A fun look back at how my predictions for bot the NHL and the Columbus Blue Jackets are doing at the halfway point of the season.
Self evaluation is always a good thing. It’s nice to know that you did something well and reinforce the good habits that got you there. It’s more important to know when you made a mistake and work towards not repeating that error. As the halfway point of the season is upon us, it’s as good as time as ever to revisit my preseason predictions about the Columbus Blue Jackets and the entire NHL.
In early October I published my predictions for both the Jackets and for the entire NHL. I included some point predictions, final standings, and trophy winners for the year. You can find both of those articles here and here if you want to go back and check my work.
Let’s start with the playoff projections for the NHL. In October I had the Eastern Conference playoff teams as:
Atlantic- 1. Tampa Bay 2. Toronto Maple Leafs 3. Florida Panthers 4. Boston Bruins
Metropolitan- 1. Pittsburgh Penguins 2. Columbus Blue Jackets 3. Philadelphia Flyers 4.Washington Capitals
Not bad. I had overvalued the Flyers and Panthers who look like they aren’t going to be anywhere near a playoff spot but have the rest pretty darn close. The Jackets, Penguins and Caps are all separated by three points so that order will remain in constant flux.
In the Western Conference I had:
Central- 1. Winnipeg Jets 2. St. Louis Blues 3. Nashville Predators 4. Dallas Stars
Pacific- 1. San Jose Sharks 2. Vegas Golden Knights 3. Calgary Flames 4. Edmonton Oilers
Let’s just get this out of the way. I really liked St. Louis coming into this year. I liked their offseason trades a ton and thought rookies Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyriou would play a big role. I also thought Jake Allen would bust out behind that great roster and win the Vezina. This has been by far my biggest miss.
The rest of the west I have pretty much spot on. Vegas, Calgary, and San Jose are all separated by three points right now and Edmonton is only two points out of the last playoff spot. Dallas is tied with Colorado for third place in the Central and sits in a wild card spot.
Overall, I have 75% of the playoff teams correct and feel like that number will grow with Edmonton figuring it out and replacing Anaheim as the final wild card team in the west.
On the trophy front I had the San Jose Sharks winning the Presidents Trophy and that isn’t going to happen. Tampa Bay has that all but locked up with 66 points in 42 games. Connor McDavid could still win the Hart but he isn’t a top three favorite at this point but could go on a run in the second half with points like he did last year and the year before that.
I had PK Subban winning the Norris and his midseason injury all but ended that run. Finally I did pick the correct Calder trophy winner in Elias Petersson who has been far and away the best rookie this year.
Columbus Blue Jackets Predictions
On the Jackets front I made three predictions that are all looking spot on so far.
The first was a softball, I’ll admit. I had the Jackets making the playoffs with or without Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky. There is still plenty to play out on this front but it’s looking good at the midway point.
I then predicted eight Columbus Blue Jackets would score 20 goals this season. This was a bit lofty but it’s still got a chance. The Jackets already have one 20 goal scorer in Cam Atkinson. The rest of the top line, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Artemi Panarin are well on pace with 16 and 13 goals respectively. I also had Josh Anderson who is only five goals away from 20 so that is almost a sure lock at this point.
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Boone Jenner, Oliver Bjorkstrand, and Anthony Duclair were the other forwards I predicted would get to 20 goals and that might be a bit of an issue. Duclair is on pace with nine goals in 35 games but one wonders if he won’t be healthy scratched a few more times this year. Jenner has slowed down after a hot start and only has six goals on the season. Bjorkstrand on the other hand is starting to warm up, but only has six goals as well.
Zach Werenski was the final player I predicted would reach the 20 goal plateau and that is looking good at the moment. He has nine goals and is seeing increased ice time.
My one saving grace on this prediction is Nick Foligno. The captain has already scored 10 goals and missed a few games with his daughter’s surgery. Nick could be the key to this prediction coming true.
The true key will be the Jackets power play getting going. If that happens, this prediction is right on the money.
Finally, I predicted the Jackets would finish the season with 101 points. The current pace is 102 points over the season so I’ll give myself a quick pat on the back for that one.
Overall I’d say I’m doing just fine on the predictions. The St. Louis picks are killing me right now but I’m sure it’s much worse for actual St. Louis fans so ill take the 102 point pace and look forward to the Jackets depth scoring to return in the second half.