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Cannon Blasts: Predicting is hard

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Tampa Bay Lightning Victory Rally & Boat Parade Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

With the 2020 NHL season finally coming to an end, I thought it was time to revist the Cannon staff preseason predictions.

Metro Division:

Washington (4 votes)
Carolina (2 votes)
NY Rangers (1 vote)

This is a good start, with the majority accurately predicting that the Capitals would remain the team to beat in the Metro. Carolina finished fourth and the Rangers finished seventh, but still did well enough to make the qualifying round. Seeds had the best predicted finish for runner-up Philadelphia (third).

The predictions for the Blue Jackets ranged from second place to sixth, with third and fifth getting two votes each. MrSwift was the one to accurately predict Columbus to finish sixth.

Atlantic Division:

Tampa Bay (4 votes)
Boston (3 votes)

This one wasn’t too difficult. The Lightning couldn’t repeat their historic season from last year, but still finished second. Last year’s division and Cup Final runner-up Boston was a reasonable choice to lead the division (and the league).

Central Division:

Nashville (4 votes)
Colorado (2 votes)
St. Louis (1 vote)

The first group embarrassment, with the majority missing Nashville’s struggles, as they finished fourth. Props to Rachel for being the only one to know that the Blues would pick up where they left off after their championship.

Pacific Division:

San Jose (3 votes)
Vegas (2 votes)
Anaheim (1 vote)
Calgary (1 vote)

That’s for votes for teams which did not even make the expanded postseason field. OUCH.

Next, we predicted the pairings for the conference finals and the Stanley Cup Final.

Eastern Conference Finalists:

Tampa Bay (4 votes)
Carolina (3 votes)
Washington (2 votes)
Boston (2 votes)
Toronto (2 votes)
Columbus (1 vote)

Again, the majority felt good about the Lightning. No one predicted that the Islanders would also make a deep playoff run. In fact, only Will (third) had them finishing in a guaranteed playoff position (MrSwift and elpalito had them fifth, but did not indicate who whether that was good for the second wild card). Never bet against Barry Trotz, I guess.

Western Conference Finalists:

Vegas (5 votes)
Nashville (3 votes)
San Jose (2 votes)
Arizona (1 vote)
Colorado (1 vote)
Dallas (1 vote)
St. Louis (1 vote)

We felt even better about Vegas, with all but two predicting they’d reach the conference final for the second time in their first three seasons. One very smart and kind and handsome writer accurately predicted a Vegas/Dallas final, even if he got the outcome flipped.

Stanley Cup Final:

Tampa Bay (3 votes)
Vegas (3 votes)
Nashville (2 votes)
San Jose (2 votes)
Toronto (2 votes)
Boston (1 vote)
Carolina (1 vote)

Interestingly, Vegas and Tampa were paired up against each other all three times here. Myself and Will were the two to pick that the Lightning would win the Cup.

For the Hart Trophy, MrSwift and I each picked a finalist (Nathan MacKinnon and Artemi Panarin, respectively) but no one picked winner Leon Draisaitl. No one picked any of the Norris Trophy finalists, with five of us going homer and picking Seth Jones. No one got any of the Vezina finalists, either.

The final prediction was whether the Blue Jackets would finish over or under 84.5 points. They were at 81 points through 70 games when the season ended, which projects to 94.89 over a full 82 games. So, the six of us who took the over and MrSwift, who took the under, can all claim we were correct by a certain point of view.

How did these outcomes match your own predictions?

On Deck

Lots of stuff coming up this week in Jackets Land. Today, the team is expected to reveal a 20th anniversary patch to be worn in the upcoming season.

Tomorrow night is the first round of the NHL Draft, with Rounds 2-7 coming on Wednesday afternoon. We will have an open thread that covers both days, and of course we’ll cover every pick the Jackets make (and possibly trades?)

We’ve spent the last week profiling some prospects who are likely to be in range of the 21st overall pick:

Dylan Holloway
Mavrik Bourque
Jacob Perreault
Noel Gunler
Seth Jarvis
Hendrix Lapierre
Jan Mysak
Rodion Amirov
Lukas Reichel

SB Nation is running its annual mock draft, and for our pick we selected defenseman Kaiden Guhle.

On Friday, the league year starts, which means the start of the free agency signing period. We’ll have an open thread that day as well. I don’t expect the Jackets to be active on the free agency market, but they may re-sign their RFAs this week, and may make a trade during the draft. We may also see a buyout, which would happen by Thursday.

The week that was

MrSwift reviewed Eric Robinson’s season, as the power winger earned a full-time spot on the Columbus roster.

On the Cannon Cast, Will and I discussed the Stanley Cup Final, a possible Wennberg buyout, and played a couple rounds of 20 questions, featuring notable CBJ alumni.

Kole Sherwood accepted his qualifying offer for the 2020-21 season, and is being loaned to Kunlun Red Star, a China-based team in the KHL.

Zach Werenski has problems with EA Sports:

He’s right; this list is trash. The Vezina winner down at #5? Lehner behind four players he’s objectively better than? Braden Holtby in the top 10 after the season he had?

Chirping your teammates has no off-season:

The Vegas Golden Knights finally have a gold jersey. It is VERY gold:

For an alternate, I’d wish it was more different than the current jerseys, rather than just a color swap. I’d make this the new home jersey, then have the alternate be that charcoal color, with a different sleeve design and the secondary logo on the chest.

Play me out

Beginning in 2014, Neil Cicierega has been creating a series of mashup albums: Mouth Sounds, Mouth Silence, and Mouth Moods. This week, after a three year break, he released a fourth entry: Mouth Dreams. These albums are not just random collections of samples. Rather, Cicierega establishes themes and motifs which carry throughout each album. He also displays an encyclopedic knowledge of both music and pop culture. At times I am actually concerned about what goes on in his head, for the things he combines that no normal person ever would. Like “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” with the Chili’s Baby Back Ribs jingle, or “Hit Me Baby One More Time” with Beethoven’s 5th Symphony.