Friday, January 13, 2023

Prediction contest update: You're not doing great, but it could be worse

We’ve hit the midway mark of the season, which means this as good a time as any to check in our prediction contest. How’s everybody doing? The answer: Not great! But alos, not terrible… so far.

If you’ve been missing out on the fun, the prediction contest is annual exercise that offers up a list of seemingly easy questions. Who’ll make the playoffs, who won’t get fired, who’ll be in the Hart race, that sort of thing. You can offer up to five answers, with more points up for grabs the further oyu go, but the catch is that you take a zero on the question if you get even one wrong.

The contest debuted for the 2020-21 season, and you all did poorly. Then came last year’s version, and it was carnage. Out of 1,583 entries, only one even managed to get a 50% grade. This thing is tougher than it looks. Which, of course, is the whole point.

This year’s contest can be found here; a summary of the over 2,100 entries is here. Midway through the season, how’s it going? Let’s find out.

#1. Name up to five teams that will make the playoffs.

By this time last year, a majority of you were in big trouble with the Islanders, and almost everyone was at least a little nervous over the Golden Knights. Neither team made it, meaning the failure rate on the question ended up close to 99%.

It could be even worse this year.

That’s because almost every single entry includes the Avalanche, who are currently just barely holding down a wildcard spot by points percentage. That’s maybe not quite as scary as it seems, since they’ve had a ton of injuries to deal with. Readers of the weekly rankings know that I’m not especially worried about Colorado, and I’d bet that not many of us actually think they’re in real danger of missing the postseason. Then again, we all felt the same way about the Golden Knights last year, right up until the door slammed shut. Weird stuff happens.

Beyond the Avs, over 900 of you had the Flames and/or the Oilers, and there may not be room for both. Florida needs a second-half miracle, and if they don’t get it they’ll take out over 500 entries. And condolences to the one entry that picked the Ducks, it's not looking great for you.

#2. Name up to five teams that will not make the playoffs.

This one’s going a little bit better, as the Connor Bedard tank sweepstakes have mostly led to all the expected bottom-dwellers being as bad as advertised. Your top five answers – Arizona, Chicago, Montreal, Philadelphia and San Jose – all look safe. We do hit a snag on the next most common response, as over 650 of you had Seattle missing out. Another 500 listed Buffalo, who could still make it interesting.

If you avoided those two danger picks, you should be OK unless you’re one of the 50 or so who had New Jersey or Winnipeg. Otherwise, there are points in play here.

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