by Forechecker on 10/03/08 at 02:29 PM ET
It’s a game we all play, so here we go with my projections for the Eastern Conference…
The tool that I like to use for this work is called PythagenPuck, and is best outlined in a paper over at Hockey Analytics by Alan Ryder. The basic idea behind PythagenPuck is that the best long-term indicator of team success is the GF/GA ratio. Setting aside the impact of Shootout victories (which don’t fit in the model of regular play), PythagenPuck corresponds to a team’s winning percentage at roughly a 98% degree of accuracy over the course of a regular season. So what I like to do is make my team projections in terms of Goals For and Against per game, and run that through PythagenPuck to come up with expected winning percentages, and thus standings predictions.
Performance in the shootout can act like a wild card here; for Edmonton last season, that factor kept them in the playoff race far longer than they would have otherwise.
So with that being said, let’s get to the picks. First, the Eastern Conference…
1. Montreal Canadiens: Gotta love they way they’ve stocked up for their Centennial Season.
2. Philadelphia Flyers: Scoring depth and solid D makes them a contender.
3. Buffalo Sabres: I was surprised to see Mirtle rank them so highly, then when I ran my numbers, voila! there they were…
4. New Jersey Devils: Does Rolston another good year in him?
5. Pittsburgh Penguins: Those injuries on D will hamper them early on.
6. New York Rangers: In the mix, but with little margin for error.
7. Ottawa Senators: Will the last defenseman to leave Ottawa remember to turn out the lights?
8. Washington Capitals: This will be a fun team to watch, but hanging their season on Jose Theodore is awfully dicey.
9. Carolina Hurricanes: Lots of offense with a porous D; quite common in the East.
10. Tampa Bay Lightning: Expect lots of wild action with the Mullet behind the bench once again.
11. Boston Bruins: If Tim Thomas comes back to earth, they’re toast.
12. Florida Panthers: They may finally play respectable D, but no Jokinen likely means fewer Goals For.
13. Atlanta Thrashers: Mathieu Schneider is a nice addition, but they need more up front.
14. New York Islanders: Does anybody think Rick DiPietro will play out his 15-year contract?
15. Toronto Maple Leafs: OK, Ron Wilson, have we set the bar low enough for you?
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