Welcome to the seventh annual SNN Predicts series of articles (eighth overall, if you count the 2004 version done on the forums, lost to the mists of time but notable for the fact that I went 0-4 in series involving the Flames), in which we act like we know what we’re talking about and make our (mostly) blindingly obvious predictions, with a shocking amount of success, considering some mainstream reporters usually wind up under .500 by the time the Stanley Cup is finally awarded somewhere around Canada Day. This is also at least my fifth year in a row copying and pasting the same intro, because I’m cool like that.
This year we’ve got a slightly confusing playoff format change, which as produced an unfortunate set of matchups out west. Unfortunate in the sense that two Cup contenders will be gone before half of Canada’s changed out their winter tires; we could have some rollicking fun watching those series in the meantime. Meanwhile, out east we have one elite team, one team riding its reputation, and a collection of question marks filling out the ranks. All of which should make for one confusing set of predictions. New this year: thanks to Extra Skater I can do some back-of-the-envelope fancystats on the season series, which is exactly as exciting as it sounds. Whether I mean that ironically or not depends on your perspective, I suppose. Given that I didn’t have much time to watch the NHL this year, it’s pretty much all I have to go on, so expect a lot of dry numbers and not much awareness of anything else; it served me shockingly well last year.
In keeping with the “new format” idea, we have a new tiebreaker. Specifically, I jacked it from the NHL.com brackets: first tiebreaker is correct champion, second is correct runner-up, third is closest to the correct number of goals, over or under (no Price is Right rules).
With that, let’s get to it.