Anaheim Ducks lived up to expectations this season, but can they keep it up?

Earlier this season, I wrote about the NHL’s most overrated and underrated teams when measured in terms of market performance.




What exactly does that mean? Rather than look at conventional stats or rely on eye tests, I wanted to determine which teams over or under-performed based on people’s opinions of them. Here’s how I went about it, using oddsmakers’ lines.

THE SYSTEM

One reason I like to look at sports betting markets for this kind of thing is that, to a certain extent, they are quantifying fans and bookmakers’ opinions of teams’ abilities. Lines move around as teams go through ups and downs or sustain injuries, and near the end of the season you can start to get a sense of which teams have under or over-performed relative to those opinions.

Over the past few days I used oddsmakers lines and theoretical betting units of $100 to determine NHL teams’ performance to determine the most overrated and underrated teams in the league so far this season. Here’s how it works:

$100 winning bet on a +150 underdog returns $150
$100 losing bet on +150 underdog returns -$100
$150 winning bet on a -150 favourite returns $100
$150 losing bet on -150 favourite returns -$150

So let’s think of it like this: if you’d bought stock in a hot pre-season team, say, the Nashville Predators, all season, how would it look today?

When I did the numbers back in March, the Colorado Avalanche were, by this measure, the most overrated team in the league. “Overrated? But we knew they were trash!” you might be saying aloud. Well, yes, they were trash, but the numbers bore out an even scarier fact: not only were they trash, they were so trash that they failed to even come close to people’s already low expectations for them.

So, how did the Ducks measure up to our expectations for them?

THE RESULTS

Pretty well, actually! The Ducks hovered around the even mark most of the season, which is what you’d expect if the team were around what we thought they should be – a solid Western Conference contender that improved as the playoffs approached. The question is, can it continue?

WHAT’S NEXT

The Ducks, by dint of their long-term success and a solid lineup, won’t get a free pass from oddsmakers and, given their long playoff run, they might have to overcome even more oppressive odds next season. That could theoretically push them below water next season, but there are reasons to be positive: their No. 1 goalie, John Gibson, posted a .924 save percentage as a 23-year-old, which is pretty impressive. Given he put up a .920 the season before, you have to like the way this is trending.

The Ducks also have a really nice, young D corps that should put them in good shape for years to come. Between the established guys and the prospects in the system, it’d be shocking to see any kind of a drop off on the back end.

If I were looking for an area of concern, however, it would be at forward. Although Ryan Getzlaf (32), Ryan Kesler (33 at the start of next season) and Corey Perry (32) are far from grizzled, each plays a heavy game and you have to wonder when a slowdown or injuries might catch up with them.




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