Two weeks back we announced the partnership between SB Nation’s hockey blogs and FanPulse, allowing fans to make their voices heard by voting on various topics throughout the upcoming season. Unfortunately, the wisdom of the crowd didn’t emerge in the first poll, and fans clearly got it wrong.
The Edmonton Oilers are off to a hot start, and with an 8-3-1 record, they are leading the Pacific Division. Monday’s opponents, the Buffalo Sabres, are also starting strong with a 9-2-2 record, and they took the Coyotes to the shoot out. It’s still early in the season though and looking at the Oilers’ roster and the underlying Sabres numbers suggest that things may not last for the two teams. Voters were influenced by recent results, and as such our humble Arizona Coyotes didn’t make the top five despite currently having the third spot in the Pacific Division. The Montreal Canadiens are also an interesting pick, their start isn’t terrible at 5-4-2, but the Atlantic is looking to be a tough division this year, and it seems unlikely they will be able to sneak in. The Florida Panthers aren’t a terrible pick, like the Coyotes they are currently third in their division, although like Buffalo they will face stiff divisional competition.
On the opposite end, it’s harder to argue which team will miss the playoffs. Of the top five vote-getters, three are currently outside of the playoffs. The Winnipeg Jets also lost some key players, and with most of their defencemen gone the fact they are currently outside the playoffs isn’t too much of a surprise. The Dallas Stars and San Jose Sharks both still have 9 points and are both sub .500 teams after a slow start.
It is kinda surprising that the Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Islanders are on the top of the list. The Islanders are currently second in the Metropolitan Division, while the Blue Jackets are 2 points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins with a game in hand. They both also are in a fairly weak division, and both can collect points off the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils throughout the season. Considering the Philadelphia Flyers are for some reason high up on the other poll despite a 5-4-1 record you have to wonder if Flyers fans are thinking they will steal one of those teams’ spots.
So what does this all mean? First thing, it means that not enough Coyotes fans voted in the poll. It should be noted that the Coyotes have only played one of the teams that were voted to make the playoffs, and it took a shootout to get the win. And while it’s still early if the Coyotes keep playing they have they should be high up in the polls.