After a long 82 game season the chase for the Stanley Cup has finally begun. Despite some teams dominating the regular season and others sneaking in on the last day, anything is possible once the playoffs begin. Although nothing can truly predict what will happen in this year’s playoffs, I wanted to see what NHL 17 thought was going to happen, thus running a playoff simulation.
For starting this I made sure all of the team’s current rosters were up to date taking off any player who may be injured (although leaving any player who was meant to be returning by the time the playoffs started). Then after setting up the proper seeding I let the simulation begin.
The results of the quarterfinals we’re a bit shocking to say the least. Out of the eight matchups, 6 series were finished in 5 games along with the Boston Bruins sweeping the Ottawa Senators and the Calgary Flames defeating the Anaheim Ducks in 6 games. These results set up an interesting Conference Semi-Finals with the Washington Capitals getting a rematch against the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Boston Bruins going up against their rival from the north, the Montreal Canadiens. In the West the Chicago Blackhawks took on the Minnesota Wild for the third straight year and the San Jose Sharks battled the Calgary Flames.
For the third time in five years the Chicago Blackhawks were able to reach the Western Conference Finals after defeating the Wild in 5 games along with the Sharks extinguishing the Flames in 6 games. The Capitals finally were able to move past their second round hurdle defeating the Penguins in 7 games (this would be an intense series if it played out in real life) and the Bruins defeated the Canadiens in 6 games. This set up an incredibly exciting Conference Finals which I could see taking place this season.
After making it to their first Stanley Cup Final appearance last season, the Sharks defeated the Blackhawks in 7 games and made a return trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. Despite the Capitals conquering the second round hurtle that has haunted them for years, they were unable to advance to their first Stanley Cup Finals since 1998 and the Bruins defeated the team in 6 games.
After 7 hard fought and close games, the San Jose Sharks eliminated the Boston Bruins and won their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Along with winning their first Stanley Cup, Logan Couture won the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP after tallying 24 points in 25 games consisting of 8 goals and 16 assists. Following Couture, the leading scorers on the Sharks consisted of Brent Burns (18 points), Joe Thornton (17 points) and Joe Pavelski (16 points).
Although these matchups are 100% simulation and have no real ability to tell who will win the Stanley Cup this year, I still think many of these matchups are possible and the San Jose Sharks have a serious shot at winning the Stanley Cup.