Kevin Brown

In The Crease

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Fearless Predictions Revisited

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Prior to the start of the season, each of the hockey writers on the Rotoworld staff made a series of predictions about the coming season for the 2010-11 Draft Guide. I thought it might be a good idea to take a look back at everyone's projections and highlight the most successful prognostications of the bunch.

Here's a link to the original predictions:
http://www.rotoworld.com/premium/draftguide/hockey/viewcolumn.aspx?number=36091

Projections were submitted by the following staff members:

Brian Rosenbaum
Michael Finewax
Ryan Dadoun
Corey Abott
Kevin Brown
Brett Lockwood
Domenic Padula

Major Awards

Hart Trophy
The votes were split between Sidney Crosby (4) and Alex Ovechkin (3), neither of whom ended up as a finalist for the Hart. The group's predictions for this category were certainly understandable so it's difficult to fault anyone for their choices.

Rocket Richard Trophy
Brian gets the credit here for being the only member of the group not to select Alex Ovechkin. He named Steve Stamkos, whose 45 markers were second only to Corey Perry's 50.

Norris Trophy
The picks for this category were quite varied. Mike Green, Dion Phaneuf, Drew Doughty and Sergei Gonchar were all named as potential top blueliners. Unfortunately for our fearless prognosticators, none of these players enjoyed anything remotely close to a Norris Trophy-caliber season. Since we have to award this one to somebody, Ryan and I receive a tip of the cap since Doughty was the most impressive of the group.

Vezina Trophy
Tim Thomas is the heavy favorite to take home the NHL hardware this year, but none of our experts saw that coming so those of us who picked Roberto Luongo (Ryan, Corey and I) get the nod for selecting a finalist for the award.

Calder Trophy
Logan Couture, Jeff Skinner and Michael Grabner are all worthy finalists for the award, but none of them received votes from our expert panel at the start of the year. Of those that were named, P.K. Subban, selected by Brian, was clearly the top rookie. However both Ryan and Brett deserve an honorable mention for predicting Tyler Ennis, as he also enjoyed a strong rookie campaign.




Fantasy Player Predictions

Surprise Breakout
Some of our experts, myself included, swung and missed on this pick, as Jiri Hudler, Nikita Filatov and Darren Helm all garnered votes, but didn't experience breakout performances. There were a few solid projections, however, as Brett believed what he saw from the Flyers' Ville Leino during last spring's playoff run and made him his breakout player while Corey was rewarded for going out on a limb and selecting the Capitals' rookie blueliner John Carlson.

Most Disappointing Fantasy Season
This category was easily the one in which expert predictions were most accurate, which makes me wonder why predicting failure is so much easier than forecasting success. Brett's selection of Marty Turco and Corey's choice of Craig Anderson both seem pretty clairvoyant in hindsight while my pick of Dustin Penner and Domenic's selection of Jaroslak Halak should also be considered wise for the most part.

Biggest Overachiever for a Late Round Pick
Both Corey and Brett tabbed Johan Franzen for this category and while I may question which types of leagues would have The Mule still available in the later rounds, the Red Wings' power forward stayed relatively healthy and potted 28 markers with 10 coming with the man advantage. After a very slow start to his 2010-11 season, Canadiens' winger Brian Gionta finished the season one goal shy of 30, making Domenic's prediction a good one, as well.

Most Over-hyped Rookie who will be a Fantasy Bust this season
Some might say I took the easy route by picking Lars Eller in this spot, especially since nearly everyone else set their sights higher and correctly predicted Tyler Seguin's lackluster rookie campaign. Although it was no secret entering the season that ice time wouldn't be easy to come by for Seguin, it took courage to predict these kinds of struggles for the number two overall pick in the draft.

Team Projections

Eastern Conference Champions
I'm proud to report I was the only writer to correctly predict that Boston would represent the Eastern Conference in the Cup Finals.

Western Conference Champions and Stanley Cup Champions
Three Rotoworld writers (Ryan, Mike and I) foresaw the Canucks' run to the Western Conference title while only Ryan and I predicted that Vancouver would ultimately hoist Lord Stanley's Cup. The next few days will determine whether we're proven correct.

Oddball Predictions

Each writer was asked to submit three oddball predictions and the submissions ranged from "out of left field" to "surprisingly accurate". Here are some of the most notable:

The Flyers will have three goalies who will register fifteen wins this season (Brian) – This nearly came true as Sergei Bobrovsky and Brian Boucher formed a solid two-headed monster during the regular season. Only the demotion of Michael Leighton (though he did receive one post-season start) prevented this from coming to fruition.

Daniel and Henrik Sedin will combine for over 50 goals and 200 points (Ryan) – I'll have to ask Ryan if I can borrow his crystal ball as the Sedin Twins finished the season with a combined 60 goals and 198 points. Well done, Ryan.

Nikolai Khabibulin will enjoy a comeback season until he loses the appeal and is forced to spend a month in jail (Ryan) – As you noticed above, Ryan made some very astute predictions this year, but this is one where he was wrong on two different counts. Khabibulin's appeal of his sentence of one month in jail for speeding and driving under the influence allowed him to play the entire NHL season uninterrupted, however his performance was far from spectacular, as he posted a 3.40 GAA and .890 save percentage in 47 starts.

The Colorado Avalanche will fall out of playoff contention after their meteoric rise last season (Corey) – Few people imagined that Colorado would have such a disappointing season, but Corey was on the mark with this pick.

Whichever team trades for Tomas Kaberle will go on to win the Stanley Cup (Kevin) – The result of this prediction is yet to be determined, as the Bruins and Canucks are deadlocked at two games apiece in the Stanley Cup Finals, but I'll take some credit here even though Kaberle has not been a primary factor in the Bruins' success thus far.

Carey Price will have a better fantasy season with the Montreal Canadiens than Jaroslav Halak will have with the St. Louis Blues (Domenic) – It seems rather obvious now that Price is the better of the two netminders, but let's remember that prior to the season, many had criticized the Canadiens for dealing away the goaltender who carried the franchise to a stunning playoff run the season before.

Conclusion

The degree to which our collective predictions failed is simply the nature of the beast. The landscape of the league changes so quickly that what appears to be a foregone conclusion in October looks like a misguided opinion in June. But, this doesn't eliminate the enjoyment associated with the exercise of making the predictions and keeping score to see how we did. You can be certain we'll do it all over again this fall.


Kevin Brown is fantasy hockey writer for Rotoworld. You can find him on Twitter @kbrownroto.
Email :Kevin Brown



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