THW’s Composite Standings Predictions

At THW, 15 of our authors have joined together and created NHL standings predictions for every team in the NHL. Authors considered the team’s previous finishes in the standings, offseason acquisitions, and the probable development of players on the roster. There are a number of interesting observations that can be gleaned from the predictions. These are based purely on predicted points, and do not follow the format for playoff matchups with division members, wild cards, etc. First, a look at the Eastern Conference:

THW NHL Standings Predictions: Eastern Conference

  1. Boston Bruins
  2. Pittsburgh Penguins
  3. Tampa Bay Lightning
  4. New York Rangers
  5. Montreal Canadiens
  6. Columbus Blue Jackets
  7. Philadelphia Flyers
  8. Washington Capitals
  9. New Jersey Devils
  10. Detroit Red Wings
  11. Toronto Maple Leafs
  12. New York Islanders
  13. Florida Panthers
  14. Ottawa Senators
  15. Carolina Hurricanes
  16. Buffalo Sabres

eastern conference predictions

Teams are listed in order of the position they occupied in the standings last year.

The first surprise is that the authors believe the Detroit Red Wings will miss the playoffs for the first time since 1990, ending the longest streak in professional sports history (23 years).

The most polarizing team in the East proved to be the Philadelphia Flyers, who were ranked anywhere from 2nd in the conference by Jeff Ponder to 12th by Larry Fisher and Felix Sicard. The standard deviation of the Flyers’ standing prediction was 2.92, with the second highest being the New York Islanders at 2.54. One thing to note is that many of the contributors sent in their rankings before the Islanders made the trades for Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk. With a more talented blueline, it’s possible that more believe the Islanders reach the playoffs.

Once again the Buffalo Sabres are predicted to finish last in the conference, and the authors are very confident in that sentiment. The Sabres have the lowest standard deviation of the East NHL standings predictions. Second lowest is the Bruins, who are solidly in first place. First and last place seem like locks, but in the middle is where it gets hazy.

Compared to last year’s playoff teams, the writers predict the only difference in which teams makes the playoffs to be the Capitals sneaking in ahead of the Red Wings.

THW NHL Standings Predictions: Western Conference

  1. Chicago Blackhawks
  2. Anaheim Ducks
  3. Saint Louis Blues
  4. Los Angeles Kings
  5. San Jose Sharks
  6. Dallas Stars
  7. Minnesota Wild
  8. Colorado Avalanche
  9. Nashville Predators
  10. Vancouver Canucks
  11. Arizona Coyotes
  12. Edmonton Oilers
  13. Winnipeg Jets
  14. Calgary Flames

nhl standings predictions

Teams are listed in order of the position they occupied in the standings last year.

The first noticeable trend in the Western Conference predictions is that many of the contributors believe that the Colorado Avalanche are in store for a large regression to the mean. The advanced stats community predicted the Toronto Maple Leafs of 2013-14 would eventually falter due to their poor possession numbers, and the same logic is being applied to the 2014-15 Avalanche.

While their talent up front is undeniable, questions about their defensive corps likely lead the authors to believe the Avalanche would be only a borderline playoff team.

The Blackhawks and the Ducks ended in an exact tie for first place, but the Blackhawks were rewarded first place because they had a lower standard deviation of their standings prediction.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was that the defending Cup Champion Kings were predicted to finish 4th in the conference. On the other hand, the Kings have won their two Stanley Cups as 6th and 8th seeds. Their play in the playoffs is undeniable, but their performance in the regular season hasn’t matched that level. The Kings also had the largest standard deviation of any of the teams in the Western Conference, a testament to their inconsistency in the regular season.

The Predators had the lowest standard deviation of any team in the West, as the writers were very confident in the Preds being a bubble playoff team looking from the outside in. Only one writer had them in the playoffs in the 8th seed, with everyone else ranking them somewhere between 9-11.

The NHL standings predictions posed by the writers predict that every Western Conference team that made the playoffs in 2013-14 would also make it in 2014-15.