Revisiting preseason predictions
Always a scary headline.
Well, every year, I make preseason predictions, despite the fact the NHL's incredibly difficult to call, and every year, there are some ugly, ugly picks.
This time around?
I had Boston in last in the East. (They're a playoff team.)
How about Montreal to finish in 13th? (They won the Eastern Conference.)
And Buffalo to finish fourth. (Nope, they're done.)
Ottawa at first in the East. (Seventh!)
Toronto in the playoffs! (12th.)
Atlanta, too. (14th.)
And, finally, Florida winning the Southeast Division. (I'm taking the medication again.)
In fact, all of my awful picks were in the Eastern Conference, which I felt going in was a crapshoot. On the flipside, I had all eight Western Conference playoff teams correct.
But kudos to Montreal and Boston, who really exceeded everyone's expectations.
Even with all that nonsense, somehow it appears my picks ranked the best according to a look over at Hockey Numbers. In total, I was 90 off, which given there are 30 teams, means three spots in the wrong direction on average.
That's what passes for good picking in the NHL.
Direct hits (within one or two spots)
Detroit, San Jose and Minnesota at 1-2-3: I was the only one to pick the Wild to win the Northwest
Dallas in 4th: Most had them as a low playoff seed
Calgary in 6th: The Flames fell to 7th on the final day
Colorado in 8th: Close given they're narrowly in 6th
Vancouver in 9th: I was the only picker to have them missing the postseason
Edmonton in 11th: The buggers hopped all the way to 9th
Columbus in 13th: Bang on
Penguins in 2nd: A no-brainer
New Jersey in 4th, Rangers in 6th, Isles in 12th: No one liked the Devils this high going in
Carolina in 10th: But close to a division winner
Tampa Bay in 14th: Probably my best pick this year
The other picklists that turned out okay ended up being McKeen's Hockey and "public opinion," which came out of two polls I ran in preseason. Readers, in other words, beat the majority of the experts.
Finally, addressing one more miss, I said this about Phoenix in October: "This is hockey's worst roster since Dick Tarnstrom led the Penguins in scoring in 2003-04, and will be one of the worst teams on the ice in the past decade. It's a tanking of the first order, one where Shane Doan is the only player who had more than 33 points last season. This team won't win 20 games this season."
They won 38.
My apologies, Mr. Gretzky: Enjoy picking eighth instead of Steve Stamkos.
Playoff predictions will be up Tuesday night.