NHL 19/20 - Another Epic Journey Ahead

What a season it was last time around! From the collapse of regular season dominating Tampa Bay, to St. Louis Blues Cinderella story, surprises were behind every corner especially in the playoffs. It’s hard to match or even beat that, but let’s see what the NHL 2019/2020 Season has to offer.

As is tradition, there’s been a couple of big moves during the summer but most of the better teams have stayed more or less intact. If it’s not broken, why fix it, it seems. The young superstars at the end of their contract got their big payday already, so the likes of Mitch Marner, Mikko Rantanen, Brock Boeser, Charlie McAvoy and Patrik Laine will hit the ice with their respective teams when the regular season gets underway.

Let’s have an instant look at Accuscore’s simulations for the regular season and then pick some intriguing differences to the oddsmakers’ assessments.

click image to enlarge in a new tabAccuscore's NHL 2019/2020 Season Forecast

Accuscore’s analysis

First of all, let’s have a quick look back to last season and the season before that: last season five teams in the west and seven teams in the east tallied up 99 or more points, the season before the equivalent numbers were six and five. Safe to say that the oddsmakers are playing it very conservative, only giving points-total line over 99 for four teams altogether. The contrast is evident in the other end of the table as well: last season seven teams gathered less than 80 points, the season before the number was nine. Still, total line is under 80 for only three teams this season.

Of course, the reasoning behind the total points closing in on the average is obvious, as the oddsmakers are highly uncertain of the actual balance of power in the league. We have the advantage here, as the simulation engine has run through each match for 10 000 times and calculated the most likely result. And we don’t need to worry about the market, margin or balancing the books regarding NHL outright bets.

Let’s set our limit to six points here, which translates to three extra wins or three extra losses. Here are the best picks according to Accuscore’s NHL 2019/2020 Season Preview.

Western Conference

Nashville Predators: Over 98.5
Predators had a 100-point season last year and 117 before that. They have an excellent roster with great balance both offensively and defensively and by no means are they worse than the past two seasons. They are playing in a difficult division, but that doesn’t mean much these days. In Accuscore simulations the Predators are the strongest team in the west and tally up 106 points.

Winnipeg Jets: Over 92.5
Jets have fallen from grace hard in the oddmakers books, but the situation doesn’t seem that gloomy in Accuscore’s simulations. They took 99 points last season, without being that impressive and 114 points the year before. While the situation with Dustin Byfuglien is uncertain, the team is still full of talent and with Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine putting pen to paper, they’re definitely up there at least battling for the playoff-spot. And in the west, you’ll probably need at least 95 for that. The line is set way too low here and in Accuscore simulations Jets shoot up to 99 points.

Edmonton Oilers: Under 85.5
We would so much like the Oilers to not feature in this category, but have a look at the roster and smell the coffee. Connor McDavid is playing with guys barely ever scoring a goal, the defense is in shambles and goaltenders are complete wild-cards at best. It seems that the eternal underachievers are actually in their rightful spot and improving to 86 points from 79 and 78 seasons seems like a stretch. Even if McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins would play career seasons, it would not take them over the line. In Accuscore simulations, Oilers only gather meager 72 points.

Los Angeles Kings: Under 74.5
The Kings fell to 71 points last season and it’s unlikely to get any easier for them. Their core players are only getting older and the conference is getting tougher all around them. Simply put, Kings are the worst team in the west at the moment and from there it’s quite hard to reach 75 points. In Accuscore simulations, Kings fail miserably and fall to 67 points.

Eastern Conference

Toronto Maple Leafs: Over 101.5
While the point total seems quite high, it’s very likely Toronto will smash it in the regular season. There are plenty of bad teams in the east and Toronto has such quality especially in the offense that they’re likely to take the regular season by storm. Toronto does have their issues in the defense and the balance of the team is lopsided, but Mike Babcock knows how to turn the heavy offense into profit through possession of the puck. In Accuscore simulations, Toronto takes the President’s Trophy with 113 points, ahead of Tampa, Boston and Nashville.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Over 94.5
There’s no turning back the time for the Penguins and the clock is definitely ticking for Crosby & Malkin era. After two disappointing seasons, in which they reached 100 points each, the time seems right for a bounce back. Penguins have cleaned house and are likely to continue doing so, with GM Jim Rutheford ready to pull the trigger in order to go all-in to a win-now-mode. The team is not as deep as in the glory years, nor is the defense top of the league, but there’s enough quality to push to the playoffs which almost certainly means over 95 points. In Accuscore simulations Penguins improve by a point to 101 and win their extremely even division as well.


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