It's the time where, every year, I face the music by revisiting the 15 Fearless Forecasts I made just prior to the start of the season. The purpose isn't just to see how well – or poorly – I did, as for each I also determine the lesson(s) that can be learned from the outcomes to help us either make the same types of successful predictions in the future or to avoid falling into the traps I made which led to me being wrong. Although I'm not trying to excuse any mistakes, I want to reemphasize these were called Fearless Forecasts for a reason, as in making them I tried to stick with predictions that were plausible yet not ones likely to be seen from other prognosticators. Be sure to read to the end, as I'll also review how you did in terms of your votes in the poll that accompanied the original column.
How did I grade each Forecast? Even though this is about hockey, I have always used baseball terms for the grading. A "Hit" means the Forecast came true, a "Miss" means it didn't, while a "Strike Out" is reserved for predictions where I was way off base. Lastly, there are "Foul Tips," corresponding to Forecasts that technically did not come true, yet where I was definitely onto something. Without further ado, let's travel back in time to review – and learn from – what I was thinking before the puck dropped on 2021-22.
FORECAST – Neither Mark Stone nor Max Pacioretty will score 70 points
RESULT – HIT (Both had injury issues and failed to play in even half of Vegas' games)
LESSON(S) LEARNED – Certified Band-Aid Boys have that label for a reason; plus, when two players on the same line were so dominant compared to the third, their scoring likely was unsustainably elevate
As you'll see, several of my predictions were based on points per game, rather than straight points, as I wanted to factor in the possibility of injury. But here I was purposeful in not doing so, as I saw both of these two as injury risks given their Certified Band-Aid Boy status. Moreover, even if they'd played an entire season, Stone's points per game rate was 66 (down from 91) and Pacioretty's was 78 (down from 87), meaning I also was onto something in terms of their scoring rates dropping. My reasoning was that Chandler Stephenson, their linemate last season, had unsustainably low metrics, so he was bound take points away from them by hitting the scoresheet more this season, which he did when all three were healthy and playing together in the early going.
FORECAST – Alexander Wennberg will score at a higher points-per-game rate than Jared McCann
RESULT – STRIKE OUT (Wennberg's rate was 38, and McCann's rate was 55)
LESSONS LEARNED – Although sometimes struggling players can rebound when put into a new situation with a clean slate, it's rare; don't use small sample sizes; players who look