Tuesday, April 12, 2011

NHL Preseason Predictions - How I Did

Since the regular season is over, I thought it would be fun to look back at my preseason predictions. My added comments are bolded - the non-bolded is what I wrote then. Have a look.

Western Conference

1. Vancouver – The best crop of forwards in the west, solid d. Luongo can have another “average” season, and they could still take this spot.
Where they ended up: 1.
I was right!

2. San Jose – Great forwards with some gas left in the tank, and two solid goaltenders. Defense shouldn’t be too big a concern with Boyle there.
Where they ended up: 2
2 for 2!

3. Chicago – Despite all the losses, they still have a great, young core. Turco can be average.
Where they ended up: 8
Okay, so they sunk more than I expected them too. They shouldn't have.
4. Detroit – One last time, the Red Wings make a push.
Where they ended up: 3
Pretty much right, except I didn't see them taking the division.

5. Los Angeles – Without that top line scorer, they remain in the middle.
Where they ended up: 7
Had Kopitar not been hurt with 7 games to go, this is probably where they would have been.
6. Phoenix – Was last year a fluke? We’ll find out.
Where they ended up: 6
Another one right.

7. St. Louis – Perpetual underachievers finally make good.
Where they ended up: 11
The one team in the conference I predicted to make the playoffs and didn't. Injuries and inconsistency killed them.
8. Nashville – Every year they look like crap on paper. Every year Barry Trotz gets them into the playoffs.
Where they ended up: 5.
I'm telling you, Barry Trotz should win Coach of the Year every year for getting this team to the playoffs.

9. Calgary – The definition of insanity is trying the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results.
Where they ended up: 10
Just wrong on the positioning.
10. Colorado – The future looks bright, but they won’t surprise anyone this year.
Where they ended up: 14
Ouch! Injuries hurt, but they shouldn't have hurt that much.

11. Anaheim – Great forwards, solid goaltending. Horrible Defense. Will have to put in 5 every night to win.
Where they ended up: 4
My biggest mistake was not believing that they could actually score every night. When they did, they won, and they did it a lot.
12. Edmonton – Great rookies, who will score highlight reel goals, but make a lot of mistakes. And what about defense and goaltending?
Where they ended up: 15
My analysis was correct - my bet on where they'd finish was wrong.
13. Minnesota – Can anyone on this team score?
Where they ended up: 12
Pretty much nailed it!
14. Dallas – Ownership issues, no improvements in the off season, the Stars continue to sink.
Where they ended up: 9
I have no idea how they came so close, but good for them.
15. Columbus – Poor Rick Nash.
Where they ended up: 13
Pretty much sums its up.
Eastern Conference

1. Washington – Built for regular season success. Can they do in the playoffs?
Where they ended up: 1
Nailed it!
2. Pittsburgh – Better defense will help them along. Malkin on the wing gives them some support. Crosby still the best in the league.
Where they ended up: 4
With Crosby/Malkin, they would have been 2nd. Almost did it without them.
3. Boston – They underachieved last year. They won’t this year.
Where they ended up: 3
Nailed it!
4. New Jersey – Lots of great forwards, solid d, and Brodeur in net. But they are starting the year with only 11 forwards because of the salary cap.
Where they ended up: 11
Ouch. They played like the belonged in the playoffs from January on. But that godawful start killed them.
5. Philadelphia – A dysfunctional team, with goaltending issues. But still a hell of a lot of talent.
Where the ended up: 2
I was right about the team, wrong about their placement.

6. Buffalo – The best goalie in the league will help win a lot of games.
Where they Ended up: 7
Miller wasn't the best goalie in the league this year, but still they ended up about where I had them.
7. Tampa Bay – Big improvements over last year. Still an offense first team, but one that will be fun to watch.
Where they ended up: 5
I didn't think the turn around would be quite this big in one year, but I did have them in the playoffs.
8. Montreal – I think their playoff run last year was a fluke. Carey Price isn’t going to be great as the # 1. Still, they somehow sneak in.
Where they ended up: 6
I was wrong about Price.
9. Ottawa – Their time has come and gone, and they don’t seem to realize it.
Where they ended up: 13
I was right! I should have put them lower.
10. New York Rangers – Highly paid underachievers. Frolov won’t help.
Where they ended up: 8
Frolov didn't help. But they did sneak into the playoffs.
11. Toronto – Solid goaltending, great d – but can anyone other than Kessell score?
Where they ended up: 10
The goaltending was solid only when Reimer showed up. The d wasn't great. The scorers overacheived. Still, about right.
12. Carolina – Just can’t seem to get out of neutral.
Where they ended up: 9
Skinner helped a lot. Still couldn't get into the playoffs.
13. Atlanta – A team without an identity or superstar. They fall back this year.
Where they ended up: 12
Pretty much nailed it.
14. New York Islanders – Other than Tavres, what is worth watching here?
Where they ended up: 14
Moulson and Grabner were also worth watching.
15. Florida – The worst team in the league. By far.
Where they ended up: 15
So they weren't the worst in terms of points, but they were pretty damn bad.

Overall, I think I did pretty good. I did predict 14 of the 16 playoff teams (missing Anaheim and the Rangers for St. Louis and New Jersey).

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