theScore's NHL team simulated the 2017-18 regular season using EA Sports NHL 18. Injuries and trades were turned off, allowing for a more precise analysis of what each team is capable of at full strength as currently constructed.
Here are the results:
This simulation forecasts a big bounce-back campaign for the Panthers, predicting that Bob Boughner's debut behind the bench leads the Cats back to the postseason.
Elsewhere, the Bruins, Sabres, and Lightning are forced to settle with especially disappointing results.
Sheesh, how about those Rangers? A 118-point finish would establish a new franchise record and be enough to run away with the Presidents' Trophy.
The other teams to qualify from the Metro aren't too surprising, but what on earth happened to the Flyers?
Nashville builds off last year's Cup run to claim the Central title, while Chicago maintains its reputation as a perennial championship contender.
The most surprising aspect of this division has to be Dallas in last place, as the Stars' big offseason didn't translate into the success they hoped for.
NHL 18 expects big things from the Pacific in 2017-18, predicting the division will send five teams to the playoffs.
The Vancouver-Colorado-Vegas triumvirate at the bottom could very well turn out to be true. Don't fret, though, Golden Knights fans, you didn't finish dead last!
Hart - Alex Ovechkin
Ovi notched 61 goals to earn the fourth MVP award of his career, but can he finally deliver in the playoffs? Stay tuned.
Rinne had a season to remember, posting a record of 49-22-4 to go with 10 shutouts. The 34-year-old also led the league in save percentage (.933) and goals-against average (1.96).
Norris - Duncan Keith
The NHL's consensus top defenseman, Erik Karlsson, misses out on hardware for the third season in a row, as Keith captures his third Norris at age 34.
Here are the other award recipients:
Patrick Kane (93 Pts)
Alex Ovechkin (61 G)
Clayton Keller (43 Pts)
Wondering the whereabouts of Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby? The two phenoms finished with shockingly low totals of 83 and 80 points, respectively, despite appearing in all 82 games.
As it turns out, Ovechkin and the Capitals couldn't overcome the Penguins once again, as Pittsburgh's elimination of Washington came one round sooner than usual. For the defending champs, though, the quest for a three-peat fell short in Round 2.
The Predators once again handled the Blackhawks with ease, producing yet another sweep of their nemeses, this time in Round 2.
The young Maple Leafs just squeaked into the dance, but managed to reach their first conference final since 2002, where it ended emphatically at the hands of the Rangers in five games.
McDavid and the Oilers found little success in living up to sky-high expectations, bowing out in six games to the Sharks.
And finally ...
2017-18 Stanley Cup winner: New York Rangers
The Blueshirts captured their fifth Stanley Cup in franchise history, sweeping the Predators to conclude what was a dominant season and playoff run.
Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist captured the Conn Smythe, backing the Rangers to a 16-4 playoff record.
(Photos courtesy: NHL 18)
NHL 18 simulation of 2017-18 season predicts smooth sailing for Metro team