Last season in the Playoff Pool, the 76 participants, with their selections in the pool, correctly forecasted the final two teams in the NHL playoffs. Every team that is submitted in the pool can only take a maximum of three players from any one team in the playoffs, so with that being said, teams need to make decisions in 24 boxes, meaning they have to have chosen a player from at least eight teams, which generally works out to be the teams that make it out of the opening round of the playoffs.
An NHL playoff team can only have a maximum of 228 selections in the pool and the two teams closest to gaining all 228 teams were the Boston Bruins, 200 of 228 (88%) and Vancouver Canucks, 215 of 228 (94%). They were the two most popular teams in either conference and a lot of pool teams had the maximum of six players in the Stanley Cup Finals last year.
The 2010 pool was halfway there, according to the most popular teams, as the 56 teams correctly chose the Chicago Blackhawks in the West, 163 of 168 possible selections (97%). In the East, the most popular teams were the Washington Capitals (98%) and Pittsburgh Penguins (93%), but it was the Philadelphia Flyers, who only had 57 of 168 selections (34%), that lost in the Finals that year.
With all of that being said, on Monday night, the first night of filling in pool entries, I have 17 teams entered into the pool for a maximum of 51 selections per NHL playoff team. The early favourites by the selections is the Vancouver Canucks in the West, 43 of 51 (84%) and the Boston Bruins, 45 of 51 (88%). The chances of a repeat look pretty good, according to the pool.
The most popular player from the first 17 teams is the comeback kid, Sidney Crosby, who has 13 of 17 possible selections to his name. He is followed by both Evgeni Malkin and Henrik Lundqvist, who each have 11 selections to this point. Remarkably, in the Western Conference, there is yet to be a player to have 10 or more selections, although Henrik Sedin does have 9 selections to lead all of the West players.
The two least popular teams, one from each side, to no surprise are the Los Angeles Kings in the West and Washington Capitals in the East, who each have 7 selections each, both facing the favourites on either side to open up the playoffs.
If you would like to join the Playoff Pool this year, head on over to OpiatedSherpa.com and follow the Playoff Pool links. Be sure to read the rules... they're very important!