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NHL FanPulse results: Blue Jackets improve in playoff predictions

Well, at least they’re not the most popular pick to miss anymore

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Columbus Blue Jackets v Vegas Golden Knights Photo by Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images

Thanks to everyone who has participated in the SB Nation NHL FanPulse so far. If you haven’t signed up yet, it’s not too late! Click here and you’ll get an email next Wednesday with a new set of questions.

In this week’s FanPulse poll, hockey fans revisited the very first poll from the season, asking which two playoff teams from last season will miss this year. Here are the results:

A graphic showing the results of the latest NHL FanPulse poll, showing the Sharks, Blue Jackets, Predators, Flames and Jets in that order.

OK, so the Blue Jackets are still near the top of the poll, garnering 48.23 percent of the vote. That’s probably fair, considering it’s taken a Herculean effort over the last month or so to put them in their current position of tied with Philadelphia for a wild card spot (for what it’s worth, Moneypuck has their chances a little above 50 percent). They also play in a tough division with five (!) teams above them and are still missing some key players to injury, including top-six forwards like Cam Atkinson, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Josh Anderson—not to mention starting goaltender and All-Star Game selection Joonas Korpisalo.

But consider the first poll, published on October 31:

A graphic showing the results of an October 31 NHL FanPulse poll, with the Blue Jackets, Islanders, Jets, Stars and Sharks (in order) as the teams most likely to miss the playoffs after making it last year.

The Blue Jackets ran away with the first-ever FanPulse question, pulling in 61.18 percent ahead of the New York Islanders’ 31.58 percent marker. FanPulse voters (and most everybody else in the hockey world) figured the offseason’s exodus of talent would prove too much for the CBJ to overcome.

It’s great to see the improvement from Halloween and a testament to the Blue Jackets defying expectations (and digging themselves out of the tough hole they made early in the season). The goaltending and defense has held up its end of the bargain, and the forwards are doing enough to win games.

Also, sorry, Sharks.

Specifically, here are the numbers from today’s poll results:

Which two teams that made the 2018-19 NHL Playoffs will miss the 2019-20 postseason?

Team Pct. of Vote
Team Pct. of Vote
San Jose Sharks 66.19%
Columbus Blue Jackets 48.23%
Nashville Predators 43.38%
Calgary Flames 11.27%
Winnipeg Jets 8.65%
Dallas Stars 4.85%
Toronto Maple Leafs 3.93%
Pittsburgh Penguins 3.15%
Carolina Hurricanes 3.01%
New York Islanders 2.62%
Vegas Golden Knights 2.10%
Tampa Bay Lightning 1.05%
Colorado Avalanche 0.66%
Washington Capitals 0.39%
Boston Bruins 0.26%
St. Louis Blues 0.26%

The Blue Jackets, bolstered by a strong corps of call-ups from Cleveland, are playing the way they need to and earning points consistently. Hockey fans have taken notice. Head coach John Tortorella deserves credit as well, shaping this team into a forechecking monster that limits opponent shot quality and has steamrolled its way into 2020.

We talked about playoff prospect on yesterday’s Cannon Cast. It wasn’t too long ago that we thought the CBJ had missed their shot at the postseason. Call up the kids, see what’s on the farm, let guys heal, some of us thought. Turns out, those kids (and Nathan Gerbe) have been a key part of this turnaround’s catalyst.

The early-season stumble could still cost them, but it’s remarkable what they’ve been able to do since November—and there’s still a ton of the season left. It’s also been fun.

The NHL FanPulse poll also revisited the other end of the playoff team topic: which team missed last postseason that will make it in?

A graphic showing an NHL FanPulse poll showing the Coyotes, Oilers, Flyers, Panthers and Canucks as the top teams fans feel will make the playoffs.

Arizona leads with 67.10 percent of the vote, which is amazing considering they didn’t even crack the top five in October. Check out the full breakdown:

Which two teams that missed the 2018-19 NHL Playoffs will make an appearance in the 2019-20 postseason?

Team Pct. of Vote
Team Pct. of Vote
Arizona Coyotes 67.10%
Edmonton Oilers 40.76%
Philadelphia Flyers 30.41%
Florida Panthers 20.31%
Vancouver Canucks 19.53%
Buffalo Sabres 7.86%
Montreal Canadiens 3.67%
New York Rangers 3.67%
Minnesota Wild 3.67%
Chicago Blackhawks 1.70%
Anaheim Ducks 0.52%
Ottawa Senators 0.39%
New Jersey Devils 0.26%
Los Angeles Kings 0.13%
Detroit Red Wings 0.00%

The Flyers, Oilers and Panthers all stuck around from October, to varying degrees of success. An ideal scenario to readers of this blog would be the Blue Jackets knocking the Flyers out of contention, countering both of their spots on their respective polls.

There you have it. The Blue Jackets have played more than 30 games since the first poll came out, clawing their way out of the basement and bettering their position in NHL fans’ minds. It still isn’t great, but it’s a heck of a lot better than it used to be.

What do you think? Does one or two of those other teams have a better chance at missing the playoffs than Columbus? And a reminder: if you want to participate in these NHL FanPulse polls, all you have to do is sign up!