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Forecasting the 2009-10 Sabres Season

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With the release of the 2009-10 schedule today, we are allowed to forecast what should happen during the winter.  To forecast the results of next season, we take last season's goals scored/game at home and on the road and plug them into the PythagenPuck formula that the guys at Hockey Analytics have proven so well.  With thos expected winning percentages, we can then determine approximately how many points all of the teams will score and how the division and conferences should shake out.  

Looking at the 2008-09 data we can see a glimpse of who the better teams should shake out to be.  The top five expected winning percentages at home and on the road are below. 

Top Five Expected Winning Percentages at Home

Team Expected Winning Percentage
Boston .748
San Jose .720
Detroit .674
Chicago .673
New Jersey .671

Top Five Expected Winning Percentages on Road

Team Expected Winning Percentage
Boston .609
Chicago .562
Detroit .536
Carolina .528
San Jose .519

This approach has its drawbacks with the main one being the lack of movement in the rosters.  Last year's data is not going to show how much John Tavares is going to have on the Islanders this season and it reflects Hossa's numbers with the Red Wings rather than the Blackhawks.  A better approach would be to find the roster expected winning percentage which may happen as the summer approaches. 

Following the break, we take a look at what the Sabres schedule is going to look like broken down by month and how many points we expect out of them this season. 

The Sabres seem to have the same type of schedule this year as they did last year.  March and April are the hardest two months while October will be the easiest month.  The Sabres open up the season with five of their first six games at home.  Their longest home stand will be five games from December 3rd-11th.  Their longest road trip will be a seven game road trip from January 14-25th which includes the West Coast swing. 

The expected winning percentages by month along with the average points of opponents are below:

Average Points of Opponent by Month

Month Average Points
October 83
November 95
December 95
January 86
February 100
March 92
April 94

Expected Winning Percentage by Month

Month E.W.P
October .555
November .484
December .509
January .506
February .471
March .493
April .477

This just means that the Sabres need to get off to a good start again this season before the Olympic break happens, this is the reason why February looks so hard.  The Sabres have been prone to slow starts in the past few years and it is a major reason as to why they haven't made the playoffs in the past two seasons.  The overall expected winning percentage for the Sabres is .501, which should get them pretty much the exact same record they had last season.  

Tomorrow we will take a look at the rest of the league and how the divisions and conferences will shake out.