stanleycupJust how hot is the Minnesota Wild right now?

Well, the squad gone from a 9.3 percent chance of making the playoffs at the all-star break, based on Hockey Reference’s projections, to a 100 percent chance now of making the playoffs (even though the clinch is not yet official).

But perhaps more interestingly and impressively: the site gives the Wild the second-best chance of winning the Stanley Cup of any team in the Western Conference, and the fourth-best chance of winning it all among NHL teams.

The breakdown in terms of percent chance:

New York Rangers (tonight’s opponent): 11.7 percent chance to win the Cup.

Tampa Bay Lightning (Phil Hughes’ favorite team, and a Wild/Bolts final would probably cause him to miss several starts because his nails would be bitten off): 9.3 percent.

Chicago Blackhawks (A team the Wild could face in the first round of the playoffs): 8.4 percent.

Wild (hottest team in hockey since the break): 7.9 percent.

Interestingly, that puts Minnesota and Chicago ahead of fellow Central Division foes Nashville (6.5) and St. Louis (7.2), though it does speak to the overall strength of that division.

The projections are based on current standing and 1,000 simulations of the rest of the season. That’s not as fun as actual playoff hockey, but it is something to think about going forward.

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