Wednesday, 28 October 2020

The 2018-19 Predictions

If the 2017-18 season had taught us anything about the NHL, it's that even the castoff players from all 30 NHL teams can come together and do something pretty special as we witnessed the Golden Knights march to the final before finally falling to the Washington Capitals. It's no surprise that, with 31 teams and the league having an odd number of squads when it came to scheduling, that expansion was back in focus as the worst-kept secret in hockey was being kicked around in terms of Seattle joining the NHL as the 32nd club in the near future. The Oilers and Devils started the season in Sweden while the Panthers and Jets tangled in Finland to open the campaign, but there were no major rule changes this season to which teams needed to adjust. 31 teams opened the campaign, a 32nd would be added, and The Hockey News made some bold predictions. Let's check them out!

Do mine eyes deceive me? Neither the Flames nor the Oilers are on the front cover of the The Hockey News Yearbook this year as we have two completely new teams represented on the front! You'll likely recognize Patrik Laine of the Winnipeg Jets in the foreground while Brock Boeser of the Vancouver Canucks is behind him. These are the first images of any Winnipeg Jets player or Vancouver Canucks player on any cover since I started this examination! I'd give THN credit, but once is a coincidence. Let's see how next season's Yearbook plays out as well.

Divisional standings are still in play, so we'll do another year of all-or-nothing for placement within those standings - either you're right or wrong here, THN - for a total of 31 points. Playoff teams, denoted by THN, will be worth 0.5 points if they made the playoffs that season for a chance at 8 total points. In saying that, I'll also add four points for division winners and four points for the right wild card teams (assuming those teams are in the right standings positions) for 8 more points. And there will be 2 points available for the Stanley Cup champion and finalist prediction - all-or-nothing - once again.

However, The Hockey News went full playoff picture and predicted every series they guessed, so we'll add points for playoff wins. If a team made the playoffs and advanced to the second round, that would be 1 point. There are seven chances for more points in each conference, so this will add 14 more potential points to the total, bumping the overall score to 63 possible points this season.

Here are the predictions made by The Hockey News.
Click to make it larger.


The final Metropolitan Division standings in 2019 in the NHL are listed first with The Hockey News' predicted team to finish in that same spot listed second. Playoff teams are listed in capital letters for each side.
      5. COLUMBUS vs. Carolina
      6. Philadephia vs. New Jersey
      7. New York Rangers vs. New York Rangers
      8. New Jersey vs. New York Islanders
THN had two of eight teams in the right spots for 2/8 points.

The Atlantic Division follows the same scoring.
      1. TAMPA BAY (NHL) vs. TAMPA BAY (THN)
      2. BOSTON vs. TORONTO
      3. TORONTO vs. BOSTON
      4. Montreal vs. FLORIDA
      5. Florida vs. Buffalo
      6. Buffalo vs. Montreal
      7. Detroit vs. Detroit
      8. Ottawa vs. Ottawa
THN had three of the eight teams in the right spot for 3/8 points here. We can now see the full playoff picture, and it would appear that THN had six of eight playoff teams correctly identified for 3/4 points. They had Tampa Bay as a division winner for 1/2, but missed on both wild card teams for 0/2 there. All totaled, the Eastern Conference predictions scored THN a final score of 9/24.

The Pacific Division follows the same scoring.
      1. CALGARY (NHL) vs. CALGARY (THN)
      2. SAN JOSE vs. SAN JOSE
      3. VEGAS vs. VEGAS
      4. Arizona vs. ANAHEIM
      5. Vancouver vs. Los Angeles
      6. Anaheim vs. Edmonton
      7. Edmonton vs. Arizona
      8. Los Angeles vs. Vancouver
THN had three teams in the right spot for 3/8 points.

The Central Division follows the same scoring.
      3. ST. LOUIS vs. ST. LOUIS
      4. DALLAS vs. DALLAS
      5. COLORADO vs. Colorado
      6. Chicago vs. Minnesota
      7. Minnesota vs. Chicago
THN had three of the seven teams in the right spot for 3/7 points here. We can now see the full playoff picture, and it would appear that THN had seven of eight playoff teams correctly predicted for 3.5/4 points. They had Calgary right as a division winner for a 1/2 score, and they had Dallas as a wild card team for 1/2 there as well. All totaled, the Western Conference predictions scored THN a final score of 11.5/23.


Teams that advanced to the second round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Eastern Conference included Columbus, Boston, Carolina, and the New York Islanders, meaning that THN had one correct prediction there in Columbus. From those four teams, it was a Boston-Carolina Eastern Conference Final, so that ended the run there for THN. They record 1/7 points in the Eastern Conference.

In the Western Conference, Dallas, St. Louis, Colorado, and San Jose all advanced to the second round, and THN had just San Jose reaching that stage for 1 point. Of those four teams, St. Louis and San Jose advanced to the Western Conference Final, and THN had neither of those teams advancing so they'll finsh the Western Conference playoff picture at 1/7 points.


Ryan Kennedy was tasked with the Stanley Cup prediction write-up once more, and you just had to wince at the sub-headline of "Time To Say We Told You So" when it came to these predictions. Let's see why.
  • WINNIPEG JETS WILL DEFEAT THE TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING TO WIN THE STANLEY CUP. Except they didn't as the 2019 St. Louis Blues needed all seven games to eliminate the Boston Bruins to win the Stanley Cup. THN had predicted in their "Future Watch" magazine back in 2015 - pictured in the top-left corner of the predictions page - that the Jets would be the 2019 Stanley Cup champions, so I'll give credit to The Hockey News for sticking with their bold prediction, but it was not even close to reality as the Jets lost in the opening round in six games to the eventual champions in the St. Louis Blues. Tampa Bay, for what it's worth, fell in that epic sweep at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets which shocked the entire hockey world, so neither of the predicted finalists even made it out of the first round of the playoffs. Ouch.
THN continues with their annual 0/2 score in this prediction as they missed on both finalists for the Stanley Cup.

The Hockey News was markedly better this season compared to last season as they scored 22.5 out of 63 possible points for a 35.7% accuracy. They still have not hit the 40% mark in any season, and still only have called two Stanley Cup champions right in the entire examination throughout October. "We told you so" should never been spoken again by this publication.

We'll see how future seasons play out with these predictions and if THN can continue improve next season as we move forward chronologically!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

No comments: