Playoff time is upon us, and with that comes usually wrong predictions. Below are the staff picks for:
-Eastern Conference Champion
-Western Conference Champion
-Stanley Cup Champion
-Number of Games in the Stanley Cup Final
-Conn Smythe Winner
Pension Plan Puppets compiled the opinions of eight of its "experts," and one equally competent expert in the form of a flipped coin. PPP staff used their expertise and judgment to determine who would advance and ultimately win it all.
Then there’s the coin. Last night, I flipped a coin to determine the outcome of every postseason series. Heads meant the high seed advanced; tails meant the low seed advanced. For the number of games, I flipped the coin twice, with heads representing the higher quantity of games and tails lower. For the Conn Smythe winner, I simply used the winning team’s leading scorer.
Are we smarter than a coin? Let’s find out.
Eastern Conference Champion
A majority of the panellists like the Pittsburgh Penguins to emerge victorious from the East, with five of nine members of the panel choosing the Pens. The front-runner Capitals also received some love from the panel, receiving two votes. The Tampa Bay Lightning also received two votes, but one was our resident Bolts fan and the other was the coin, so take that how you will.
Western Conference Champion
With a much deeper Western Conference bracket, it is unsurprising the panel didn’t reach a majority here. The only real surprise was that there were zero votes for the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks to make a repeat return to the Stanley Cup Final.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Since I know you’ll ask: no, the coin did not pick San Jose. One of our actual panellists took the Sharks as a sleeper pick.)
Stanley Cup Champion
There was no clear consensus choice for the Stanley Cup, which is probably a good sign for competitive balance. Three panellists chose the Pittsburgh Penguins to win it all. Two chose the Los Angeles Kings and two more chose the Washington Capitals. One panellist picked the St. Louis Blues to hoist their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. The coin likes Tampa’s odds this year.
The consensus is that the Stanley Cup Final will go six games. A couple of dissenting voters chose a five-game series. Conn Smythe selections were all over the map; only Sidney Crosby received multiple votes, with two.
The full breakdown:
|Writer||Eastern Conference Champion||Western Conference Champion||2016 Stanley Cup Champion||# of Games||2016 Conn Smythe Winner|
|Achariya||Tampa Bay Lightning||St. Louis Blues||St. Louis Blues||5||Vladimir Tarasenko, STL|
|ElSeldo||Washington Capitals||Anaheim Ducks||Washington Capitals||6||Alexander Ovechkin, WSH|
|FiftyMissionCap||Pittsburgh Penguins||Los Angeles Kings||Los Angeles Kings||6||Drew Doughty, LAK|
|Species 1967||Washington Capitals||Dallas Stars||Washington Capitals||5||Alex Ovechkin, WSH|
|KatyaKnappe||Pittsburgh Penguins||Los Angeles Kings||Pittsburgh Penguins||6||Kris Letang, PIT|
|Gunnar Carlsson||Pittsburgh Penguins||San Jose Sharks||Pittsburgh Penguins||6||Sidney Crosby, PIT|
|Scott Wheeler||Pittsburgh Penguins||St. Louis Blues||Pittsburgh Penguins||6||Sidney Crosby, PIT|
|Charlotte's Webster||Pittsburgh Penguins||Los Angeles Kings||Los Angeles Kings||6||Anze Kopitar, LAK|
|$0.25 CAD||Tampa Bay Lightning||Anaheim Ducks||Tampa Bay Lightning||6||Nikita Kucherov, TBL|