Around the US Thanksgiving holiday every year, there is a lot of discussion surrounding the prediction of teams will qualify for the upcoming spring’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman uses a November 1st as a guideline as teams four or more points out of the playoff picture at that date typically don’t make the playoffs. A few years ago, The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell wrote that just 10% of all playoff teams are more than two points out of the playoff picture by the US holiday. Last week, Petbugs wrote a great blog using December 1st as a cutoff point to examine a team’s underlying numbers and compare it to the full season data, noting the importance of advanced metrics, namely shot attempt metrics, as a strong indicator of future playoff qualifiers early in the season. Everyone came to their conclusions using a similar, yet different date. What is the optimal date to conclude a team is likely to make the playoffs based on the current standings? There will always be outliers as the future cannot be predicted (injuries, hot/cold streaks, etc.) but answering this million dollar question can help teams know where they stand and prepare for the future accordingly.