playoff Result

2011-12

Wild

43

30

?

?

?

2010-11

Pittsburgh

44

31

4th in East

4

1st round

2009-10

Washington

46

33

1st in East

1

1st round

2008-09

San Jose

48

28

1st in West

1

1st Round

2007-08

Detroit

46

30

1st in NHL

1

Cup Champs

2006-07

Anaheim

54

33

2nd in West

2

Cup Champs

2005-06

Ottawa

46

28

1st in East

1

ECSF

2004-05

Lock Out

2003-04

Philadelphia

43

29

3rd in East

3

ECF

2002-03

Boston

42

29

7th in East

7

1st round

2001-02

Detroit

47

31

1st in NHL

1

Cup Champs

2000-01

Colorado

46

30

1st in NHL

1

Cup Champs

1999-00

Detroit

42

30

6th in West

6

WCSF

1998-99

New Jersey

37

27

4th in West

4

1st Round

1997-98

Dallas

46

34

1st in NHL

1

WCF

1996-97

Florida

41

30

4th in East

4

1st Round

1995-96

Florida

46

31

4th in East

4

SCF

1994-95

Strike

1993-94

Toronto

45

32

2nd in West

2

WCSF

1992-93

Pittsburgh

45

32

1st in NHL

1

WaCSF

1991-92

Washington

42

30

2nd in Whales

2

1st round

1990-91

Chicago

44

33

1st in NHL

1

WaCSF

Looking at this comparison, not only should Wild fans be confident in their teams' ability to continue this through to the end, they should likely buy some season ticket packages to secure playoff priority.

The lowest finish in the past 20 years in Boston at seventh. I'm not up on my Boston Bruins history, so I won't venture a guess at why they fell so far. Perhaps injuries? Maybe a Bruins fan could help us out there.

The lowest finish post lockout in last year's Penguins. What happened to them? Well... let's see... Sidney Crosby didn't play a game after January 5th. Maybe that had something to do with their demise. Just a guess, though.

Now, granted, the playoff results are a mixed bag. There are four Stanley Cup Champions, one Stanley Cup runner-up, two trips to the conference finals, five to the conference semi finals, and seven first round exits. But that's the playoffs. The same Stanley Cup playoffs that make heroes out of normal men, and make President's Trophy winners look stupid.

Six teams in the last 20 years have been first on December 12 and finished first in the league. Another six have finished first in their conference. Three finished second, one third, two fourth, and one each in sixth and seventh.

Maybe someone in the advanced stats world can tell us how each of the teams listed above looks compared to this year's Wild, maybe they don't care. I don't. The PDO, Corsi, Relative Corsi, etc of each of these teams may provide some insight. Maybe they won't.

The point here is, with the Wild in first place in the league on December 12th, past performance of the league says they have a pretty good shot at continuing that success through to the end of the season.

(Note: Historical data provided by ShrpSports and NHL.com)

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Hockey Wilderness

You must be a member of Hockey Wilderness to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Hockey Wilderness. You should read them.

Join Hockey Wilderness

You must be a member of Hockey Wilderness to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Hockey Wilderness. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9355_tracker