On April Fool’s Day, let’s take a look at the NHL teams who we were all very wrong about this season.
It’s always fun to make preseason predictions. Every team has a chance to win the Stanley Cup! But every year, there are NHL teams who make their critics look silly. Though this season isn’t technically over yet, the regular season likely is, so now’s a great time to look back at my early predictions.
If you want to see my initial power rankings, you can check them here. Looking back at them, there were quite a few teams I was really wrong about. Both positively and negatively. Teams I thought would contend for a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs weren’t even close. There were also teams who I didn’t think would be contenders, but surprised me by contending.
I’m a proponent of laughing at myself and I also see a lot of value in going back and seeing why you were wrong about teams, so let’s go back and see which teams I was the most wrong about, and why I was wrong about them. Feel free to heckle me in the comments.
Columbus Blue Jackets
I initially had the Columbus Blue Jackets ranked 26th. But to be fair, they were a very hard team to figure out before the season began. They had two inexperienced goaltenders and had just lost arguably their best player in franchise history in Artemi Panarin. Plus the Blue Jackets also lost Sergei Bobrovsky.
Now, with that said, I wasn’t incredibly low on the Blue Jackets. In fact…
In a tough Metropolitan Division where every team has at least one star, it’s going to be hard for Columbus to compete. But maybe that’s the kind of team head coach John Tortorella can thrive with.
I wasn’t that wrong about the Philadelphia Flyers. Even back in October, I could see they had the potential to be a really good team. But the Flyers still had some huge questions to answer. Would Matt Niskanen and Justin Braun bounce back? Could Ivan Provorov continue to improve? Can Carter Hart and Brian Elliott prove to be an effective goaltending tandem? Would Alain Vigneault improve their defense enough to help out their already impressive offense?
The answer to all of those questions was “yes”. So in a way, the Flyers surprised me. But also, anyone who didn’t think they had the talent to be as good as they have been this season wasn’t looking at the big picture. That said, I didn’t think they’d be serious contenders to win the Metropolitan Division. But I don’t think anyone did back in October. If you did, congratulations!