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PPP's 2016 NHL Postseason Predictions

Are we smarter than a coin?

Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

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.

The leading choice was the Los Angeles Kings, with three votes. Other vote-getters were the Anaheim Ducks (2), St. Louis Blues (2), Dallas Stars (1), and San Jose Sharks (1).

(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