With the Stanley Cup final about to begin, it is now safe to review this year’s HockeyPoolExpert.com playoff predictions. (These playoff predictions were for sale on this website several weeks ago.)
Playoff pools are always hard to predict because of eliminations, but this year’s predictions were pretty close to the mark!
HPE predicted a cup final featuring Boston and Vancouver and picked a 12-man roster as shown below.
- C: David Krejci – Tied for Boston’s overall point lead, Krejci needs 2 points to tie Tampa Bay’s Lecavalier for the East’s #1 centerman. Bingo.
- LW: Alexander Ovechkin – 10 points in 9 games was good enough for 3rd in Eastern Conference LW scoring up until now, though Boston’s Lucic only needs 2 points to push Ovechkin to the East’s #4 spot. Not the best pick, but not bad.
- RW: Alexander Semin – This was a bad pick. Washington choked and so did Semin.
- D: Zdeno Chara – His team will keep playing, but Chara has only 5 points thus far. With an average Finals, he’ll still end up as a top 5 Eastern conference pick or higher.
- D: Thomas Kaberle - Currently the East’s #1 point producing defenseman and still counting. Bingo.
- G: Tim Thomas – 12 wins and counting. Bingo.
- C: Henrik Sedin – Leads all players in points and is still playing. Bingo.
- LW: Daniel Sedin – Leads all LWs in points and is still playing. Bingo.
- RW: Dan Heatley – 9 points in 18 games is sub-par for this former top sniper. This pick was better than Semin, but not by much.
- D: Nicklas Lidstrom – Lead all Detroit defenders with 8 points in 11 games, but Detroit’s post-season was shorter than expected.
- D: Brian Rafalski - 3 points = a bad pick.
- G: Roberto Luongo – 12 wins and counting. Bingo.
All told, that’s not bad considering that there were 16 teams starting the playoffs with around 20 players per team.
On the topic of goalies, it turns out that we couldn’t have been more right!
“Top Two Goalie Picks: Note that the only top-4 seeded teams in each conference that have a clear #1 goalie are Boston, Pittsburgh, and Vancouver. Considering the injuries to Pittsburgh’s star centers Crosby and Malkin, the smart guesses for this year’s safest playoff pool goalie picks are Tim Thomas and Robert Luongo.”
So those are some of the things that we hit. What were our biggest misses?
- Tampa Bay – We didn’t see them going nearly this far into the playoffs. They were this year’s underdog and nearly pulled it off, taking Boston to a 7th game.
- Dan Boyle – With 16 points in 18 games, he leads all defensemen in scoring by a mile. You may not like the Sharks, but what’s not to like about Dan Boyle’s playoff performance?
- Detroit – We thought they had more gas left in the tank and would challenge Vancouver for the Western crown. Instead, it turns out that Detroit’s managers have some serious question marks heading into the off-season. I’m sure they’re up to the challenge, but there is serious work to do…
- Washington – Looks like their young blue line needs another year to mature and they need a goalie almost as bad as Philly.
- Vancouver’s Blue Line – Ehrhoff and Edler have scored on pace with their regular season #’s and Bieksa has played over his average scoring pace. Had Detroit played another series the numbers would have been close, but we didn’t give this blue line enough credit.
As for the only unanswered question, our prediction sticks that Vancouver will win the Stanley Cup Finals in 6 games. Boston’s Lucic & Horton may steal the series, but the 7 game format favours Vancouver’s superior depth.
Regardless of how it turns out, it should be fun to watch!