Pre season predictions, in general, are complete garbage. They help out with some preseason story lines and deciding what teams are disappointing and which are surprises. I mean, they are fun, certainly, and we have been known to produce a few of them around here, but the only way to determine the best teams in the league is to go out and play the games. Still, there is enough information there, usually, to be able to know what to look for as the season unfolds.
Yeah, not so much this year. Things that would be minor blips during a regular 82 game, stretched out schedule are going to be complete catastrophes in a cramped 48 game schedule. Consider, a key player gets injured and is expected to miss 2 weeks. That would be about 5 games, we'll call it. That would be about 6% of the schedule. Not really a major dent.
Now, take a look at that same player getting nicked up and missing 2 weeks this season. Teams are playing about 8 games every 2 weeks, and are playing only 48 games. Missing two weeks would mean missing almost 17% of the season. Using those metrics, an injury is nearly 3 times more influential on the overall season this year as it is during a normal season.
Not only that, but teams have only had a week to get to know each other and the systems, not to mention the additional fatigue of playing a more cramped schedule. What I'm saying is, with the way this season sets up, we can make assumptions about talent levels based on a normal season, but there is so much luck involved that those assumptions are going to be blown out of the water.
Anything could happen this year, because luck is going to be an even bigger factor than usual.
What the hell, one prediction. Blue Jackets in the playoffs!