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PPP judges our pre-season predictions and makes some new NHL Awards guesses

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We never learn. We’re making new predictions to be wrong about, too.

NHL: New York Rangers at Toronto Maple Leafs Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

In October, before the season began, we bravely made some predictions about a lot of things that could happen this year. If we were smart, we’d just mention casually on Twitter the things we were right about and quietly delete the post so no one could check. Instead, we’re going to look back at what we said then in a very judgey manner. Then we’re going to double down and make even more predictions.

The October predictions were made by seldo, Fulemin, Katya, Nafio, Arvind, Kevin and Janik.

Standings

Nafio and Arvind correctly guessed the Leafs would finish third in the division. Four other people said second, and seldo was on cold medication that day and picked first. No one was really far off here. So predictable, those Leafs, always in the playoffs.

The Leafs very nearly finished third in the whole Eastern Conference too. They are tied with Washington in points at 105, but the Capitals have the ROW advantage, leaving the Leafs in fourth. No one guessed that. Seldo’s optimism had the Leafs in third, which is closest, and everyone else picked fifth, sixth or seventh.

League-wide, the Leafs are seventh, again, just behind Washington. Getting that prediction correct means guessing the way the points will land in each conference, and that’s hard. Seldo picked sixth, which is closest. Fulemin picked eighth, so he also correctly figured the east would blow away the west in points at the top level. The rest of us were in the 10th to 13th range.

Numbers

We guessed on number of wins, and Goals For and Goals Against in October. The actual result was the record setting 49 wins, and 277 GF with 232 GA for a differential of 45. Note: I’m using the NHL official count per their standings page.

Seldo’s optimism wins again here. No one picked 49 for wins, but he had 48. No one had as many GF as reality, but seldo had 275. He was assuming the GA would go up though, and he was the only one to think that way, so his differential is off.

For GA Kevin got it right on, Janik and Fulemin had 230, Nafio and Katya had 235. Arvind, who was the most pessimistic, and had the most wrong overall on these predictions because of that, had GA at 238. Even though Fulemin undershot the GF by 27, he had the closest differential at 30. None of us foresaw the scope of the Leafs dominance in goal differential. It’s possible some of us were very unsurprised by their lack of dominance in shot differential, however.

The lesson is: You can be optimistic about the Leafs. Who, knew?

Trades

Trades can be very hard to guess in advance. The Leafs ended up moving Nikita Soshnikov, some AHL players, and Eric Fehr. They spent two picks, one on Tomas Plekanec, and one on Calvin Pickard.

Kevin and Janik both guessed the Leafs would trade picks or picks and AHLers, respectively, so they got that partly right. Katya had Eric Fehr’s name in there, but while two people said Josh Leivo would go, no one guessed Soshnikov. Only seldo suggested one of the UFAs, Tyler Bozak, would be moved.

Back in October already, we fairly clearly saw this season as a stand pat, take what you have as far as you can go season.

Awards

We made some award predictions in October, and the ones that get decided by regular season results we can judge ourselves on now.

Connor McDavid took the Art Ross with 108 points this year. His nearest rival, Claude Giroux (we all saw that coming) finished with 102. Every one of us got this one right. Thank you, Connor for making us look smart by making it so easy.

Alex Ovechkin took the Richard with 49 goals. He was close to his 50th on the last day, but it wasn’t to be. He edged out Patrik Laine and William Karlsson who had 44 and 43. McDavid was sixth with 41. Goal scoring is a hard thing to guess at because there is so much random chance involved, and it also can depend on how good your power play is. Unless you’re McDavid and have only five power play goals, in which case, you’re just really damn good.

Kevin is the only one who picked old man Ovechkin to do it again. Seldo was in the ballpark with McDavid, Fulemin was homer dreaming with Auston Matthews (if he’d played all 82 games, though …). Katya and Arvind thought Vladimir Tarasenko would do it, Nafio picked Nikita Kucherov, who finished 11th, and Janik picked his German countryman Leon Draisaitl. Draisaitl was second to McDavid on the Oilers with only 25 goals, but don’t laugh at Janik, most of us thought the Oilers would be a dominating team in the west.

We did not guess the Jennings award winner, likely because we forgot it existed even though Frederik Andersen won it two years ago in Anaheim. It is the award for fewest goals allowed by a team, but it’s given to the goalies. Jonathan Quick is going to take this one for the second year in a row.

New Predictions

We made some new predictions just for the awards, and as the nominations and short lists will come out for these soon, we’re boldly doing this the hard way by doing it now. Please laugh at our choices and argue endlessly about only one of the awards. The committee for hockey arguments has declared 2018 the year we argue about the Hart.

Pre-Playoff Predictions

Name Hart Norris Vezina Selke Calder Adams Clancy Byng Masterton Ted Lindsay Best GM
Name Hart Norris Vezina Selke Calder Adams Clancy Byng Masterton Ted Lindsay Best GM
Annie Claude Giroux Victor Hedman Sergei Bobrovsky Sean Couturier Mat Barzal Gerard Gallant Roberto Luongo William Nylander Brian Boyle Connor McDavid George McPhee
Arvind Nathan MacKinnon Drew Doughty Sergei Bobrovsky Sean Couturier Mat Barzal Gerrard Gallant Roberto Luongo Marc-Edouard Vlasic Brian Boyle Connor McDavid David Poile
Brian Connor McDavid Victor Hedman Pekka Rinne Patrice Bergeron Mat Barzal Gerard Gallant Roberto Luongo William Nylander Josh Leivo (but seriously it'll be Boyle) Connor McDavid David Poile
Fulemin Taylor Hall Victor Hedman Sergei Bobrovsky Batrice Pergeron Mat Barzal Gerard Gallant Roberto Luongo Ryan O'Reilly Brian Boyle Connor McDavid George McPhee
Hardev Taylor Hall Victor Hedman Sergei Bobrovsky Anze Kopitar Mat Barzal Bruce Cassidy Roberto Luongo Alex Ovechkin Brian Boyle Connor McDavid Jim Rutherford
Jonathan William Karlsson Victor Hedman MAF That Bruins guy Mat Barzal Paul Maurice Roberto Luongo William Nylander! Matt Stajan Patrik Laine George McPhee
Katya Claude Giroux John Carlson Corey Crawford Patrice Bergeron Mat Barzal Gerard Gallant Daniel and Henrik Sedin Ryan O'Reilly Brian Boyle Connor McDavid David Poille
Kevin Nathan MacKinnon Victor Hedman Sergei Bobrovsky Patrice Bergeron Mat Barzal Gerard Gallant Roberto Luongo Ryan O'Reilly Jordan Staal Connor McDavid George McPhee
Nafio Taylor Hall Victor Hedman Connor Hellebuyck Sean Couturier Mat Barzal - - William Nylander Brian Boyle Connor McDavid David Poille
seldo Taylor Hall Victor Hedman Pekka Rinne Patrice Bergeron Mat Barzal Mike Babcock Roberto Luongo William Nylander Jordan Staal Taylor Hall George McPhee