Who will hit the road the most?
On a day with not much else going on, here’s something interesting. The website ontheforecheck.com did an analysis of the 2012-13 schedule and calculated how many miles each NHL team will travel next season. The Kings, per the website’s calculations, will travel a total of 45,152 miles next season, which is the 10th-most among all teams. The Dallas Stars log the highest total (49,851), followed by the Florida Panthers (48,880) and the Winnipeg Jets (47,876). The fewest? The Philadelphia Flyers (27,541), followed by the New York Islanders (30,072) and the Ottawa Senators (30,614).
The 12 teams with the lowest total miles are all in the Eastern time zone, and you can be certain that East Coast teams use these numbers when it comes to wooing free agents. That’s not to suggest any East Coast bias. It’s just geography. There is a big cluster of NHL teams in the Northeast, so naturally there will be less travel for those teams. The NHL’s division alignment is also a huge impediment for teams such as Dallas and Winnipeg, who have division opponents who are far away. Moreover, might the light travel end up hurting teams in the playoffs? New Jersey, for instance, didn’t leave the Eastern time zone from Jan. 14 until June 3. Is it just a coincidence that when the Devils faced two cross-country flights in the Stanley Cup Finals, they lost the games that followed (Games 3 and 6)? Perhaps, but the year before, Boston went 1-3 on the road in the Finals against Vancouver, but did win Game 7.
As for the Kings, their 2012-13 miles traveled won’t be significantly different from years past. Last season was an anomaly because of the Europe trip, but in the three previous seasons, the Kings traveled 39,348, 45,682 and 44,917 miles, respectively. The full breakdown for all teams can be found by clicking here.