Noon Number (December 2nd): 0.8618

In terms of puck possession since 2007-08, the Red Wings have very much been the leaders, while the Wild have been trailing far behind. - USA TODAY Sports

For the first Noon Number of December, let's look at some trends regarding Fenwick and playoff success.

For this study, I'm used data ranging from the 2007-2008 season up to end of last season. The things I will be looking at are; which teams have average the highest and lowest Fenwick Close For % at 5v5 Close (FenClose%) over that time period, and what kind of success they've had in that time with regard to playoff appearences, playoff rounds won and Stanley Cups won?

FenClose% has a very strong correlation with regular and post-season success,but it's important to remember that the possibility of outliers in the playoffs is considered to be much stronger due to the small sample size that a 7-game series presents. It's not unfathomable for a lesser team to ride hot goaltending or a high shooting percentage to a series win or two. Generally the cream will rise to the top, but there have been times in recent history when bad puck possession teams have found ways to go deep in the playoffs. Last year's Leafs team, which was terrible in terms of Fenwick Close and was leading the league in PDO, were minutes from beating the Bruins and in the first round. The Bruins were the far better team in the series, but the Leafs were able to take the series to Game 7 on the back of James Reimer's stellar performances in net.

I'm not gonna be breaking any new ground here, but it's interesting to see the data laid-out like this.

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-The following table shows each teams, their average FenClose%, amount of Cups won, playoff appearances and playoff rounds won since 2007-08:

Team

FF%

Cups

Playoff Appearences

Rounds Won

Detroit

54.8

1

6

10

Chicago

54.4

2

5

10

San Jose

53.8

0

6

10

New Jersey

52.3

0

4

9

Boston

51.8

1

6

7

St. Louis

51.7

0

3

6

Washington

51.7

0

6

6

Pittsburgh

51.6

1

6

5

NY Rangers

51.6

0

5

4

Los Angeles

51.1

1

4

3

Vancouver

50.8

0

5

3

Calgary

50.8

0

2

3

Ottawa

50.7

0

4

2

Philadelphia

49.9

0

5

2

Carolina

49.6

0

1

2

Columbus

49.6

0

1

2

Buffalo

49.1

0

2

2

Phoenix

49.1

0

3

1

Tampa Bay

49.1

0

1

1

Nashville

49

0

4

1

Dallas

48.8

0

1

1

NY Islanders

48.5

0

1

0

Toronto

48.4

0

1

0

Montreal

48.2

0

5

0

Colorado

48

0

2

0

Florida

48

0

1

0

Anaheim

48

0

4

0

Winnipeg

47.5

0

0

0

Minnesota

46.2

0

2

0

Edmonton

45.6

0

0

0

You can see that all 6 Stanley Cups from the last 6 seasons belong to teams who have averaged a top-10 FenClose% over that time period, and generally the teams closer to the top have more playoff appearances, apart from a couple of outliers like Montreal and Nashville.

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-Here is a graph that plots each team's FenClose% vs their number of playoff rounds won in the last 6 seasons, for a visual representation of the correlation:

07-13_medium

That's a strong correlation of 0.8618. Teams that have consistently posted positive puck possession numbers have won more playoff rounds in the same time period. Nothing particularly revalatory here, but the main point is that you don't see any teams who have averaged 53%+ with 0 playoff round wins, and likewise, you don't see any teams who have averaged sub-47% regularly succeeding. In short, puck possession matters (if you needed more evidence).

The Wild's FenClose% is currently 53.4%, so if you're looking for something positive to take away from the first two months of the season, that is it. If they can keep up that kind of puck possession performances, then they have every chance of improving on last year's 1st round exit.

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Follow me on Twitter for more Wild talk and stats stuff. Also, f you get a free minute today, check on my 1st article for Ice Nation UK, who I just started writing for (the stats in the article are a bit out-of-date as it was written around a week ago, but the piece is still relevant). Bookmark that site, because there's some good quality stuff being written there.

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Noon Christmas Tune:

Seeing as we're now into December and Christmas is fast approaching, I'll be featuring a different Christmas song in each of the 10 Noon Number's I write between now and the big day. Your first song of the month is this classic duet from Bing and Bowie:


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