So here is the quick NHL '15 season prediction by the engine that runs the game internally. EA Sports published this to YouTube, so it's now public record. That means diddly-squat in the real world, but hockey fanatics should take note. Ready? Let's roll the tape.
Ok, so you probably noticed that the same crew of teams will make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference with the exception of the Maple Leafs. They'll take the Red Wings' spot. The playoff matchups in the opening round would feature Boston-Toronto and Tampa Bay-Montreal in the Atlantic Division, and Pittsburgh-Columbus and New York-Philadelphia in the Metropolitan Division. Seems a little familiar, right?
The Western Conference playoff picture would see Chicago-Dallas and St. Louis-Colorado in the Central Division in the opening round while Anaheim-Vancouver and Los Angeles-San Jose would round out the Pacific Division. Vancouver replaced Minnesota in the Western Conference, and there is a bit of a shakeup in the Central Division amongst the teams. However, the normal LA-San Jose battle would ensue once more.
Other notes? Calgary earns a league-worst 64 points, finishing 18 points behind Winnipeg. I'm not sure there's that much of a gap in between those two teams in real-life, but EA Sports says there is. Ottawa is the worst team in the Eastern Conference, finishing with 71 points, six points worse than Buffalo and seven behind Florida. The New York Islanders miss the playoffs by a single point while Detroit misses by three points. EA Sports obviously didn't take Jordan Staal's injury into account in their simulation as Carolina misses the playoffs by three points as well. Washington also misses the playoffs which may surprise some. The Western Conference standings make it seem as though there will be thirteen teams vying for a playoff spot until the last couple of weeks of the season.
EA Sports doesn't show you how the rounds play out, but they do show both the Eastern and Western Conference Finals. In the Eastern Conference, Boston defeats the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 in their series, meaning that Pittsburgh and Toronto were both first-round ousts in the east. In the Western Conference, Los Angeles and Chicago meet yet again for the right to move onto the Stanley Cup Final, and, like last season, the Kings down the Blackhawks 4-3 in their series. This, of course, means that Dallas and San Jose were both sent packing in the first-round as well.
As for your award winners as predicted by EA Sports, Carey Price will win the Vezina Trophy, Patrick Kane shows off his best behavior in winning the Lady Byng Trophy with a mere four penalty minutes, Sidney Crosby opens up another wing on his house to house the Art Ross, Hart, Rocket Richard, and Ted Lindsay Trophies, and Anze Kopitar picks up the Selke and Conn Smythe Trophies.
And the Stanley Cup winners? Repeating as champions will be the Los Angeles Kings after a 4-2 series win over the Bruins.
Those are the predictions made by a machine using some sort of engine to power the game in simulation. Do you agree with EA Sports' predictions? Do you disagree? Sound off in the comments with your predictions!
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!