Marginal Playoff Efficiency - Marginal Spending Where The Playoffs Matter

"You are taking all the damn fun out of hockey with your math mumbo-jumbo."  Thus began a conversation with a very good friend about the spending efficiency columns I've published over the last few weeks.  So for those of you that like to watch hockey for the hockey, this is the last one, I promise.  For those of you that like the business side of the game, this should be the best of the bunch.

The issue with the first three parts of this series was centered around actual on-ice performance.  With Marginal Cap Efficiency, or the Marginal Cap Efficiency with Rolling Averages, or even Marginal Floor Efficiency, a club can spend exactly to the floor and still be efficient using those formulas just because they've spent so little.  One way to counter that is by using the playoffs as the base of efficiency.  After all, the playoffs are the goal for every team in the league, not just because they want to win, but because of the revenue opportunities that come from the playoffs.  Players are playing for free, attendance is higher, and those attending the games pay higher ticket prices.  After the jump, we'll delve into a metric where the playoffs matter.  Let's call it Marginal Playoff Efficiency.

To make sure that the playoffs matter, I'm measuring the spending efficiency on points earned over the minimum necessary to make the playoffs.  Because luck is often uncontrollable, I allowed for a 5% underage on points.  For example, in 2006-2007 a team in the Western Conference needed 96 points to qualify for the playoffs.  My minimum is 91.  That number is different each season and different in each conference, so I've split the two conferences.  The numbers below are the result.  I've taken the number of points over the playoff minimum divided by cap dollars spent over the league floor.  So Marginal Playoff Efficiency is points over the playoff minimum divided by dollars spent over the salary floor.

Listed below are the results of each team since 2005-2006 when the salary cap was instituted.  PLO AVG stands for post-lockout average.  I've used the heat map concept to categorize similar seasons, where the darker colors are the more extreme values.  The table is sorted by PLO AVG.

Western 05-06 06-07 07-08 08-09 09-10 PLO AVG
SJS 1.131 0.946 2.898 1.975 1.424 1.575
DET 1.892 1.240 2.017 1.655 0.734 1.500
NSH 2.330 1.587 3.064 0.112 2.887 1.355
DAL 1.450 1.024 0.689 -0.293 -0.307 0.656
ANA 0.696 1.317 0.853 0.306 -0.098 0.640
VAN 0.102 0.848 0.106 2.025 0.797 0.609
CGY 0.918 0.310 0.528 0.816 -0.016 0.499
MIN -2.703 0.847 0.862 0.182 -0.412 0.242
COL 0.285 0.240 0.624 -1.620 0.589 0.062
CHI -2.392 -1.312 0.103 1.108 1.454 -0.060
EDM 0.377 -1.562 0.100 -0.110 -1.826 -0.626
LAK -0.093 -1.785 -1.397 -2.358 1.084 -0.718
PHX -1.032 -1.719 -1.294 -1.168 7.867 -0.800
STL -4.963 -1.172 -0.500 0.439 -0.040 -0.924
CBJ -1.452 -1.537 -1.248 0.515 -1.927 -1.038

 

As it's been in every efficiency article I've written, the San Jose Sharks rise to the top, once again joined by the Predators and Red Wings.  Columbus is far and away the least efficient team in the conference.  Phoenix, even with the most efficient season in the table last season, is still at the bottom of the list.


The Eastern Conference as a whole has not been as efficient as the Western Conference, in fact, only the New Jersey Devils have been as consistently efficient as the top teams in the west.  The table is sorted by PLO AVG.

Eastern 05-06 06-07 07-08 08-09 09-10 PLO AVG
BUF 3.667 1.494 0.064 0.263 1.142 1.170
NJD 0.869 0.890 0.750 3.281 1.386 1.152
OTT 1.946 1.130 0.347 -0.419 0.667 0.759
WSH -6.861 -6.749 0.534 1.280 2.897 0.657
CAR 2.884 0.049 0.200 0.882 -0.266 0.578
PIT -3.646 2.146 1.236 0.699 1.091 0.513
NYR 1.088 0.461 0.444 0.421 0.218 0.503
MTL 0.428 0.171 1.164 0.295 0.282 0.450
BOS -0.941 -0.603 0.256 1.546 0.504 0.135
PHI 0.791 -2.067 0.355 0.755 0.275 0.045
FLA -0.563 -0.126 -0.367 0.351 -0.529 -0.180
TOR 0.174 0.220 -0.416 -0.880 -0.621 -0.237
ATL 0.146 0.613 -1.419 -2.617 -0.110 -0.254
TBL 0.301 0.351 -2.242 -1.572 -0.697 -0.570
LI -0.700 0.373 -1.187 -3.589 -46.000 -1.104

 

Last season's Islanders' result is goofy because Capgeek.com lists the Islanders as being under the floor.  It's possible that they were under the floor because there is no punishment prescribed for breaking that rule in the CBA.  The Devils have been the model of Eastern Conference efficiency since the lockout, trailed closely by the Sabres.  The Capitals and Penguins have the three least efficient seasons (not including Long Island's sub-floor season) but parlayed those into cheap ELCs for superstars.

Something of note - the bottom teams in these tables are the franchises first mentioned when attendance woes are discussed.  Perhaps it's not the hockey market itself; rather, the problem is poor franchise management.


As I did with Marginal Cap Efficiency, I put together the rolling averages for each team; both tables are sorted by the most recent period.

Western 05-07 06-08 07-09 08-10
SJS 1.005 1.547 2.274 1.695
CHI -1.752 -0.611 0.617 1.276
DET 1.568 1.586 1.828 1.186
VAN 0.466 0.498 0.710 1.159
PHX -1.452 -1.651 -1.205 1.093
NSH 1.857 1.751 0.398 0.656
CGY 0.598 0.415 0.671 0.381
STL -2.821 -0.748 -0.069 0.281
LAK -0.924 -1.607 -1.610 0.252
ANA 1.045 1.057 0.608 0.120
MIN 0.376 0.854 0.515 -0.127
DAL 1.234 0.857 0.262 -0.299
CBJ -1.496 -1.449 -0.056 -0.343
COL 0.263 0.418 -0.364 -0.674
EDM -0.605 -0.657 0.003 -1.035

 

The Eastern Conference is below.

Eastern 05-07 06-08 07-09 08-10
WSH -6.805 -1.116 1.008 2.019
NJD 0.881 0.838 1.493 1.912
BOS -0.748 -0.180 0.842 1.035
PIT -0.725 1.640 0.915 0.899
BUF 2.069 0.937 0.160 0.780
PHI -0.550 -0.822 0.542 0.500
NYR 0.741 0.452 0.433 0.320
MTL 0.290 0.621 0.681 0.289
CAR 1.212 0.128 0.505 0.247
OTT 1.504 0.766 -0.025 0.178
FLA -0.247 -0.250 0.014 -0.076
TOR 0.198 -0.086 -0.581 -0.712
ATL 0.365 -0.148 -1.820 -1.272
TBL 0.327 -0.526 -1.816 -1.339
LI -0.186 -0.271 -2.311 -4.139

 

There are a number of different types of successful teams on the list:  the first are those teams that drafted superstars and took advantage of those cheap entry-level contracts to become successful.  The Capitals, Penguins and Blackhawks rode this strategy to the top.  But there are also teams like the Sharks and Devils that have spent near the cap with regularity but have done so extremely well and the results speak for themselves. On the flip side of the ledger, the teams that have wasted cheap entry-level contracts trail the pack.  The Thrashers, Panthers, and Blue Jackets have burned through first round picks with nothing to show for it.  Other teams at the bottom like the Oilers and Leafs have spent near the cap, but have been completely inefficient in doing so. 

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join The Copper & Blue

You must be a member of The Copper & Blue to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Copper & Blue. You should read them.

Join The Copper & Blue

You must be a member of The Copper & Blue to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Copper & Blue. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9355_tracker