According to EA Vancouver, the developer responsible for NHL 19 and past iterations of the franchise, the Tampa Bay Lighting will win the 2019 Stanley Cup. The annual simulation takes place just before the start of the playoffs and predicts who will take home Lord Stanley’s mug, as well as a few smaller forecasts, like the Conn Smythe winner.
Checking out the simulation bracket shows a few interesting events that would be rather surprising if they came to pass, such as Colorado knocking off the best team in the Western Conference in the first round, the Calgary Flames. In the Eastern Conference, it has the Islanders beating the Penguins in the first round. Despite the Islanders having a better regular season, this would be a shock to objective hockey fans given the playoff experience and firepower of the Penguins.
After an awful start to the season the St. Louis Blues continue their obliteration of the rest of the league by knocking off three Stanley Cup contenders in Winnipeg, Nashville, and Las Vegas. They ultimately lose in the finals to Tampa Bay, but I would personally be surprised to see them make it out of the Western Conference.
While the Tampa Bay Lightning will win it all according to the simulation, the Presidents’ Trophy curse must be factored in. Since the Presidents’ Trophy was introduced in 1985-1986, only eight teams with the best record in the NHL regular season have gone on to win the Stanley Cup. In fact, the last five teams to win it have not won the ultimate prize, with the last team to do it being the 2012-2013 Chicago Blackhawks. I’m skeptical to call this a curse, however, as the Stanley Cup Playoffs is the most grueling tournament in sports and talented teams are often dispatched by those willing to bleed, lose teeth, and break bones to hoist the Stanley Cup.
A few more top stories from the simulation can be found below:
- Nikita Kucherov topped off an incredible season by taking home the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP after recording 13 goals and 31 points. This would put Kucherov in a position to be the fourth player in NHL history to win the Conn Smythe and Hart Trophy in the same season, a milestone that was only achieved by all-time greats Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr and Guy Lafleur.
- Despite losing in the Stanley Cup Final, Jordan Binnington continued his regular season dominance. Binnington went 15-11 while recording a .929 Save Percentage in the playoffs, finishing the playoffs with the best Save Percentage among all netminders in the postseason.
- With their loss, the St. Louis Blues remain tied with the Toronto Maples Leafs for the longest Stanley Cup drought in league history.
To read about some other predictions in more detail, visit the NHL 19 blog post by EA. You can also keep it locked on Shacknews for more NHL 19, and of course NHL 20 when it’s inevitably announced and given a proper release date.
Bill Lavoy posted a new article, Tampa Bay Lightning win NHL 19 Stanley Cup simulation