We’re rapidly approaching the end of the season which means it’s time to look back at what went right and what went wrong for my preseason predictions. Today, we’re going to look at my 10 bold predictions, and JKJ’s five to see how well we did. If you have any questions for the last three days of the season, please ask them in the comments section and I’ll be sure to answer them. For JKJ’s, my comments on his predictions from the preseason are italicized. Let’s get to it!
JKJ’s Five Bold Predictions:
1) Philipp Grubauer finishes outside fantasy’s Top 10 goalies (standard formats). Riding the Colorado coattails last season and playing for an expansion team this season will catch up to him.
I have him ranked in the top 10 so from that standpoint, I disagree. Goalies are voodoo though and anything can happen, but I have faith that Seattle will be sound defensively.
That’s a clear win for JKJ. I didn’t think top 10 was bold, but Grubauer was actually a negative value on the season so JKJ was clearly on the right path. The funny thing is that I was somewhat right about Seattle being sound defensively. They were a borderline top 10 defensive team for a large part of the season, but their goalies absolutely sunk them. Whether Grubauer bounces back next season or not will be a big story line.
2) Tony DeAngelo pisses the hockey world off by scoring 50 points and being the most annoying league-winner in fantasy sports history. Carolina will thrive, and he’ll thrive because of it.
I’m all on board with this one. If he stays out of trouble, 50 points is well within reach.
He hasn’t been a league winner, but TDA is over 50 points despite missing 20 games. Easy win for both of us.
3) Jared McCann scores at least 65 points. I did him a disservice in my Seattle team preview, not diving nearly deeply enough. His expected goals metrics were almost off the charts last year and now he’ll be the C1 in one of the dopest uniforms in sports. I apologize to all who maybe steered clear of him at my behest.
I’m on the McCann bandwagon but I’m not sure he gets to 65 stats. His underlying metrics were incredible last season, but he was also insulated by Crosby and Malkin. I’m a little hesitant to assume that it’ll go as swimmingly in Seattle on the first line, but I hope so.
McCann is going to fall short of this, although it’s entirely in assists as he has 26 goals. His plus-minus is a disaster because Seattle goalies have an .863 sv% with him on the ice. .863! McCann was a hold for a large chunk of the season, but it didn’t sustain through the end. Not a horrible prediction.
4) The Buffalo Sabres will have no players worth anything better than a stream. Despite saying in my team preview he is a potential bargain, Rasmus Dahlin will have no help and thus will be largely irrelevant. Jack Eichel likely won’t play a game at all, but I’d bet my family jewels he definitely plays zero in a Sabres sweater. It will be an absolute cesspool of fantasy nobodies.
As the resident Sabres fan, it’s hard to disagree. I do think Dahlin ends up being worth owning topping 50 points, but the plus-minus could be a disaster. It’s hard to see a forward becoming a hold. Maybe Olofsson because of the shot volume?
Oh boy, talk about being completely wrong. Dahlin has been a hold despite the plus-minus, and I was correct that he would top 50 points. However, Thompson and Skinner have been hold worthy for the majority of the season, Tuch had a long stretch of being a hold, and Olofsson has been on fire down the stretch. Granted, nobody saw the Thompson breakout coming, but I do think we overlooked Skinner as he showed signs last season once Granato took over.
5) Brady Tkachuk scores 25 goals and records 600 shots+hits. Everyone likes to fade him for his lack of points as a top-line LW, but people seem to forget hits are standard in Yahoo now and he will get 300 (while also shooting the puck on goal as many times, if not more.)
I think Tkachuk is actually a favorite to do this. He’s been on pace for 25 goals the past few seasons with bad shooting percentages. He could easily get to 30 goals and 300+ shots.
If Tkachuk played 82 games, he’d have had 580 shots+hits on the season, and he’s well past 25 goals. Another prediction that was close to coming true, but ended up falling short. Overall, JKJ had two correct, one really close call, one that looked good for about half the season, and then one complete whiff. Not bad at all!
Viz’s Bold Predictions (I will put the original predictions in italics for me)
1) Sam Reinhart smashes previous career highs, scoring 30+ goals and finishing over a point per game. The Panthers should be excellent this season and the addition of Reinhart will do wonders for them. He’s an excellent player that’s been stuck on a terrible Sabres team, and Barkov will help take Reinhart to another level.
I’m going to take my big victory lap right off the start. Reinhart has 32 goals and 80 points so far despite spending a fair amount of the season on the third line and averaging under 18 minutes per game. He’s a superstar that doesn’t get the credit he deserves. I can’t wait to watch him in the playoffs.
2) Zach Hyman finishes over a point per game. His 33 points in 43 games last season was the best pace of his career, so he’s got a long way to make up. Getting to play with McDavid and possibly receiving even more minutes than he had in Toronto will make up for that.
While Hyman set a career high in goals, he didn’t come particularly close to a point per game. He had a rough stretch in the middle of the season, mostly because Tippett was playing him on the third line. Once Tippett was fired, Hyman was close to that mark. I do think there’s more upside next season, but I wasn’t close to correct here.
3) Kappo Kakko takes the jump in year three, becoming a fantasy hold for most, if not all of the season. His expected goals took a huge jump last season, but it didn’t end up resulting in points for Kakko. This season, it will. He’s locked into playing with Panarin and Strome which will make it difficult for him not to succeed. This season, he ends up being a contributor instead of a passenger.
Whoopsie. He did play in the top six when healthy, but his teammates managed to thrive again with Kakko not producing much. Granted, the Rangers PP did most of their damage, but Kakko was nearly useless. This went as bad as it could.
4) The team that won’t have a player worth holding is the Anaheim Ducks. They’ve been so bad defensively the last two seasons that I don’t want to hold John Gibson. I love the talent of Trevor Zegras and Jamie Drysdale, but I suspect they fall a little short of holding. Zegras could definitely make this look bad because his talent is through the roof, but with a horrible supporting cast, I think he’s a year away from the true breakout.
This was so close to coming true. Troy Terry’s breakout ruined this, especially because he never had much of a cold streak. Zegras did have stretches of being a hold, but it wasn’t automatic for the full season. At least I was correct on Gibson being useless.
5) Viktor Arvidsson scores 30 goals. He has 25 in the past two seasons combined, granted he scored at least 29 in the previous three seasons. I’m expecting a big bounce back for Arvidsson with Kopitar feeding him the puck. The shot volume has been there, but Arvidsson hasn’t been as good at getting to the best shooting locations. Kopitar will fix that.
I want to take partial credit here. The expectation was that Arvidsson was that he was going to be on Kopitar’s wing, but it ended up being Kempe, who has over 30 goals. Arvidsson does have 20 in 65 games as the second line was a huge factor in making the playoffs. I’ve held him most of the season because of the shot rate, so this wasn’t a complete disaster.
6) Cale Makar has 85+ points, becoming the first defenseman to reach that total in 28 years. It’s not a big increase in production from Makar, but sustaining over a full season instead of half of a season worth of games will be hard enough. The Avs should be a juggernaut once again with Makar being a big reason for that. He’s the favorite for the Norris and rightfully so.
Victory! Although he technically wasn’t the first defenseman to do it since Leetch because Josi did it first, Makar has 85 points despite missing a handful of games. He’ll be in consideration for being a first round pick in drafts next season.
7) Mike Smith regresses to being a fringe hold. I can’t buy into last season being sustainable for Smith after having a .902 and .898 the previous two seasons. He’ll probably be good enough to keep for the wins, but it won’t be pretty.
This was a slam dunk winner until April. Smith dealt with injuries for a lot of the season, but was below a .900 sv% going into April with below average wins. Then he went 9-0 with better than a .950 sv% and 1.7 GAA in April (writing this as Edmonton beats Pittsburgh). He was a difference maker in H2H fantasy playoffs if you were able to pick him up, or had a good enough team to get that far anyways.
8) The New Jersey Devils make the playoffs. They haven’t sniffed the playoffs in recent seasons, but my love for Dougie Hamilton is well known in these parts. Add in Graves, Tatar, Bernier, and the growth of the young players, and I think they can get one of the wild card spots.
Another massive fail. On the bright side, Hughes, Hischier, and Bratt did take a huge step forward and that’s almost more important for New Jersey than team success this year. On the other, goaltending was an epic disaster and Hamilton wasn’t nearly as good as they hoped. The upside will be there again next season, and a coaching change could help them quite a bit as I don’t love Ruff as a coach at this point. He did the necessary development, but now that it’s mostly done with their main core, it’s time to get an improvement.
9) Artemi Panarin wins the Hart Trophy. McDavid is obviously the favorite, but Panarin has played at a 113 point pace in each of the last two seasons. The Rangers are bound to take a jump this season towards making the playoffs to bring the necessary attention to Panarin. You can get 26-1 at some books which I think is an incredible price.
Panarin could get to 100 points if he plays in the last two games (unlikely), but he probably won’t get one top 10 vote for the Hart because of the incredible seasons around the league, and most importantly, Shesterkin will take all of the New York votes.
10) The Florida Panthers win the Stanley Cup. Their forwards and defensemen are both top 5 groups. This is contingent on Spencer Knight being a viable starter right away. Who knows, maybe Bob randomly finds his form again? I’m counting on Knight though to play as well as he has at lower levels. It’s an absolutely stacked division with four Cup contenders which makes their path even harder, but I love the build of this team.
Time will tell, but Florida is the second favorite to win the Cup. Considering they were 20-1 in the preseason, which was nowhere near the top five favorites, the regular season portion of this couldn’t have gone any better. They’re a juggernaut offensively and it will come down to whether they can get the occasional big save from Bob, who did randomly find his form again, or Knight if they have to turn to him.
That’s all for now guys. I’ll be back on Friday with another post wrapping up some stuff for the season. I’ll have a couple posts next week, including a playoff bracket challenge, and then I’ll be done for a few months outside of the occasional offseason post. As always, feel free to ask any questions, leave any comments, or give any suggestions below. Best of luck down the home stretch, take care!