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Using NHL 14 to simulate the 2013-14 NHL season

Guest ihabs1993

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     Instead of using my own bias to determine how the NHL season would play out, I decided to let technology do all the work for me. Using NHL 14 on season mode, it's simple to run a quick simulation of the season including the playoffs. So I downloaded the latest rosters, took some notes, and here are the results.

     Having this season be the first in which the four division alignment is implemented, the season saw many new teams in the playoff hunt, and many regulars on the outside looking in. To start, the Pacific division standings by point totals were as follows (where an "x" is a clinched playoff spot, a "y" is a division title and a "z" is the conference champion):


z Los Angeles: 101

x San Jose: 92

x Anaheim: 90

Phoenix: 88

Calgary: 86

Edmonton: 85

Vancouver: 75


    It should be painfully obvious which team isn't in its normal standing here. The Vancouver Canucks had two main issues in this simulated season; one new and the other a repeating nightmare for Canucks fans. First, the Sedin twins did not produce to their level of skill this season, with Henrik only putting up a team leading 61 points while playing in all 82 games. This is a far cry from his 81 points in his last complete season and when your leading scorer only puts up 61 points, you better hope your secondary scoring picks up the slack. Unfortunately, they did not, starting with Daniel, who was second on the team with just 58 points which should come as no surprise with Henrik preforming as poorly as he did. Finally, and most importantly, Vancouver's goaltending was an issue once again. With Schneider in New Jersey, Eddie Lack comes in as backup tender, however, he ends up playing 43 games with a goals against average of 3.04 and a save percentage of .901. And the scapegoat of years past was not much better for the Canucks, as Luongo played an 18 win season. Truly a surprise in Vancouver.


     Next up, the Central Division, which produced more playoff teams than any other division. The standings are as follows:


y St. Louis: 95

x Dallas: 94

x Winnipeg: 92

x Chicago: 90

x Minnesota: 89

Colorado: 72

Nashville: 65


    Tons to talk about in this division. First, and my favorite point to talk about, the Winnipeg Jets make the playoffs for the first time since relocating from Atlanta! If this were to happen in reality this season, there would be no louder building in the league. The Jets were able to accomplish this feat on the phenomenal season put together by Blake Wheeler, who enjoyed a 36 goal campaign, totaling 62 points. The goaltending situation in Winnipeg was not pretty, however, they managed to salvage the season with a great offense. At the beginning of the season, Winnipeg signed none other than Mr. Comedy Central himself, Ilya Bryzgalov and he finished the regular season with a record of 28-24-1. The usual number one for Winnipeg, Ondrej Pavelec, played only 28 games with a record of 14-9-2. At any rate, it was a wildly successful season for the Jets.

      Next, the play of the Dallas Stars was a vast improvement from previous seasons.With Jamie Benn and newly acquired forward Tyler Seguin each putting together 60 point seasons, the Dallas Stars not only made the playoffs, but made a legitimate push for the divisional crown. Even 41 year-old Ray Whitney potted 50 points to help the Dallas Stars reach the playoffs.


     Next up is the Metropolitan Division, with its own unique shockers. The standings were as follows:


y New Jersey: 105

x Pittsburgh: 100

x New York Rangers: 99

x Carolina: 95

Washington: 89

Philadelphia: 82

New York Islanders: 81

Columbus: 77


     The New Jersey Devils, who had a painful season and tumultuous off season, managed to put together a truly amazing season even without their former leader Ilya Kovalchuk. First, their scoring was top notch, as long-time Devil, Travis Zajac had an outstanding campaign by putting up 73 points (19-54) and newcomer, Michael Ryder had a career high 72 point season. In goal, Schneider took the majority of the games, going 28-21-2 with a goals against of 2.20, but the real number one goalie was cover-boy Martin Brodeur, who went 21-5-2, with a goals against of 2.02 and a save percentage of .929. The Devils were designed as a top loaded team which ultimately won in 2013-14.

     Another shocking aspect of this division is Carolina's return to the post-season. Like New Jersey, Carolina had many issues in the lockout shortened season that started and ended with injury. The Hurricane's scoring was nothing to be desired, as Jeff Skinner led the team with 53 points in 80 games. The real hero of the season was the goaltending of Cam Ward, who went 31-17-3. Hopefully, Carolina can stay healthy and return to the playoffs just as the game predicts.


Finally, the Atlantic Division is up next, and is arguably the most perplexing division in the simulation. The standings were as follows:


z Toronto: 112

x Detroit: 102

x Tampa Bay: 102

x Montreal: 98

Florida: 92

Ottawa: 86

Boston: 84

Buffalo: 76


     Very strange happenings in the Atlantic division. Let's start with the division champs, the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs not only won the division, but won the President's trophy with a league best 112 points. The Leafs were able to return to the playoffs for a second straight season due to the dominance of Phil Kessel, who tallied an impressive 80 points (40-40). Also, the Leafs had great depth, with six players scoring at least 40 points. In goal, James Reimer won the goaltending battle with Jonathan Bernier by putting together a 31-13-2 season, with a goals against of 2.02 and save percentage of .932. Next, Tampa Bay returned with a vengeance, by tying the Red Wings with 92 points and earning a playoff birth for the first time in two years. Even with an injured Stephen Stamkos, who only played 39 games, and the departure of the team's long-time captain, Vincent Lecavalier, the Lightning had an impressive season on the back of Valtieri Filppula, who enjoyed a 62 point campaign. The real shockers in this division are the absence of Boston and Ottawa, two almost permanent playoff favorites. For Boston, their success a year ago in Tuukka Rask also became their failure, as Rask could only produce 24 wins in 54 appearances. 


Other notes:

Year of the Panther?

     One huge surprise from this simulated season was the offensive explosiveness of the normally mediocre Florida Panthers. Florida both led the league in power play production, by clicking at a rate of 21.8%, and in goals per game, by potting 3.02 goals per game.

Also, goaltender Jacob Markstrom was awarded the Calder Memorial Trophy for rookie of the year by posting a 28-24-1 record in 62 appearances. It is surprising that the Panthers did not manage to make the playoffs, however, this season could prove to be a break out year for the Panthers. If the simulation is accurate, the Panthers could be a very exciting team to wathc, which no one has been able to say for quite some time.

Stat Leaders


A. Ovechkin: 42

J. Carter: 40

P. Kessel: 40



R. Nugent-Hopkins: 56

T. Zajac: 54

J. Thornton: 53



J. Tavares: 84

P. Datsyuk: 81

S. Crosby: 81



Round 1:

LA(1) vs. MIN(4): LA wins 4-2               TOR(1) vs. CAR(4): CAR wins 4-3

SJ(2) vs. ANA(3): SJ wins 4-0               DET(2) vs. TB(3): DET wins 4-2

STL(1) vs. CHI(4): CHI wins 4-2            NJ(1) vs. MTL(4): MTL wins 4-3

DAL(2) vs. WPG(3): DAL wins 4-1        PIT(2) vs. NYR(3): PIT wins 4-1


*President's Curse continues with Leafs being knocked out

*Canadiens complete comeback after being down 3-0 to Devils


Round 2:

LA(1) vs. SJ(2): SJ wins 4-2

DAL(2) vs. CHI(4): CHI wins 4-1

DET(1) vs. CAR(4): CAR wins 4-1

PIT(2) vs. MTL(4): PIT wins 4-1


*Hurricanes complete another upset over Red Wings


Round 3:

SJ(2) vs. CHI (4): SJ wins 4-2

PIT(2) vs. CAR(4): PIT wins 4-1



SJ(2) vs. PIT(2): PIT wins 4-2

*Pittsburgh wins the Stanley Cup

Marc-Andre Fleury wins Conn Smythe


Comments? Different Results? Let's talk about it!

Thanks for reading

- Ian (ihabs1993)



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Interesting post bud... Crosby less than a point per game... Unheard of! But if that wins the Cup I'll take it!

I know! That was one of the most surprising things that happened! Pens are always a cup favorite. Defense is improving, now all they need is consistent goaltending the whole season and they could be champs at the end

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That's why the call it a simulation. Most of the time is complete bs hahaha.

Yeah like the fact that Marc-Andre Fleury not only preformed well in the playoffs, but that he was the best in the league... This year they won't have Vokoun to bail him out when he gets lit up by an eighth seeded team

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