Since the new divisions came out just a few days ago (well, division names), I decided to take a look at what the playoffs would have looked like in the East with the new playoff structure. I got excited because I was thinking that maybe CBJ had enough points to sneak into one of the two wild-card slots. Unfortunately the Blue Jackets still fell short, further proof that the team needs to step it up one more notch next year in the new conference.
Lets take a look at who would have made the playoffs in the East, using last seasons points and next years playoff structure:
- Pittsburgh Penguins – 72 Points
- Washington Captials – 57 Points
- New York Rangers – 56 Points
- Columbus Blue Jackets – 55 Points
- New York Islanders – 55 Points
- Philadelphia Flyers – 49 Points
- New Jersey Devils – 48 Points
- Carolina Hurricanes – 42 Points
- Montreal Canadians – 63 Points
- Boston Bruins – 62 Points
- Toronto Maple Leafs – 57 Points
- Ottawa Senators – 56 Points
- Detroit Red Wings – 56 Points
- Buffalo Sabres -48 Points
- Tampa Bay Lightning – 40 Points
- Florida Panthers – 36 Points
Now we can apply the new playoff structure, the top three teams in each division would make the playoffs. From the Metropolitan Division; Pittsburgh, Washington, and the New York Rangers would have made the list. From the Atlantic Division; Montreal, Boston, and Toronto would be the top three. After the top three comes two wild-card slots; Ottawa and Detroit would have taken those two last spots. In summary, the eight teams that would have made the playoffs are; Pittsburgh, Washington, New York Rangers, Montreal, Boston, Toronto, Ottawa, and Detroit.
The Blue Jackets would have been in the same exact situation that they were actually in this year in the Western Conference. So what can we conclude from this, I have a couple thoughts for you…
First things first, the team needs to step it up another notch, playing in the Eastern Conference is going to be no less of a challenge than the West. Yes, I realize that we are coming out of one of the toughest divisions in the West, but we are now moving into a different playoff structure and just as tough of opponents.
I do think that the Blue Jackets can learn from last season, and can make the playoffs next season. It won’t be an easy task but it is very doable. Take a closer look at the points earned by the teams who were fighting for those two wild-card slots, after the Islanders and Blue Jackets, the teams fall off the grid and are several points back. I understand that teams may or may not have improved over this offseason, but every year teams are going to falter. There will be some room to slip into those two playoff spots though, but it will be a wild race.
The Blue Jackets improved roster wise, now they just need to keep improving on the ice. Playoff hopes for next year are high, and I think the team will deliver. Keep your fingers crossed that Columbus is not one of the teams that falter and fall to the cellar……again.