What Can The Past Of The NHL Premiere Series Tell Us?

MANNHEIM, GERMANY - OCTOBER 04: Ronny Arendt of Mannheim challenges Tyler Ennis of Buffalo during the NHL Pre-Season match between Buffalo Sabres and Adler Mannheim at SAP Arena on October 4, 2011 in Mannheim, Germany. (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)

The last three NHL Premiere series have featured the eventual Stanley Cup Champion. They have also featured seven teams that eventually did not make the playoffs. Is there a correlation between how the teams start the season in Europe and how they finish the season though? Below is a chart of the 16 teams that have played in Europe since the Premiere series started and how they finished the season:

Record in Premiere Series Record In Next 10 Record For Season Finished
2007 Anaheim 1-1 3-6-1 47-27-8 4th in West
2007 Los Angeles 1-1 5-5 32-43-7 15th in West
2008 Ottawa 1-0-1 4-5-1 36-35-11 11th in East
2008 Pittsburgh 1-1 5-3-2 45-28-9 4th in East
2008 New York Rangers 2-0 7-2-1 43-30-9 7th in East
2008 Tampa Bay 0-2 4-2-4 24-40-18 14th in East
2009 Detroit 0-2 5-2-3 44-24-14 5th in West
2009 Florida 1-1 3-6-1 32-27-13 14th in East
2009 St. Louis 2-0 3-6-1 40-32-10 10th in West
2010 Carolina 2-0 4-6 40-31-11 9th in East
2010 Minnesota 0-1-1 6-3-1 39-35-8 12th in West
2010 Columbus 1-1 6-3-1 34-35-13 13th in West
2010 Boston 1-1 7-2-1 46-25-11 3rd in East
2010 Phoenix 1-1 3-4-3 43-26-13 6th in West
2009 Chicago 1-0-1 6-4 52-22-8 2nd in West
2010 San Jose 1-0-1 5-5 48-25-9 2nd in West

Following the jump, some analysis and what we should reasonably expect out of the first two Sabres games.

Some interesting things that the data shows

- The three Stanley Cup Champions have each lost one of the two European games in their two games in Europe with only the Chicago Blackhawks picking up points in both games. In the next ten games though, the teams picked up points in at least six of those games. 

- Only two teams have lost both games, the 2008 Tampa Bay Lightning and the 2009 Detroit Red Wings. The Red Wings went 5-2-3 in their next 10 games back in North America and made the playoffs while Tampa went 4-2-4 on their way to finishing 14th in the conference. 

- Seven teams have a losing record in the next 10 games back from Europe and only two of those teams went on to make the playoffs, the 2007 Anaheim Ducks and 2010 Phoenix Coyotes

- 2011 is the first year that teams are traveling to two different locations to play their games. This is also the first year that teams are playing different opponents in those games as well. 

The Sabres are embarking on a first for the team and if they want to claim the trip as a success for the season, they should take at least one of the games in Europe as well.  

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