Towards an understanding of the NHL’s final standings
This is interesting.
In a recent paper, Gregory Matthews, Ben Baumer, and I looked at the role of randomness in professional sports outcomes. Perhaps unsurprisingly, we identified that NHL and MLB games tend to be closest to a coin flip, with the worst teams capable of beating the best. Meanwhile, there are larger gaps in talent between franchises in each of the NBA and NFL. Although our focus was on individual game outcomes, we laid a bit of groundwork for related work with respect to between-league and between-team comparisons.
In particular, I left curious as to the end impact of the NHL’s randomness. If most game outcomes are near coin flips, what impact does that have on season outcomes? In this post, I’ll reflect back on the NHL’s final standings, with the goal of better understanding the underlying differences in team strengths, and what that means about where teams finish.
Why final standings?
Sports leagues use final regular season standings to both determine playoff…
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