One of my favorite things to do each year before the season starts is to make a whole bunch of predictions that are almost definitely going to be wrong.
Most predictions are, of course, especially when they come from sportswriters. We’re bad at this, myself very much included. (You are also bad at this, but you can convince yourself otherwise because your predictions don’t get written down.) I’ve always figured that if I’m probably going to be wrong anyway, I should embrace it and be willing to be really wrong.
I call them my oddly specific predictions, and I make one for each team. Most of them end up being laughably wrong, but even a broken clock finds a nut sometimes. Last season was a good batch, with three predictions that turned out right, including one involving our old friend Jacob Markstrom, who we can always count on when it comes to the prediction game. Or can we? We’ll get to that.
What about this year? As always, you can’t make predictions at the start of the season if you don’t take your medicine at the end. So let’s go through all 32 of my picks from this year’s column, and see how I did.
Tier 1: Not just wrong but extra wrong
You would think that the worst a prediction could be would be just plain wrong, but no. Sometimes a prediction misses so badly that it eats its way through to the other side and becomes weirdly impressive.
Winnipeg Jets: I went all in on the Jets as legitimate Cup contenders, predicting they’d finish fifth overall. They finished sixth … in their own division, and 19th overall. Just a bit outside.
Arizona Coyotes: I predicted that since Phil Kessel was obviously getting traded, his new team would win the Stanley Cup. Turns out, the Coyotes didn’t even move him at all.
Calgary Flames: My years of being able to manifest Jacob Markstrom shutouts came to an end, after I predicted he’d get one on December 23 against the Kraken. He didn’t. Also, he didn’t play that night. Also, none of his teammates did either because the game didn’t happen. (It was eventually rescheduled for February 19, when Markstrom stopped 22 of 23 shots in a 3-1 win, so I can’t even claim this one on a technicality.)
Wait, does this mean my Markstrom magic, the one sure thing I’ve been able to count on when it came to predictions over the years, is finally over? Hold that thought for a bit …