Public opinion in general has a strong sense that Boston will be better or at least as good as last year. Over 60% of the general public thinks they are a playoff capable team.
The falconer asked: Any comments on why Boston falls so hard in your East projections?
My predictions suggest that Boston will loose 14 points over last year taking them from a competitive 94 points to a paltry 80 points.
Here are my reasons why:
Last year Boston scored 212 goals for 3rd worst in the East. They were successful at preventing goals thanks to some great defense and goaltending. You can calculate how many points Boston should have had given their goals for and against using the Pythagorean expectation or 2122/(2122+2222) = 0.477. Multiply that by 82 games and 2 points per game and add on the 10 bonus OTL games (average): 82*2*0.477 + 10 = 88.2 or 88. The main point here is Boston gained about 6 points from what I would consider is mostly luck.
Last season Boston was predicted to be either 14th or 15th in the East depending on who you asked. Not much has changed since then and yet they've gone from a complete disaster to a competitive team?
Now what has changed since last year
Glen Murray is out.
Metropolit is out.
Auld is out, Fernandez is out.
Rask is backup.
Michael Ryder is in.
For the most part Ryder replaced Murray's offense.
However the team has lost Metropolit as well (who is a good depth scoring player)
Since Savard & Sturm had less than stellar starts to their careers their career point averages are lower than maybe we would expect them to be in the upcoming season. This means I've likely underestimated Boston's offense.
Either way, Boston will have difficulty scoring goals and will need amazing defense and goaltending to make the playoffs. 80 points might be a low predictions, but 95 points would be too high for sure.
It's amazing how things change in one year.