If you recall, at the beginning of the year I gathered up as many of the Eastern Conference playoff predictions I could so we could compare the pundits’ prognostications to what really happened. Now, one day before the playoffs, let’s take a look back and see who was close to right, and who was way off.
As you can see, Corey Masisak and the SBNation Preseason Rankings were close, having Buffalo 6th and 7th respectively. TSN and USA Today’s preseason power rankings also had Buffalo in the 9-11 range in all the NHL, solidly in the playoffs. You can read the rest – some others weren’t very specific, just predicting a return to the playoffs or another division title.
The most fun, though, are the ones who were really, really wrong. Especially Tim Panaccio, the Flyer’s beat writer for CSN Philly. I’ll put the whole thing here again to jog your memory:
Lindy Ruff has been around longer than any other active coach in the league and will set a few records this season for both longevity (games coached) and victories. But as long as current ownership continues to wade in the middle of every season’s salary cap, the Sabres will never realize the dream of a Cup Final. Why goalie Ryan Miller hitched his wagon to this franchise long-term is beyond us. Buffalo is much weaker on defense, having lost both Toni Lydman and Henrik Tallinder. And the days of Michael Peca’s on-ice leadership are l-o-n-g gone.
This gets even better if Buffalo takes out the Flyers in the first round. (that’s 5th in the Northeast, picked below Toronto and Ottawa) Of course, he couldn’t predict that a new owner would come in, or that Vanek would take that leadership mantle, or that the offseason acquisition of Jordan Leopold would work so well, but hey, who am I, right? It’s kind of funny, looking back, at how many of these guys picked the Devils to be top 5 in the NHL.
The Puck Daddy predictions were quite humorous, I was ready to talk up Erin Nicks for picking the Sabres to be 5th, but she also had the Devils first in their division, so that’s a wash. Justin Bourne had Buffalo 7th but also had NJ and Ottawa in the playoffs. Oops.
So there you have it. A great look at the preseason predictions that every columnist conveniently forgets about, unless they manage to hit on something right (which isn’t that often).