The trade deadline has passed and we now know what the teams will have as we reach the final push to the end of the regular season. All of the teams in the Western Conference have between 26 and 29 games remaining on their schedules and it will be interesting to see if Seattle and Kelowna can push up in the standings after what transpired yesterday as I expect Kamloops to drop a bit after their trades.
With Kamloops moving Tyler Shattock, Jimmy Bubnick and Zak Stebner to Calgary, it certainly limits their offensive abilities, although I think Chase Schaber can be an impact forward. They will be hard pressed to hold off Kelowna in the 7th spot but it should be a race with Seattle for 8th as the Thunderbirds also traded veterans in Jonathan Parker, Sena Acolatse and Stefan Warg for younger players in Ryan Aasman, Burke Gallimore and Austin Frank.
I was a bit surprised that the two teams right behind Portland in the U.S. Division in Everett and Spokane didn’t make any moves, but it seems that the prices were too high for Doug Soetaert and Tim Speltz to make any deals to help upgrade their rosters heading down the stretch.
Tri City didn’t hurt themselves by adding Mike Brown from Swift Current, but I doubt Brown plays in their top 6 forwards.
In all, if the Hawks can get as many games as possible with Luca Sbisa, they are well positioned to be a top 4 team in the Conference, which would mean home ice advantage in the first round.
So, you wonder…what is the magic number for the Hawks (or any other Western Conference team, for that matter) to clinch a playoff spot? Well, thanks to my superior Excel skills (laughable, I know), this is what I came up with…
Seattle currently sits at 34 points in the standings with 29 games remaining, meaning they can earn a maximum of 92 points if they go on a 29 game winning streak. Using this as a base number, I have calculated that for the eight teams ahead of them in the standings to make the post season that they need this many points (or a combination of points earned vs. points lost by Seattle) to clinch a playoff spot:
Tri City — currently at 63 pts with 29 games remaining — need 29 points (or 14.5 wins/Seattle losses)
Vancouver — currently at 57 points with 26 games remaining — need 35 points (or 17.5 wins/Seattle losses)
Portland — currently at 54 points with 28 games remaining — need 38 points (or 19 wins/Seattle losses)
Everett — currently at 53 points with 28 games remaining — need 39 points (or 19.5 wins/Seattle losses)
Spokane — currently at 52 points with 29 games remaining — need 40 points (or 20 wins/Seattle losses)
Chilliwack — currently at 46 points with 26 games remaining — need 46 points (or 23 wins/Seattle losses)
Kamloops — currently at 43 points with 28 games remaining — need 49 points (or 24.5 wins/Seattle losses)
Kelowna — currently at 40 points with 27 games remaining — need 49 points (or 26 wins/Seattle losses)
I’ll update this from time to time as the season progresses…
Also, don’t forget that Wednesday’s game from Kamloops will be seen live on local TV on FSN at 7:00 PM. Make sure you turn down the TV audio and turn up my radio broadcast on Freedom 970 AM…pre-game will start at 6:40 PM.
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