I picked this picture because it's ridiculous. - Justin K. Aller
Penguins nearly sweep HP's preseason Hart and Stanley Cup picks. Let's take a look.
Nine Hockey Prospectus writers got together and made preseason predictions this past weekend and the results should lift the spirits of fans of the Penguins. Let's look at a quick rundown:
- Five writers—Timo Seppa, Ryan Wagman, Robert Vollman, Matthew Coller, and Ryan Schwepfinger—all picked Sidney Crosby to win the Hart Trophy. Of the four remaining writers, three—Corey Pronman, Jonathan Willis, and John Fischer—picked Evgeni Malkin. The lone holdout was Matthew Pfeffer, who went with Tyler Seguin, a pick that has the possibility of making him look like some sort of prophet if it turns out to be a valid choice at season's end. As a bonus prediction, Vollman also said that Malkin would take home the Art Ross trophy.
- While nobody picked a (peck of pickled) Penguin for Vezina, Norris, or Calder, Seppa and Fischer chose Dan Bylsma for Jack Adams. If they're correct, this would be his second win.
- In a lockout-shortened season, it's debatable how meaningful a President's Trophy is, but there's no questioning its utility for playoff seeding. Pronman, Vollman, Willis, and Fischer picked the Penguins to have the best record after 48 games.
- Most importantly, of course, is the Stanley Cup. Six of the writers picked the Penguins to win the most coveted award in hockey. Seppa and Willis think it will be against the Canucks; Pronman and Coller believe the Penguins will beat the Blackhawks; Vollman has the Pens beating the Blues; and Fischer says that they'll beat the Sharks. Nobody had the Penguins making the finals without winning.
- The HP team then went on to make some predictions about some less tangible things. None of the group picked the Penguins as a dark horse team, which makes sense given that they're widely considered to be a Stanley Cup favorite; neither did any of the writers pick the Penguins as their choice of teams that would flop.
- Coller chose new Penguin center Brandon Sutter to be his surprise player of the year. So far that prediction's looking pretty good. Thankfully, no writer thought that any Penguin player would be a notable disappointment this season.
- Last but not least, there were two Random NHL Predictions that impact the Penguins somehow. Corey Pronman, who picked the Penguins to win the President's Trophy and the Stanley Cup, made the prediction that a 5-8 seed would win the Stanley Cup because of the shortened season. More interestingly, Matthew Coller predicted that current backup Tomas Vokoun would start all of Pittsburgh's playoff games. Let the controversy begin?