Preparing for Your NHL Playoff Pool – Part I

The 2013 NHL Playoffs are set to begin on April 30th.  There is still a lot to determine in terms of who makes the post season and who will be part of the also-rans.  One thing is for sure, in a shortened NHL season, anything can and will happen.  The last time the league played a 48 game season in 1994-95 (also due to a lockout…  thanks again Bettman), the New Jersey Devils won the Stanley Cup over the Detroit Red Wings.  New Jersey was making their first-ever appearance in the Final, while Detroit returned to the Final for the first time since 1966. The Devils swept the series four games to zip to earn their first Stanley Cup.

Preparing for NHL Playoff Pools

Preparing for your NHL Playoff hockey pools requires a little preparation.  Here are three tips to remember as you prepare for your NHL Playoff Pool:

#1.  Know Your Playoff Match-Ups – of course the season is not yet over and typically the match-ups are not decided until the final weekend of the season.  Understanding who will playing whom can be key to winning your playoff pool.  Of course with so much parity in the league, an upset can happen at any time.  See last year’s Stanley Cup Champions, the Los Angeles Kings.  Regardless understanding the match-ups can help you with the selection of the players for your hockey pool.

2013 NHL Playoff Potential Match-ups

If the NHL playoff started today, the match-ups wold look something like this:

Eastern Conference

Rank Team
1 Pittsburgh
2 Montreal
3 Washington
4 Boston
5 Toronto
6 Ottawa
7 NY Islanders
8 NY Rangers

Western Conference

Rank Team
1 Chicago
2 Anaheim
3 Vancouver
4 Los Angeles
5 San Jose
6 St. Louis
7 Minnesota
8 Detroit

#2.  Know who is Battling Injuries – come playoff time, coaches and players alike will not and do not discuss injuries.  They might say “.. its a lower body or upper body injury”, but details will be hard to come by.  If certain players known to score have a serious injury going into the playoffs it is often covered up.  Pay attention to injury reports throughout the second half of the regular season to see if there are any nagging injuries that have affected a players ability to produce points.

#3. Determine your Final Four – this is the best strategy for playoff pools for hockey. If you can predict the final four teams or better yet the final two, your player selection should consist of players from those teams as they will simply play more games and (ideally) compile more points.

2013 NHL Jersey Collection

Next Up:  Top 100 Scorers from the 2011-2012 NHL Playoffs