Tuesday, April 11, 2017

2017 Stanley Cup Playoff Predictions

I'm never good with these predictions because they always end up being wrong, but here are my 2017 Stanley Cup Playoff predictions (God help me):

Eastern Conference Playoffs:
(M1) Washington over (WC2) Toronto in 5
(M2) Pittsburgh over (M3) Columbus in 6
(WC1) New York over (A1) Montreal in 6
(A3) Boston over (A2) Ottawa in 6

(M1) Washington over (M2) Pittsburgh in 7
(WC1) New York over (A3) Boston in 6

(M1) Washington over (WC1) New York in 6

Western Conference Playoffs:
(C1) Chicago over (WC2) Nashville in 6
(C2) Minnesota over (C3) St. Louis in 6
(P1) Anaheim over (WC1) Calgary in 5
(P3) San Jose over (P2) Edmonton in 7

(C1) Chicago over (C2) Minnesota in 6
(P1) Anaheim over (P3) San Jose in 6

(P1) Anaheim over (C1) Chicago in 7

2017 Stanley Cup Final: (M1) Washington over (P1) Anaheim in 5

Conn Smythe: Alex Ovechkin.

This is the year. I can feel it. Go Caps.

2016-17 NHL Season Predictions in Review

As I tend to do with every sports league I make serious predictions for, at the start of the postseason, I enjoy taking a look back at the predictions I made so long ago, especially looking back at how wrong I was. This year had even more turnover than expected in the NHL, so the wrong predictions I made will look even worse in hindsight. So before I post my playoff predictions (which will be right on top of this post), here's a look at what I got right, and wrong, in the NHL this season:

My Metro Predictions:
1. Washington (WSH)
2. Pittsburgh (PIT)
3. Philadelphia (CBJ)
4. New York Islanders (NYR)
5. New York Rangers (NYI)
6. Carolina (PHI)
7. New Jersey (CAR)
8. Columbus (NJ)

The biggest whiff that I made, and everyone else made, was the rise of the Columbus Blue Jackets. No one had them sniffing the playoffs, let alone finishing with the fourth most points in the NHL. Torts and a cap strapped team that hadn't shown much improvement figured to be a recipe for disaster, and it wasn't. How they do in the postseason remains to be seen, but they made just a few people eat crow. We also slightly overstated the Islanders and Flyers, who both regressed after playoff appearances last year, and slightly underrated the Rangers, who had more scoring than we expected.

My Atlantic Predictions:
1. Tampa Bay (MTL)
2. Florida (OTT)
3. Montreal (BOS)
4. Boston (TOR)
5. Detroit (TB)
6. Buffalo (FLA)
7. Ottawa (DET)
8. Toronto (BUF)

Heh. This division turned out to be topsy-turvy thanks to injury, a few egomaniacal owners and some insane goaltending. Montreal rebounded to make the postseason, and so too did Boston, who I figured would be just on the outside looking in. But both Ontario teams making it is a huge shock. Ottawa may have done it with some smoke and mirrors, but the Leafs are here maybe a year ahead of schedule. They are going to be terrifying in the years ahead, though they'll be sacrificial lambs to Washington this year. Buffalo is still skidding their wheels, and the Wings finally had the bottom fall out.

My Central Predictions:
1. Nashville (CHI)
2. Dallas (MIN)
3. St. Louis (STL)
4. Chicago (NSH)
5. Minnesota (WPG)
6. Colorado (DAL)
7. Winnipeg (COL)

Nashville was still pretty good, but just not quite as good as some folks thought. Chicago, despite their roster turnover, got some amazing performances from young players to prove that they are wizards and thus, won the Central again. They may have to take a few lumps again in the playoffs, but they're still the Blackhawks. St. Louis was still solid despite firing their coach and trading away their best defenseman, and Minnesota got the Boudreau effect to somewhat overperform. Winnipeg made a late charge up the standings, while Dallas and Colorado had the bottom fall out.

1. San Jose (ANA)
2. Los Angeles (EDM)
3. Calgary (SJ)
4. Anaheim (CGY)
5. Edmonton (LA)
6. Arizona (ARZ)
7. Vancouver (VAN)

Anaheim continues to win the Pacific division despite now being coached by Randy Carlyle and somehow avoiding serious regression, which is insane to me and many others. San Jose took a slight step back, but they're still the Sharks, and scary good when healthy. I'd like to take some credit for thinking Calgary would make the playoffs, but when most people overrated LA and underrated Edmonton, that's hard to do.

Awards Predictions, with commentary:
Hart: Alex Ovechkin (Not one of his better seasons, it's probably going to be Connor)
Norris: Erik Karlsson (It's either him or Brent Burns)
Calder: Patrik Laine (In most years, he'd win it. But Auston Matthews had 40 goals in Toronto)
Vezina: Carey Price (He'll be nominated, but a certain Bob in Columbus has this on lock)
Jack Adams: Bill Peters (Torts man, Torts. Or Babcock.)
Rocket Richard: Ovi (Sid had 44)
Art Ross: Connor McDavid (Yep)

Time for some playoff predictions, so if you want 'em, look up.