Ouiji board, ouiji board

14Aug07

We’re coming to the tail-end of the offseason, and that means that in a few weeks, all of the hockey nerds will be scouring bookstores and news agents to pick up the latest NHL yearbook magazines. I do this partially to prep for my fantasy draft and partially because I love reading all of the predictions, then bitching about whether or not I agree with them to my friends.

This summer, I’ve done something a little different. Usually, I’ll read the magazines during the off-season, but they’re no longer a necessary in-season reference guide thanks to websites like Hockey Database and NHL Numbers. So unless I’m really, really bored or need something proper in the loo, they remain on my bookshelf.

However, today I’m going to revisit the Hockey News Fantasy Guide just to see how accurate their predictions were. For fantasy junkies like myself, these guides are valuable sources of pre-draft reference and prognostication. But really, can they be trusted any more than Joe Blow hockey fan? Let’s take a look at what they thought:

Stanley Cup Champions: Calgary Flames. Well, dang, that’s a bad start. However, they did correctly predict the Eastern Final between Buffalo and Ottawa.

Art Ross: Sidney Crosby. Now that’s more like it.
Conn Smyth: Jarome Iginla. Not gonna work when you don’t get far in the post-season.
Hart: Eric Staal. Maybe next year after he got all the partying out of his system.
Vezina: Miikka Kiprusoff. A safe bet, but no cigar here.
Calder: Evgeni Malkin. Well, that was kind of a no-brainer.
Norris: Scott Niedermayer. Like Kiprusoff, a safe choice but not quite.

Now let’s look at some player projections vs. real life.

Marc Savard: 70 (projected) vs. 96 (actual), +26
Joe Thornton: 106 (projected) vs. 114 (actual), +8
Andy MacDonald: 71 (projected) vs. 78 (actual), +7
Marian Hossa: 95 (projected) vs. 100 (actual), +5
Sidney Crosby: 116 (projected) vs. 120 (actual), +2
Chris Drury: 68 (projected) vs. 69 (actual), +1
Alex Tanguay: 82 (projected) vs. 81 (actual), -1
Doug Weight: 61 (projected) vs. 59 (actual), -2
Brian Rolston: 73 (projected) vs. 64 (actual), -9
Martin Havlat: 67 (projected) vs. 57 (actual), -10
Brendan Morrison: 62 (projected) vs. 51 (actual), -11
Jason Arnott: 68 (projected) vs. 54 (actual), -14
Mats Sundin: 95 (projected) vs. 76 (actual), -19
Alexander Ovechkin: 112 (projected) vs. 92 (actual), -20
Scott Gomez: 83 (projected) vs. 60 (actual), -23
Brad Richards: 95 (projected) vs. 70 (actual), -25
Rick Nash: 87 (projected) vs. 57 (actual), -30
Markus Naslund: 91 (projected) vs. 60 (actual), -31
Eric Staal: 103 (projected) vs. 70 (actual), -33
Peter Forsberg: 94 (projected) vs. 55 (actual), -39
Ladislav Nagy: 85 (projected) vs. 55 (actual), -30

What does this wholly unscientific pole tell us? Not a hell of a lot, really, except that you can’t predict injuries (Forsberg, Havlat — oh wait, maybe you can) and even sure things have bad years (Richards, Ovechkin). Some players will fall off the planet (Nagy, Naslund), and some can make passes wherever they play (Savard).

However, I think the ultimate thing this shows us is that even the ‘experts’, whoever they claim to be, are just as smart as you and me. That is, the whole thing’s a crapshoot. Still, it’s all in good fun, and the various yearbooks are way more fun to read than, say, US Weekly (unless it’s featuring Mike Comrie).

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One Response to “Ouiji board, ouiji board”

  1. 1 Stevens8204

    You had to mention the Comrie-Duff thing…..ouch! I really haven’t read many fantasy mags lately because it is such a crapshoot…so I figure I’ll take the crapshoot and try to have a little fun with it.


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