NHL Playoff Success: 2009-2010 to 2017-2018

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Steve Yzerman stepped down as the GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning today. This lead to the question, “how successful was he?” Below, we will look at NHL team playoff performance since 2009-2010, which is the year Yezerman became the GM. The data however is only useful when looking relative compared to all the teams.

In terms of success, it is every player, owner and general manager’s goal to win the Stanley Cup. However since Tampa never accomplished that feat during his time with the team, how did they rank? I will only look at playoff wins and loses. Sure this is the most basic way to look at numbers however it is also the end result.

Some situations that have occured include: Crosby having concussion issues, Ovechkin having great playoff numbers however only recently won a cup, Tavares getting hurt during the Olympics key player injuries, bad matchups, etc. I mean, what if Jagr never left NHL? At the end of the day it is all about winning.

So first thing first, need to compile data. Thanks formatted data, a simple script assembled this nice table below. For each year, wins come first and loses come second. The “X” represents the team not making the playoffs.

Team
09-10
10-11
11-12
12-13
13-14
14-15
15-16
16-17
17-18
Anaheim
X
X
2
4
X
X
3
4
7
6
11
5
3
4
10
7
0
4
Boston
7
6
16
9
3
4
14
8
7
5
X
X
X
X
2
4
5
5
Buffalo
2
4
3
4
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Calgary
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
5
6
X
X
0
4
X
X
Carolina
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Chicago
16
6
3
4
2
4
16
7
11
8
16
7
3
4
0
4
X
X
Colorado
2
4
X
X
X
X
X
X
3
4
X
X
X
X
X
X
2
4
Columbus
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
2
4
X
X
X
X
1
4
2
4
Dallas
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
2
4
X
X
7
6
X
X
X
X
Detroit
4
4
7
4
1
4
7
7
1
4
3
4
1
4
X
X
X
X
Edmonton
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
6
6
X
X
Florida
X
X
X
X
3
4
X
X
X
X
X
X
2
4
X
X
X
X
Los Angeles
2
4
2
4
16
4
9
9
16
10
X
X
1
4
X
X
0
4
Minnesota
X
X
X
X
X
X
1
4
6
7
4
6
2
4
1
4
1
4
Montreal
9
7
3
4
X
X
1
4
10
11
6
6
X
X
2
4
X
X
Nashville
2
4
6
6
5
5
X
X
X
X
2
4
7
7
14
8
7
6
New Jersey
1
4
X
X
14
10
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
1
4
New York I
X
X
X
X
X
X
2
4
X
X
3
4
5
6
X
X
X
X
New York R
X
X
1
4
10
10
5
7
13
12
11
8
1
4
6
6
X
X
Ottawa
2
4
X
X
3
4
5
5
X
X
2
4
X
X
11
8
X
X
Philadelphia
14
9
4
4
5
6
X
X
3
4
X
X
2
4
X
X
2
4
Phoenix
3
4
0
4
9
7
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Pittsburgh
7
6
3
4
2
4
8
7
7
6
1
4
16
8
16
9
6
6
St. Louis
X
X
X
X
4
5
2
4
2
4
2
4
10
10
6
5
X
X
San Jose
8
7
9
9
1
4
7
4
3
4
X
X
14
10
2
4
6
4
Tampa
X
X
11
7
X
X
X
X
0
4
14
12
11
6
X
X
11
6
Toronto
X
X
X
X
X
X
3
4
X
X
X
X
X
X
2
4
3
4
Vancouver
6
6
6
6
15
10
1
4
X
X
2
4
X
X
X
X
X
X
Vegas
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X


Washington
3
4
4
5
7
7
3
4
X
X
7
7
6
6
7
6
16
8
Winnipeg
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
0
4
X
X
X
X
9
8

So what does the chart really tell us?


Teams with the most wins:
1. Chicago (67)
2. Pittsburgh (66)
3. Boston (54)
4. Washington (53)
5. San Jose (50)
6. New York Rangers (47)
7. Tampa (47)
8. Los Angeles (46)
9. Nashville (43)


This is interesting, especially with LA Kings being 8th on the list even though they have won 2 cups in this span.

Teams with the most loses:
1. Pittsburgh (54)
2. New York Rangers (51)
3. Washington (47)
4. San Jose (46)
5. Chicago (44)
6. Boston (41)
7. Nashville (40)
8. Los Angeles (39)
9. Tampa (35)


No surprise, all the teams that were on the most wins list is also on the most loses list. This just means that they have advanced in playoff series with loses along the way. The interesting team is the second place Rangers who never won a cup within the time frame that I looked at. How about if we took the total games played compared to wins?

Win Percentage:
1. Chicago (60.36)
2. Tampa (57.32)
3. Pittsburgh (55.00)
4. Los Angeles (54.12)
5. Washington (53.00)
6. San Jose (52.08)
7. Nashville (51.81)


Looking at the numbers by percentage of wins, 3 time Cup winner, Chicago being at the top is no surprise. Tampa Bay at second though definitely stands out considering they are the only team out of the top 5 without a cup. These percentages can be skewed based on number of games played. For example, Vegas would be number one on this list with 65% however they were excluded due to only having one playoff year of data. Tampa falls into a similar category based on games played.

Contenders
Now that we have looked at wins, losses, percentages, there is one more category to consider, missing the playoffs. The only way to even be a contender is making the playoffs. This next part will only consider the teams that made the lists above. This makes it easier to understand the data, rather then listing Carolina as the league leader (more on them at the bottom). The number next to each team in this list is the number of times they have missed the playoffs. Sorted by most playoff misses to least.

1. Tampa (4)
2. New York Rangers (2)
3. Boston (2)
4. Nashville (2)
5. Los Angeles (2)
6. Washington (1)
7. San Jose (1)
8. Chicago (1)
9. Pittsburgh (0)


Tampa missing the playoffs more then any other team helps their win percentage. It is also interesting to note that the Sharks have only missed the playoffs once and solid all around, yet similar to Tampa and the Rangers, can never get to 16 wins.

So going back, “how successful was Steve Yzerman?” that is up for you to decide. However, personally, I think when looking at the big picture that Chicago, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Nashville, Boston, Washington and San Jose have had either more success or better consistency. That list is in no particular order. Tampa would be 8th.

Yzerman does deserve credit though, for managing to keep the majority of his team around year after year. Granted, the tax percentage makes a huge difference when looking at the turn over of the Blackhawks.


Bonus: What is Winning?
Carolina is the only team that did not make the playoffs within the time frame. Other teams such as Buffalo, Calgary, Carolina, Columbus and Florida gave their fans only 5 wins.

Buffalo, Carolina, Colorado, Columbus, Florida and Toronto are the only teams who have not won a playoff series within this time span.

Last stat for this post, is the lowest win percentage for teams that have played 20 games or more. The reason behind 20 games as the metric chosen, is because it eliminates a lot of the teams just mentioned. 20 is enough games to get a percentage that is "somewhat" accurate. And the team with the lowest percentage is..... Toronto Maple Leafs at 40%.