Friday, 30 October 2020

The 2019-20 Predictions

The 2019-20 NHL season was one that likely no one could have predicted with respect to the ongoing pandemic in whose clutches we still find ourselves after 11 months. While the NHL stopped play for a few months to help curb the spread of the virus, who would have thought we'd be seeing the NHL crown a Stanley Cup champion on September 28 when training camps are usually starting? To their credit, the bubble that the NHL set up to finish the season worked as advertised as no player recorded a case of COVID-19 while in the bubble, but there were definitely some complaints about the comforts promised to the players. In other news, Seattle was made official as the Kraken will join the Pacific Division in 2021-22 and Arizona will shift to the Central Division, but we'll have to see if the pandemic bubble had any effect on The Hockey News and their predictions!

Ok, someone at THN might have been listening to my repeated complaints over the years about the cover athletes because they're back wity more Winnipeg and Vancouver! Elias Petterson and Mark Scheifele get the bump this year for the Canucks and Jets, respectively, and it's good to see that there's more blanket western Canada coverage for these covers now. Granted, there could be complaints from Edmonton that Leon Draisaitl or from Calgary that Matthew Tkachuk isn't get their push, but Calgary and Edmonton ruled these covers for a long, long time. Well done on spreading the wealth, The Hockey News.

With the divisional formats scrapped for a 24-team playoff with an added qualifying round, the scoring will change for this year's predictions. We know the top two teams from each division were placed in a group on their own to determine seeds 1-4, so we'll take the top-two teams from each divisional prediction as being those representatives for a total score of 8 points in the all-or-nothing scoring here. That leaves four seeds in each conference to be determined as playoff teams, so if a team made the qualifying round THN picks up 0.5 points. If they advanced to the Round of 16, they get another 0.5 points. That's another possible 8 points for playoff squads. Playoff wins then come into play, and that scoring will remain the same with 1 point per correct playoff win prediction for 14 points. And the Stanley Cup Final prediction scoring won't change either. When all is said and done, there's 32 possible points up for grabs.

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

QUALIFYING TEAMS

The final Eastern Conference playoff teams in 2019 in the NHL are listed. The Hockey News' predicted playoff teams are listed below the NHL teams that qualified. Teams that advanced from the qualifying stage are in capital letters in the "Remaining Team" section.
  • NHL Top Four: Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Washington, and Boston.
  • THN Top Four: Tampa Bay, Toronto, Washington, and Carolina.
THN had two of four teams right for 2/4 points.

  • NHL Remaining Teams: Pittsburgh, CAROLINA, NEW YORK ISLANDERS, Toronto, COLUMBUS, Florida, New York Rangers, and MONTREAL.

  • THN Playoff Teams: Philadelphia, Boston, Florida, and the New York Islanders.
  • Because we can't score Philadelphia or Boston in this section, THN scores 0.5 points for Florida, and 1 full point for the New York Islanders in the remaining playoff teams for a total of 1.5/4 points.

    The Western Conference follows the same scoring.
    • NHL Top Four: Vegas, Colorado, Dallas, and St. Louis.
    • THN Top Four: Nashville, Colorado, Calgary, and Vegas.
    THN had two of four teams right for 2/4 points.

  • NHL Remaining Teams: Edmonton, Nashville, VANCOUVER, CALGARY, Winnipeg, Minnesota, ARIZONA, and CHICAGO.

  • THN Playoff Teams: St. Louis, San Jose, Winnipeg, and Dallas.
  • Because we can't score St. Louis or Dallas in this section, THN scores 0.5 points for Winnipeg as their only playoff-bound team for a total of 0.5/4 points.

    PLAYOFF WINS

    Teams that advanced to the second round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Eastern Conference included Philadelphia, the New York Islanders, Tampa Bay, and Boston, meaning that THN had one correct prediction there in Tampa Bay. From those four teams, it was a Tampa Bay-New York Islanders Eastern Conference Final, and THN had Tampa right as they advanced to the Stanley Cup Final. Thanks to the Lightning, they record 3/7 points in the Eastern Conference.

    In the Western Conference, Dallas, Vegas, Colorado, and Vancouver all advanced to the second round, and THN had both Vegas and Colorado reaching that stage for 2 points. Of those four teams, Vegas and Dallas advanced to the Western Conference Final, and THN had Vegas making that stage for another point. They incorrected named Vegas as a finalist, though, so they'll finsh the Western Conference playoff picture at 3/7 points.

    STANLEY CUP WINNER

    Ryan Kennedy is back for another swing at the champion and finalist in the Stanley Cup Final, so let's see who he picked, based on the playoff results above, for The Hockey News in this year.
    • TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING WILL DEFEAT THE VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS TO WIN THE STANLEY CUP. The hockey gods are smiling on Ryan Kennedy as he correctly predicts his second Stanley Cup champion as the lead writer in this section as the Tampa Bay Lightning did win the 2020 Stanley Cup! The only problem? They needed six games to defeat the Dallas Stars - a team THN predicted would lose in the first round - to win the Stanley Cup. Ryan's choice of Tampa Bay is a good one, though, so not all is lost in this section!
    The Hockey News goes 1/2 in having the correct team win the Stanley Cup!

    The Hockey News actually might have benefitted from the playoff bubble helping their choices in a couple instances as they scored 13 out of 32 possible points for a 40.6% accuracy. While I wouldn't necessarily annoint The Hockey News as an NHL crystal ball with their predictions this season, they did score over 40% for the first time in these examinations. Finish strong, I was always told, and The Hockey News did that with their predictions in 2019-20.

    That will do it for the examinations of The Hockey News Yearbook predictions since 1995-96. While I still await the mailing of the two missing Yearbooks from my collection, it's pretty clear that THN's average of the course of 25 years seems to be around 30%. While not entirely awful, they're also not very good in picking Stanley Cup champions as that only happened three times.

    On the flip side, it's also ridiculously hard to predict the final standings before teams have played a game, assembled a final roster, gone through the rigors of an 82-game season, and dealt with injuries and trades all season long. While 30% seems pretty bad, it's actually not a bad average to have when one considers all the variables that go into a season of play for all the NHL teams.

    This was a fun look at The Hockey News and their annual predictions. I may dive into some analysis of these annual predictions at some point, but it's Halloween tomorrow so I'll have something more fun to go over in tomorrow's article. For now, feel free to check back to any of the seasons that were reviewed and see how THN did in their annual predictions!

    Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

    No comments: