Most Capitals fans expect the team to take a substantial step back this season, and their reasoning makes sense. An aging core, the loss of key free agents, and unsustainable production by some players (looking at you, T.J.) are among the reasons that some expect the Caps to come back to earth.
However, one prominent hockey model thinks the Capitals’ fall will not be as steep as the general public does. That model is hockey mathematician/statistician/analytics wizard Micah McCurdy‘s Edgar.
Here’s how McCurdy came up with these predictions, in his own words:
I simulated the 2017-2018 NHL seasons a hundred thousand times to estimate what is likely to happen. First, I simulated each game ten thousand times using Edgar, my predictive model for single games. Briefly, I consider shot generation, shot suppression, shooting and goaltending results, which players are more likely to take the shots that are taken, special teams, penalties drawn and taken, rest, and home ice advantage. Injuries, suspensions, and all off-season moves are included.
Although the single-game model is new, the overall method I used is strongly similar to the one I used last year, with some key improvements; some of the explanation is copied from last year’s preview. I especially thank Hannah Stuart for estimates for several prospects (namely, Barzal, Boeser, Chabot, DeBrincat, Fischer, Hischier, Jost, Keller, McAvoy, Milano, Patrick, Sergachev, Strome, and White) who are likely to play substantial minutes this year; her estimates of their performances are doubtless much better than mine would have been.
First up, here’s the Eastern Conference projection.
The Capitals are projected to finish second in the Eastern Conference, behind the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Caps average 96.1 points in the projection, while the Pens average 97.7. Also notable is just how much stronger the Metropolitan Division is going to be compared to the Atlantic, as seven of the top nine teams by points are projected to be from the Metro.
Next, here’s the projection for just the Metropolitan Division.
The Capitals have a 21% chance to win the Metro, compared to a 28% chance for the Penguins.
On the projected goals-per-game scored and allowed, the Caps are the third-best team in the league.
2017-2018 HockeyViz Season Preview: https://t.co/T3WFklFxQ3
— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) September 25, 2017
This is only one projection out of many, but it is promising for the Capitals.
Headline Photo: Micah McCurdy, hockeyviz.com
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