The odds of a #8 beating a #1 in NHL playoffs

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(Dikembe Mutombo knows upsets.)
One of my biggest criticisms of the NBA is that the league is too predictable. Sure, there’s the occasional Golden State Warriors shocking the Dallas Mavericks/Dikembe Mutombo joyously celebrating an upset of the Seattle Supersonics, but really the big dogs almost always win. That’s one of the great things about the NHL; the underdogs can win with the right amount of efforts, goaltending and bounces.

Just look at last playoffs when the eighth seed Anaheim Ducks beat the top seed San Jose Sharks. Here is the history of No. 8 teams beating No. 1’s according to NHL.com.

Since the NHL switched the current playoff format in 1994 — seeding teams 1-8 in a conference format — the No. 8 seed has upset the No. 1 seed eight times out of 30 instances (26.7 percent).

Want to know every team that’s done it? NHL.com has that for you too. They’re nice.

1994 — San Jose (8) won best-of-seven series 4-3 over Detroit (1)
1995 — N.Y. Rangers (8) won best-of-seven series 4-2 over Quebec (1)
1998 — Ottawa (8) won best-of-seven series 4-2 over New Jersey (1)
1999 — Pittsburgh (8) won best-of-seven series 4-3 over New Jersey (1)
2000 — San Jose (8) won best-of-seven series 4-3 over St. Louis (1)
2002 — Montreal (8) won best-of-seven series 4-2 over Boston (1)
2006 — Edmonton (8) won best-of-seven series 4-2 over Detroit (1)
2009 — Anaheim (8) won best-of-seven series 4-2 over San Jose (1)
All are conference quarterfinal series

One bit of bad news for hopeful Montreal Canadiens fans, though: only the 2006 Edmonton Oilers really did much after the first round. Still, right now it’s all about squeezing one more win out of a series that often has been a mismatch.

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    Leafs avoid arbitration again, sign Corrado to one year, $600K deal

    VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 13: Frank Corrado #20 of the Toronto Maple Leafs shoots the puck in NHL action against the Vancouver Canucks on February, 13, 2016 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
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    Over the weekend, reports suggested that Toronto and RFA blueliner Frank Corrado were close to agreeing to a new contract.

    On Monday, the two sides sealed the deal.

    The Leafs announced they signed Corrado to a one-year contract, with Sportsnet reporting it to be a $600,00 pact, of the one-way variety.

    Corrado, 23, was scheduled to go to arbitration tomorrow. His ask was $900,000, while the Leafs countered with a $625,000 figure on a two-way deal, and $575,000 on a one-way.

    So Toronto was nearly spot-on with its valuation.

    The former Canucks draftee took a while to make his Leafs debut last season — he sat 28 games after they claimed him off waivers — but when he did get into the lineup, he fared reasonably well. Corrado finished with a goal and six points in 39 games, averaging 14:27 TOI per game.

    This marks the second player Toronto avoided going to arbitration with. Prior to signing Corrado, the Leafs inked center Peter Holland to a one-year, $1.3 million deal.

    Flyers need Schenn to build on career year

    PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Brayden Schenn #10 of the Philadelphia Flyers celebrates his goal in the second period against the New York Rangers on April 7, 2015 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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    The Philadelphia Flyers are hoping Brayden Schenn hasn’t finished improving. The former fifth overall draft pick signed a four-year, $20.5 million contract today, after posting career highs in goals (26) and assists (33) in 2015-16.

    It took a few years for Schenn, 24, to start justifying his draft position. John Tavares, Victor Hedman, Matt Duchene, and Evander Kane were selected with the first four picks that year. Oliver Ekman-Larsson was taken sixth overall.

    So there was pressure.

    “I think sometimes when you draft a player top five you tend to think he’s going to develop a little quicker than other guys,” Flyers GM Ron Hextall said Monday, per Flyzette. “When you look at Brayden, has he been a fast developer? I would say probably no. Has he been a slow developer? I would say probably no. He’s probably been average.

    “The good thing is he’s gotten better every year and he’s a hard worker. He’s starting to figure out the intricacies of the game. He obviously had his best year to this point so hopefully he continues to build on that.”

    Hextall reportedly danced around a question about Schenn being part of the “core” group, so there’s still some proving to be done. The Flyers have already committed long-term to forwards Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, and Sean Couturier. Wayne Simmonds and Michael Raffl have three years left on their deals, and Dale Weise signed a four-year agreement on July 1.

    As for Schenn, he knows he needs to justify the Flyers’ trust in his ongoing development.

    “I feel like I keep getting better and better,” he said. “I expect nothing else next year.”

    Report: If the Sabres can sign Vesey, they could be more willing to trade Kane

    MONTREAL, QC - FEBRUARY 03:  Evander Kane #9 of the Buffalo Sabres speaks with referee Kevin Pollock #33 during the NHL game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre on February 3, 2016 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Buffalo Sabres defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-2.  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
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    If the Buffalo Sabres can sign Jimmy Vesey, they may be more willing to trade winger Evander Kane.

    That’s what TSN 1040 (Vancouver) radio host Matt Sekeres has been hearing, and what he’s hearing does make a lot of sense.

    Kane, whose off-ice issues are once again making headlines, has two years left on his contract before he can become an unrestricted free agent. He plays the same position as Vesey, 23, who’s currently Buffalo property but can sign with any team he chooses on Aug. 15.

    Even if the Sabres can’t convince Vesey to join them, Kane could still be traded. GM Tim Murray has already conceded that his patience is wearing thin with the 24-year-old that he acquired from Winnipeg not long ago. Alex Nylander, drafted eighth overall in June, plays the same position as Kane, and Murray has said it’s possible the teenager could make the jump to the NHL next season.

    Buffalo, Boston and Toronto have generally been considered the favorites to land Vesey. Chicago and Pittsburgh have also been mentioned.

    Related: Cue the Kane-to-Vancouver speculation

    Leafs avoid arbitration with Peter Holland

    TORONTO, ON - APRIL 11: Peter Holland #24 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates up the ice during NHL action against the Montreal Canadiens at the Air Canada Centre April 11, 2015 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
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    The Toronto Maple Leafs won’t require arbitration with forward Peter Holland. They’ve signed the 25-year-old to a one-year deal worth a reported $1.3 million.

    Holland had a hearing scheduled for today. Last week, the Leafs sent a message by putting him on waivers, which he cleared.

    Holland had nine goals and 18 assists in 65 games last season. With him signed, the Leafs have only defensemen Frank Corrado and Martin Marincin as restricted free agents. Corrado has an arbitration hearing scheduled for tomorrow; Marincin’s is next Tuesday.

    Related: Corrado and Leafs aren’t that far apart