What would a 48-game season have meant for the 2011-12 Canucks?


While nothing has been confirmed officially, by all accounts the NHL season will be starting on January 19th and will last for 48 games. This was, apparently, the shortest season that the NHL would have considered, which makes it awfully convenient that a new CBA deal was reached just in time for a 48-game season to occur.

Setting aside what has brought us to this point for the moment, what does it mean to have 48 games rather than 82? For starters, each game becomes nearly twice as important. Approximately 1.95 times more important, to be a little more specific. To help you visualize a 48-game season, each team plays 48-50 games before the All-Star break in a normal season.

To give you some idea of how a 48-game season changes things, I looked at what it would have meant for last season.

Over at Backhand Shelf, I posted a breakdown of the standings from last season using three different 48-game scenarios. I started with the first 48 and the last 48 games of the season, but decided that didn’t seem truly representative of how it would actually play out. In a 48-game season, what’s really missing is the middle of the schedule, when the season starts to get routine and motivation can be hard to come by, so for the third scenario, I used the first and last 24 games of the season.

Here’s how those standings would have played out for the Western Conference:

As you can see, the Canucks would have still won their division pretty handily. If you can’t see that, click the image to make it bigger.

It is slightly troubling that their worst 48-game point total came in the third scenario, the one I think most closely approximates how an actual 48-game season would go. Even then, however, the Canucks still finish third in points in the West and easily win their division.

While it’s tempting to say that the Canucks can’t afford to get off to their usual slow start, it seems pretty clear from last season that they can. The Canucks won just 4 of their first 10 games last season and picked up just 9 out of a possible 20 points. But even if it had been a 48-game season, the Canucks would have been just fine. Hopefully that precludes us all from flipping pools if the Canucks have a similar start to the coming season.

Here are the point totals for every Canuck that played at least 40 games last season prorated over a 48-game season, taking into account games missed for injury or as a healthy scratch.

HENRIK SEDIN 48.0 8.2 39.2 47.4
DANIEL SEDIN 42.1 16.3 20.2 36.5
ALEXANDRE BURROWS 46.8 16.1 13.8 29.9
RYAN KESLER 45.1 12.4 15.2 27.6
ALEXANDER EDLER 48.0 6.4 22.2 28.7
KEVIN BIEKSA 45.7 4.5 20.4 24.9
CHRIS HIGGINS 41.6 9.8 13.5 23.3
JANNIK HANSEN 48.0 9.4 13.5 22.8
DAN HAMHUIS 48.0 2.3 19.3 21.7
CODY HODGSON 36.9 8.5 9.0 17.5
DAVID BOOTH 32.8 8.6 7.0 15.7
SAMI SALO 40.4 4.8 8.6 13.4
MASON RAYMOND 32.2 5.4 5.4 10.9
MAXIM LAPIERRE 48.0 5.3 5.9 11.1
MANNY MALHOTRA 45.7 4.0 6.2 10.2
AARON ROME 25.2 2.6 3.8 6.4
DALE WEISE 39.8 2.1 2.1 4.3
KEITH BALLARD 27.5 0.6 3.6 4.2
ANDREW ALBERTS 25.8 1.3 0.6 1.9

Things look a little better for the Sedins if you cherry pick a little. If you just look at their first 48 games, Daniel scored 21 goals and added 30 assists for 51 points. Henrik did slightly better, scoring 11 goals and 41 assists for 52 points. In the coming season, the Sedins just need to avoid the extended scoring slumps they faced in late February and early March.

In such a short season, individual and team success require just a few hot streaks, but a couple extended cold streaks or even a few short-term injuries to key players can derail a season in a hurry. But it should be some comfort to Canucks fans that however you sliced the 2011-12 season, the Canucks were successful. There’s no reason to think that the Canucks won’t once again win the Northwest Division.



  1. John in Marpole
    January 9, 2013

    Do not all of those scenarios include games against teams that the Canucks (and the rest of the NHL for that matter) won’t be playing in the upcoming 48 game season? Perhaps that wouldn’t have much of an impact, but it could , couldn’t it? Math/stats aren’t my forte.

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    • Brent
      January 9, 2013

      I wondered the same thing. I haven’t read the fine details but I thought I heard that they will only be playing in their conference? So that means relatively more games against teams like Edmonton and Calgary, which could be a good thing, but also more games against LAK (looking forward to that!), Detroit, SJ, SL ect. Maybe it will all come out in the wash, but if Edmonton plays to their potential it could be more difficult? Not sure, we need some Drance numbers for this. make it so….

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    • Daniel Wagner
      January 9, 2013

      Yes, they do, but it would have been a nightmare trying to sort that out.

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  2. Rituro
    January 9, 2013

    That “Last 48″ playoffs would’ve been one hell of a ride. VAN/CGY in the first round? NSH/DET renewing acquaintances? Oh my. Yes, please.

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  3. Benjo
    January 9, 2013

    Funny coincidnce we would still play the LAK in 2 out of 3 of those scenarios?

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