With the ECHL Trade Deadline behind us, it is time to turn our attention to the 32-day long race for the Kelly Cup Playoffs.

Beginning today and running through the end of the regular season, we will keep you updated with who has clinched playoff berths, division titles and has home-ice cinched up for the opening round.

For those new to hockey and not sure of how the magic numbers work, they represent the number of “points” needed to clinch. Of which these can be garnered in any combination. The ultimate is a win by a team in front combined with a regulation loss by a team behind. That gains 4 points for the team ahead. Combinations of wins/losses can result in 4, 3, 2, 1, or no points gained.

Win – Regulation Loss:  4 point gain
Win – OT/SO Loss: 3 point gain
Win – Win: 2 point gain
OT/SO Loss – Regulation Loss: 1 point gain
Anything else is 0 points gained.

Before we start, huge thanks to our statistician Joe Alsman for putting together the magic number tables for us. Joe provides our team with a wealth of statistical information during the season and it’s great to have him as part of Team Sin Bin.

Let’s start first in the Eastern Conference:

  • In the North Division, Reading now has a scant one-point lead over Brampton & Manchester in the race for the division title.
  • Adirondack holds an eight-point lead over the Wheeling Nailers in the race for fourth in the North.
  • Florida’s magic number remains at 10 after a 5-2 loss to the Greenville Swamp Rabbits and Cincinnati 5-2 win over Idaho Friday night.
  • Cincinnati holds a three-point lead over South Carolina in the race for fourth in the South.
  • Norfolk and Elmira have been eliminated from playoff contention in the Eastern Conference.

In the Western Conference:

  • In the Central Division, Toledo was the first ECHL team to clinch a playoff berth last weekend, by virtue of a win and Tulsa shootout loss to Wichita. As we have seen in the last several years, clinching first does not equate to a deep playoff run, with only one team making it to the Kelly Cup Finals:
    YEAR TEAM RESULT
    2008 Texas Wildcatters Lost in South Div. Finals
    2009 Florida Everblades Lost in South Div. Finals
    2010 Idaho Steelheads Lost in Kelly Cup Finals
    2011 Las Vegas Wranglers Lost in West Conf QF
    2012 Alaska Aces Lost in West Conf Finals
    2013 Ontario Reign Lost in West Conf Semis
    2014 Reading Royals Lost in East Conf QF
    2015 Toledo Walleye
    Fort Wayne Komets
    TOL lost in East Conf Finals
    FW lost in North Div Finals
    2016 Missouri Mavericks Lost in Central Div Finals
    2017 Toledo Walleye ???
  • Fort Wayne is the next closest to clinching a playoff berth in the division, with a magic number of three. The Komets play Indy tonight, and cannot clinch a playoff berth because Tulsa is idle tonight. That means Sunday will be the earliest the Komets can punch their ticket to the 2017 Kelly Cup Playoffs.
  • Quad City lowered their magic number to 12, while Kalamazoo lowered their magic number to 15 with wins Friday night. The two teams remain three points separated in the race for the 3 & 4 spots in the Central Division.
  • In the Mountain Division, another Allen win over Missouri coupled with the Colorado Eagles being idle means the Americans are now within four points of the Eagles for the division lead.
  • With Missouri’s loss, Colorado’s magic number for clinching a playoff berth is down to 5, while Allen’s is at 11.
  • Alaska holds a three-point lead on Utah and Missouri in the race for the fourth playoff spot in the division.
  • Indy and Wichita have been eliminated from playoff contention in the Western Conference

Here is the playoff bracket, if it were to start today:

The Race for the Brabham Cup:

It is a slobber knocker in the race for the regular season title. Colorado & Toledo are tied with 85 points each, while Florida and Allen each lurk four points back. If you’re handicapping this race, look no further than the number of games played. Colorado and Allen each have played 60 games, while Toledo has played 58 and Florida 57.

The importance of winning the Brabham Cup is that it gives the winner home-ice advantage throughout every round of the playoffs for as long as they are in.

Looking back to 2006-07, the winners of the Brabham Cup have gone on to win the Kelly Cup three times.

YEAR TEAM PLAYOFF RESULT
2006-07 Las Vegas Wranglers Lost in Conference Semis to Idaho
2007-08 Cincinnati Cyclones WON KELLY CUP
2008-09 Florida Everblades Lost in South Division Finals to SC
2009-10 Idaho Steelheads Lost in Kelly Cup Finals to Cincinnati
2010-11 Alaska Aces WON KELLY CUP
2011-12 Alaska Aces Lost in Conference Finals to Las Vegas
2012-13 Alaska Aces Lost in Conference Semis to Stockton
2013-14 Alaska Aces WON KELLY CUP
2014-15 Toledo Walleye Lost in Conference Finals to SC
2015-16 Missouri Mavericks Lost in Conference Semis to Allen
2016-17 ??? ???

There is still a lot to be decided over the next 32 days of the ECHL regular season. We will be here to break it all down for you as it happens!

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