Wednesday, April 11, 2018

2018 Stanley Cup Playoff Predictions

Now that you've hopefully review how hopeless my preseason NHL predictions were, it's time to see how hopeless my playoff predictions are going to be. I never do well with these even though I try to use logic to make these picks, but the Stanley Cup Playoffs have no logic in them whatsoever.

I encourage you to listen to this podcast where I made my picks in audio form (you have to get through 50 or so minutes of other nonsense to get to them, but its worth it, trust me), but if you prefer the written word, and I can understand why you would, here they are:

Eastern Conference:

TB (A1) over NJ (WC2) in 4
BOS (A2) over TOR (A3) in 7
WSH (M1) over CBJ (WC1) in 6
PIT (M2) over PHI (M3) in 6

BOS (A2) over TB (A1) in 7
PIT (M2) over WSH (M1) in 6

BOS (A2) over PIT (M2) in 6

Western Conference:

NSH (C1) over COL (WC2) in 5
WPG (C2) over MIN (C3) in 6
LA (WC1) over VGK (P1) in 6
SJ (P3) over ANA (P2) in 6

NSH (C1) over WPG (C2) in 7
SJ (P3) over LA (WC1) in 6

NSH (C1) over SJ (P3) in 6

2018 Stanley Cup Final:

Nashville (C1) over Boston (A2) in 6

Conn Smythe Winner: Filip Forsberg (NSH)

Sorry to the Preds in advance, but this is a team that seems motivated and stung by what happened last year to the point where they are so loaded that it's hard to see any team stopping them over a seven game series. Winnipeg will get close, but it's the biggest challenge I believe they'll face over these two months.

People are underestimating the Bruins I think, even though they were hockey's best team for four months in spite of everyone being hurt. They have potentially the best line in the sport, a goalie who can get hot and young players who are in the prime position to get hot. It would be nice if Rick Nash played decently in the playoffs once in his career, but he's not the focal point for the Bruins. Some of these young players already tasted a playoff sting last year, which should help them in their big challenges ahead in the East.

But Nashville has just enough to overcome Boston in the Final and hoist the Cup, and since they are the deepest team, they deserve to win. Rarely does that mean they actually do, especially since winning the President's Trophy is often a guaranteed jinx, but something tells me this Preds team is different.

Watch me be 100% wrong again though.

How Did I Do: 2017-18 NHL Season Predictions Reviewed

In an effort to post #content to this website without exerting much effort, it's time to review what turned out to be terrible preseason NHL predictions. Making predictions is an inherently worthless but somehow still necessary enterprise in the world of sports, making reviewing them even more worthless, but sometimes I like to see how wrong I was. Speaking of... (predictions first, actual standings in parentheses).

Metro Division:

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

Atlantic Division:

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

Central Division:

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

Pacific Division:

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

Five correct playoff teams in the East for me and four in the West. Even by my standards, that's a fairly poor hit rate. But the NHL is always upside down and topsy turvy and this year was no different. There are seven new playoff teams this year, as it seems there are every year, though some are more surprising than others, of course (hi Colorado and New Jersey). My Conference Finals were Tampa over Pittsburgh and Edmonton over Dallas and then Tampa over Edmonton, so let's just throw those picks in the garbage and start over.

How did I do with awards?

Hart: Connor McDavid (he has a candidacy in the eyes of some but he's not winning it over a whole host of other more deserving players on actual good hockey teams)
Art Ross: Connor McDavid (Bingo!)
Calder: Alex DeBrincat (he was good, but nowhere near as good as Barzal, McAvoy, Luc-Dubois, etc.)
Norris: Victor Hedman (he has a great chance if he can get by someone from Nashville first)
Vezina: Matt Murray (no way. Injuries and absences hurt his form. Rinne, Vasilevsky or maybe John Gibson)
Jack Adams: Mike Babcock (Gerard Gallant won this award in November)
First Coach Fired: Paul Maurice (October Matt thought coaches would get fired. That's funny).

So most of my October hockey predictions were in fact garbage. Par for the course. Are my playoff predictions going to be better? I hope so.