For the third time in the six years I've been calculating the total distance traveled by NHL teams during the upcoming season, the San Jose Sharks will log the most mileage in the league, with over 57,000 miles ahead of them on the 2013-14 NHL schedule.
Below you'll find the total travel mileage and number of times each NHL team plays games on back-to-back nights for the upcoming season, along with the two previous full seasons (2011-12 and 2010-11) for a point of comparison. To go even farther back, check out this post from our archives, which contains data going back to the 2008-9. You should be able to click the column headings and this table will re-sort itself automagically:
|Team||2013-14 Miles||2013-14 B-to-B||2011-12 Miles||2011-12 B-to-B||2010-11 Miles||2010-11 B-to-B|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||36,597||17||42,831||16||44,600||18|
|Detroit Red Wings||35,324||15||42,865||14||39,793||14|
|Los Angeles Kings||48,432||14||55,591||15||40,430||13|
|New Jersey Devils||33,151||22||28,597||15||27,152||20|
|New York Islanders||29,933||18||32,410||13||28,210||20|
|New York Rangers||29,839||13||36,385||14||29,355||18|
|San Jose Sharks||57,612||10||43,994||14||56,254||14|
|St. Louis Blues||39,328||13||38,781||17||41,473||17|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||43,102||12||43,717||10||40,522||17|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||35,975||16||32,239||17||33,470||14|
NOTE: The number of back-to-back games for the previous seasons was initially shown incorrectly here, the values have been updated on July 24th. - Dirk
In addition to the totals available here, there is more detailed information which I've published as a Google Spreadsheet, with game-by-game data which includes the distance traveled from one game to the next, along with team-level statistics for that night's opponent, to facilitate a very basic kind of strength-of-schedule analysis if you wish to perform one.
A few interesting tidbits from this year's data:
- While the Sharks may be jet-setting across North America this season, at least they'll have the fewest sets of games on back-to-back nights (10), along with other major traveling teams Winnipeg & Colorado. In an interesting balancing act, most of the teams with a high amount of travel mileage benefit from having fewer back-to-backs.
- The Detroit Red Wings should be thrilled with their move to the Eastern Conference, as they can look forward to the easiest schedule they've ever had in the six years I've been compiling this.
- The cushiest schedule by far goes to the New York Rangers, who not only travel the least but also have very few (13) back-to-back sets of games. So quit your complaining, Larry Brooks, the Blueshirts actually traveled further in many previous seasons, thanks in part to those European openers in which the Rangers were regular participants.
- While the new divisional alignment & schedule ensures that each team travels to every other NHL city, the average miles traveled by team is pretty much in line with the two previous full seasons. Again, there are no European openers this season, a minor factor reducing overall travel mileage.
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