Every year we do some predicting in October so we can spend a little time looking foolish in the spring. This year, the spring is in the summer, and here we are about to play the playoffs in August.
We did not predict this.
Our Regular Season October Predictions
We did predict some things assuming an 82-game regular season, so I’m going to prorate the reality up to that measure so it’s at least a fair comparison. But first of all, we guessed the standings:
Maple Leafs 2019/20 standings
|Leafs finish in Atlantic
|Leafs finish in East
|Leafs finish in NHL
Using the points percentage method, the Leafs finished third in the Atlantic, eighth in the Eastern Conference and 13th in the league. No one predicted that. Only Hardev had the Leafs third in the Atlantic, so I’m giving him this one, just based on that. He also had the lowest conference guess, and the lowest league number.
Now for the wins and goals. If the Leafs had played 82 games they might have had something like 42 wins, 279 Goals For and 266 Goals Against.
|Number of wins
No one predicted that.
Arvind has the lowest wins guess, so he wins that one. His GF is almost dead on, and his GA guess is hilariously lower than reality. I came very close on GF as well, with Species in third. Species was the only one to foresee the horrors at the other end of the ice clearly, although Adam came close, with taaeeve actually being too pessimistic. Can you be too pessimistic about Leafs goals against?
Overall Species comes closest on all three, so he’s the grand prize winner in this section.
We were tasked with predicting trades too, and no one picked Trevor Moore, but Hardev had Ben Harpur as making an exit, so he wins this one.
We also made some predictions on a lot of things that involve the awards and the playoffs, so we’ll come back to that to see how very wrong we were. But we’re suckers for punishment, so we’re going to do a little more of this with some new ones now that we know which month the playoffs are in.
Return to Play Predictions
Will the Stanley Cup get handed out in October as planned?
Fulemin: Yes. I think they will actually manage to do this.
Brigstew: I choose to believe they will.
Hardev: October is tied for the longest month in the year so they have a pretty good chance, yep.
seldo: I think this bubble they have set up will work if everyone follows the rules. I’m comfortable saying the Stanley Cup will be awarded for this season.
Species: Assuming it’s not to the Habs, in which case I will personally steal the Stanley Cup to prevent it, yes.
Will the Leafs get past Columbus and make the real playoffs?
Fulemin: By the skin of their teeth.
Brigstew: I’m leaning into the same irrational optimism in my predictions at the start of the season and saying 100% yes.
Arvind: Flip a coin.
Katya: Columbus go boom.
seldo: Absolutely yes, and I can’t wait to see Torts react to losing a weird as hell playoff round.
Species: I guarantee it (guarantee void outside my basement).
Name the most exciting and most boring non-Leafs Qualifying Round series.
Fulemin: The most exciting is probably Chicago vs. Edmonton just because nobody in that series can play defence for shit. Connor McDavid should be disappointed in himself if he doesn’t score a hat-trick at least once. The most boring series is the New York Islanders vs. Florida, because the Islanders play the most soul-crushingly dull brand of hockey I’ve ever seen and because I don’t think Florida even really wants to be a team anymore.
Brigstew: I guess ditto on Chicago vs Edmonton, just because there’s likely to be a lot of scoring. No other series really seems all that exciting, but I’ll say Nashville vs Arizona as the most boring because really I just don’t care about either team.
Arvind: Carolina and the Rangers should be fun. Carolina is clearly the better team, but New York has the single best player, and also functioning goalies. I’ll second Fulemin on the boring series. Even Islanders fans find them dull.
Hardev: I’m really interested to see what Pittsburgh and Montreal do to each other. There’s a lot of variables that could make the series absolutely nuts, namely goaltending.
Katya: I think the Winnipeg/Calgary series might be interesting because the Jets are a very bad team with a very good goalie, and the Flames seem to be a soap opera on ice. Anything could happen. I can’t imagine anyone coming up with enough money to make me watch the Mild play the Canucks, though.
seldo: I’m excited to see the Canadiens get thwomped by the Penguins, but for competitiveness I want to see (And I feel bad saying this) the Jets* and Flames. The one I won’t watch? Canucks vs Wild. One team I don’t care about, one I forget exists, played out west.
Species: I want Chicago to obliterate the Oilers. It will be the most fantastic media mittenstringer meltdown we’ve ever seen. The Coyotes vs. Predators series sounds really boring.
Who is getting bounced in a surprising upset?
Fulemin: Vancouver is going to be a cool team soon if Jim Benning doesn’t totally Nonis it, but at present I don’t think they have a great supporting cast and Minnesota is a team of 78-year-old men who don’t have a lot of kicks left at the can. I wouldn’t be surprised if Spurgeon and Suter give Elias Pettersson enough trouble that the Wild squeak out the win.
Brigstew: I’ll say Nashville just because I think people still think they should be elite, but they haven’t been this year.
Arvind: Jackets ove - oh wait, you said surprising upset. I’ll say Chicago has a reasonable chance of beating Edmonton, as bad as the Blackhawks are. It depends greatly on whether they’re able to stay out of the box, but if it’s playoff referees, that might be doable.
Hardev: Edmonton getting dropped by Chicago would be fun. If Chicago can shutdown the offense and not take penalties, there’s a very weak defense and goalie tandem just waiting to be beaten.
Katya: I think the Rangers could go on a tear and dump the Canes. All the Arizona players might be working it for the trade market, so they might dump Nashville.
seldo: Vegas beating Dallas will be my surprise victory, but as mentioned above I’m really cheering for Chicago to kick Edmonton out before getting swept in the next round.
Species: The Oilers, as mentioned above. And while they won’t get bounced, the Flyers will beat the Bruins and everyone will be shocked except me.
Which teams will do well in these Unprecedented Times™ compared to normal, which teams will do badly?
Fulemin: This is the healthiest Pittsburgh has been in ages. It’s so common for Kris Letang and a couple of their wingers to be injured that it’s practically the resting state of the franchise, but as of right now they actually have two great wingers (Guentzel and Zucker) to accompany their centres in addition to their cast of Mark Donks. I wouldn’t be surprised if they go on a run. The Rangers I’m almost sure are doomed, except they’ll probably win the goalie battle against Carolina. But they only even got to fringe playoff territory off an insane Artemi Panarin heater that was rudely interrupted by plague, so I think they might suffer from the gap since they’re not actually a good team.
Brigstew: I’m gonna say Carolina, because they too had a lot of injuries and made a lot of trades to load up. Now that they’re healthy they’re even more loaded. For teams who do badly, I’ll say the Islanders because they’re just so bad and boring but had been doing well the past two seasons despite that.
Arvind: I have no idea.
Hardev: I’m betting on the Leafs! They’re healthy (mostly), Freddy is rested, and they look quite prepared. I don’t know about Cup but it would be great if they did! As for teams to do poorly, I have this feeling the Flames were supposed to know who they were at this point in the summer — either they were going to keep this group or make major changes — but they don’t and now they have very little time to figure anything out. Part of me feels a portion of the organization has a foot out the door, which is never what you want heading into the playoffs.
Katya: I’m saying the Leafs will be able to take advantage of their now-healthy players and their serious-minded commitment to work they’ve shown so far. Normally I’d say Washington is a team that starts out a bit slow, but they seem on the ball. St. Louis does not.
seldo: The Leafs. It’s become cliche at this point to say it, but this year has all the hallmarks of the impossible happening.
Species: Youth before beauty this season. Sorry, JvR.
Who should tank for Lafreniere?
Katya: Pittsburgh because it would be hilarious to see Sid win cups when he’s 50, and this way the Habs can’t have him.
Fulemin: It pains me but 100% it’s Montreal. Did you see that power play they put out against us? That was disgusting!
Brigstew: There are a few teams that looked like they were already tanking from their exhibition games... I’ll say Minnesota because if the Leafs can’t get him I don’t want him going on any team that’s good or getting better or in our division/conference.
Hardev: Montreal really wants to, they sold at the deadline and wanted to bring prospects into the bubble. Yotes should want to as well but who knows what’s going on there.
seldo: Montreal, the Islanders, or Florida should tank for him but I don’t want any of them to get him so I’m saying that Vegas should tank for Lefreniere then move on quickly.
Species: First, I want to know what is the grand prize I won above. Is it a day in the bubble? I will take it! With respect to the actual question here, Montreal should tank for it, and then lose it to “undetermined team” in Draft Lottery 2.0. Because, fuck the Habs.
Which team mentioned here had you forgotten was even in the playoffs?