Last season, I didn’t get around to posting my forecasts for the Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets and Vegas Golden Knights’ rosters.
I kept track of everything before the 2019-20 season began and after each quarter mark (roughly 20 games) as I normally do, but I just didn’t quite have the time and/or motivation to do a write up here on the blog for each one– let alone any of them.
This season, I’m already behind in presenting my findings entering 2020-21, but I’ve prepared all four teams’ player forecasts as usual.
To kick things off, we’ll take a look at how the 2020-21 season could’ve panned out if all Bruins players were healthy entering the 56-game season, but by the end of the month, Boston will already be 20 games into the season (provided nothing else is postponed) so it’ll be time for an updated forecast.
For the rest of the teams– including the addition of the Colorado Avalanche for a total of five teams being tracked this season– we’ll just take a gander at how things looked coming into 2020-21 and where each player is tracking after their respective 20-game mark.
In other words, Boston gets two posts (this one and another one in March) while Carolina, Colorado, Columbus and Vegas will each get a joint “forecast before the season began and forecast through 20 team games played” post, probably.
If you’re a fan of those teams and my… …expertise(?), I’m sorry. Please be patient. You’ve already been waiting since the last forecast I published in the 2018-19 season.
If you’re a fan of the B’s, well good news, let’s get into the forecast details.
As always, keep in mind that my degree is in communication and my minor was in sport management. I got a “C” in my Intro to Stats class in my first semester of college way back in *checks notes* the fall of 2013.
It was a night class and it was terrible, but I digress.
First year players are impossible to predict until they’ve had at least one National Hockey League game under their belt.
Young players that have had minimal NHL experience may also reflect “inflated” results.
No, Zach Senyshyn probably isn’t going to have 28 assists this season, but since he has two assists in six games over the last two seasons (his entire NHL career), the forecasting function in Microsoft Excel does math stuff based on his entire career as it would relate to if he played in all 56 games for Boston this season.
This will fix itself as the season progresses.
The same goes for Jack Studnicka’s forecasted 28 assists. Entering 2020-21, Studnicka has only played in two NHL games since just last season.
He’s already had a goal in six games this season and in the next forecast (after 20 team games played), he’ll likely be forecasted to have 1-8–9 totals by season’s end (assuming he plays in the remaining 36 games).
Forecast is different from pace.
Injuries, being a healthy scratch or on the taxi squad, other American Hockey League related or waiver related transactions, sickness, COVID protocol and general superstitions (getting enough sleep the night before a game, taping your stick a certain way every time, putting on the right skate before the left skate or whatever) may disrupt a player’s season.
These variables– tangible or not– are part of the game and cannot be accounted for in your everyday “straight up” forecast.
In an utopian timeline, this forecast pretends nothing bad could ever happen and every player has a chance to live up to their expectations. Of course, some will pan out, some will exceed expectations and some will miss the mark.
It’s merely a suggested outcome for a sport that’s highly unpredictable because of its collectivistic nature and sheer puck luck.
Boston Bruins Forecast Through 0 Games (56 Games Remaining)
Had the 2019-20 season gone according to schedule, David Pastrnak might not have missed any time to start the 2020-21 season.
Nevertheless, we’ll pretend that an alternate timeline stills exists for a moment and mention that if he had played in all 56 games this season, he was forecasted to lead the Bruins with 26-29–55 totals.
Brad Marchand was forecasted as the next highest scorer with 21 goals and 47 points, while David Krejci looked to lead the B’s in assists (29).
Of course, none of this is how it really happened, but Pastrnak is still off to a hot start, Marchand is feeling “100-percent” and Krejci is only now just about to miss game action, having not traveled with the team to Lake Tahoe for their outdoor matchup with the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday night.
Senyshyn and Studnicka’s assist totals have been highlighted in the chart above in reference to what’s already been stated in the introduction to this post.
Newcomer, Craig Smith, was forecasted to hit the twine 13 times and accrue 14 assists for 27 points this season, while Ondrej Kase was expected to notch 27 points in a 56-game season prior to injury.
On defense, the loss of Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug is expected to be felt on the scoresheet, though we’re likely to see Charlie McAvoy’s stock rise in the next forecast after 20 team games played.
Speaking of McAvoy, he was expected to lead the team in points from the blue line entering the 2020-21 season with 6-22–28 totals.
In goal, Boston’s poised for another strong run from their goaltending tandem of Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak.
Though Rask is likely to get more starts than Halak, the two are prime for producing similar numbers this season in differing workloads.
Rask is set for another season with a goals against average in the low two’s, between 2.28 and 2.34, while Halak is right on track for being one of– if not– the best “backups” in the league with a forecasted GAA between 2.48 and 2.72.
Stay tuned for the next forecast in about four games– however soon that will be, provided nothing else is postponed and the Bruins can avoid piling up names on the league’s COVID Protocol list.