Thank you to everyone who offered their predictions for the 2023-24 season. We asked you how many goals Ovechkin will score, if the Caps will make the playoffs, who will win the Stanley Cup, and a lot more. Now we know the answers, and though I agree with you hardly at all, I am honor-bound to report the results.
The following things will definitely happen, according to you.
Two-thirds of you predict that the Washington Capitals will be a playoff team in 2024. For comparison, popular models in the media give the Caps between a seven and 28-percent chance.
Of the people who said the Capitals will make the playoffs, the average predicted standings-points total was 94.4, which should just barely squeak them in. But of the one-third of respondents who said the Capitals would miss the playoffs, the average point total was 84.5, just a couple wins better than last season’s dismal total of 81. Seven percent of respondents predicted the Capitals will do even worse than that. Powerful negativity.
You predict that Alex Ovechkin will repeat his goal output from the 2022-23 season. That would put him at a career total of 864, 30 goals shy of Wayne Gretzky’s record.
The historical high for goals among age-38 players currently belongs to Brett Hull, who scored 37 in 2002-03. Ovechkin owns the goal records for goals by 36- and 37-year-olds (50 and 42, respectively). (Johnny Bucyk scored 51 goals at age 35 in 1971. Good for him; Ovechkin played only 45 games that season due to Covid.)
Well done, everybody, and well done, Evgeny Kuznetsov. After a paltry 55 points last season, Kuznetsov will have a second renaissance according to your predictions. Kuznetsov actually beat that total with 78 points in 2021-22’s uneven outing, but, pro-rated, he fell short of that in every other post-Covid season.
Sixty-nine points would place Kuznetsov right around the 87th percentile among-full time forwards, up from the 76th where he stood last season.
At age 29, future captain Tom Wilson will reach a career-high in goals, according to you. Wilson came close in 2021-22, notching 24 goals in 78 games.
Wilson is simultaneously coming off an ACL injury and a partial season in which he scored 13 goals in 33 games. That would pro-rate to 32 goals in an 82-game season, so perhaps some of us think we’re being conservative with 27. I would note that Wilson’s all-situation goal rate had been almost precisely one per hour over the three prior seasons – until jumping up to 1.3 in the most recent, shortened season.
You predict that Connor McMichael will not yet secure a full-time spot on the Capitals NHL roster, but he’ll get a good long look. McMichael actually played more in 2021-22 (68 games) before the bad year of 2022-23 saw him suit up just six times.
Only five percent of respondents predicted McMichael would play in the full 82 games, though one of you predicted he would play in 87 games, which I don’t know about that, let’s call it a typo.
You think Max Pacioretty will complete his recovery from an achilles tear sometime in December. Pacioretty managed just five games for Carolina last season – all in January – as he navigated a recurring injury to his right leg.
About forty percent of respondents put Pacioretty’s return in December, but another thirty percent think it’ll be January. In either case, that would be a long trial for Pacioretty before the trade deadline hits on March 8.
In a landslide decision, you project the first player traded by the Capitals this season will be 29-year-old winger Anthony Mantha. More than half of respondents picked Mantha, with Nicolas Aube-Kubel in a distant second, virtually tied with “Someone else or no one.” Mantha scored eleven goals in 67 games last season. “I feel like I haven’t been the player they wanted so far,” Mantha said during training camp. “So that’s my goal this year, to prove to them that that player’s here (now) and he’s ready to play.”
Aube-Kubel placed in second despite clearing waivers two days before the prediction survey went live.
TJ Oshie missed 24 games last season, and Nicklas Backstrom missed 43. You predict they’ll be, basically, twice as healthy this time around – missing just 31 games combined in both player’s age-36 seasons.
Backstrom is more than a year removed from major hip surgery; he missed one game after he returned to play on January 8. Meanwhile, Oshie missed time on four occasions: twice in October, once in December, and again in March. He’s been fighting through repeated shoulder injuries as well as a recurring back problem related to a foot injury from two years ago. Oshie says those concerns are a thing of the past. “I feel great. I feel strong. I feel good. I feel healthy,” Oshie said in September, “There’s no second guessing by me out there.”
Former Capitals Garnet Hathaway will not fight a current Capital in the 2023-24 season, according to 59 percent of respondents. Hathaway played 257 games for Washington before getting traded at the 2023 deadline to Boston.
Bruins (correction: Hathaway signed with the Flyers this summer, which is way worse) will play the Capitals just three times this season – all after the new year: February, the end of March, and in the second-to-last game of the season. Hathaway got in three fights last season, twice against Patrick Maroon, who will be in Minnesota, so maybe he’ll be bored without Maroon around to punch.
You say Washington Capitals majority owner Ted Leonsis will not buy a major-league baseball team this year. Leonsis’s Monumental Sports & Entertainment currently owns the Capitals (NHL), Wizards (NBA), Mystics (WNBA), and various minor league teams. This year MSE completed its takeover of NBC Sports Washington, now rebranded as Monumental Sports Network. Monumental will be the home of most Capitals and Wizards games this season. Both NBA and NHL regular seasons end on the same day — April 14, 2024 — and yet only one-third of respondents think Leonsis will acquire a team from the MLB, whose season runs from March until September, despite MSE increasing its available cash by bringing in the Qatari sovereign wealth fund back in June.
Again, Ted just bought a TV network that runs all year long. He’s got stuff to show from October to April:
But you say he’s not going to buy a baseball that runs from March to October:
One quarter of respondents say last season’s 27th place team, the Arizona Coyotes, will be dead last this upcoming season. But the same number of respondents say the dishonor will belong to the San Jose Sharks, who placed 29th last season. Arizona will add 2022 first overall pick Logan Cooley to their lineup this season, while San Jose will play a full season without Erik Karlsson.
The Anaheim Ducks came in third with 16 percent of votes. One respondent said the Toronto Maple Leafs will be the worst team in the NHL. No one voted for Washington.
With 24 percent of the votes, the Carolina Hurricanes are your pick to win the Cup this season. The Canes won their division last season but got bounced in the conference finals by the Florida Panthers. Carolina are the favorites to win the Presidents Trophy according to both HockeyViz and The Athletic.
The Edmonton Oilers are a close second, with the Devils (and your Washington Capitals) not far behind for a bit of hometown bias. My prediction, the Dallas Stars, received 10 percent of votes.
Two people predicted the Coyotes will win the Cup, so in hindsight I’m not sure how seriously y’all were taking this.
RMNB is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.