NHL 20 Playoffs Sim: Round Robin
Written by: Raffi Sarrafian
Image from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLkVC4bnMD8
With the NHL closing in on training camps, I thought now would be a wonderful time for an NHL play off and play-in simulation using NHL 20. EA does these every year before the season and before the playoffs, and for the most part they are pretty far off. However, in the spirit of playoff hockey coming soon, I decided it was time for a Hot shots media official NHL 20 simulation. Before we dive into the creation process as well as the round robin results, a quick reminder to those reading that this is a video game, so if your team loses in the first round or doesn’t win the cup in the simulation, it doesn’t mean that it will happen in real life. These aren’t my or anyone’s predictions, this is just seeing who NHL 20 thinks will win the cup this year so without further ado, let's dive in.
Before the simulation began, there were some protocols needed to be taken before we were all ready to go. First off was injuries. The most recent updated version of NHL 20 had injury scratches from early March, so I had to find out whether or not they will be healthy enough to play in the play-in and playoff rounds. How I did this was using rotoworld.com which has complete team injury reports to determine if the player would be good to go by the beginning of the season resume. If a player had any major brain injuries or big surgeries that seem a longer period of time to recover from, I decided it would be “safer” in this virtual world to have them scratched. Players I heard had begun practicing like Jake Guentzel , Vladimir Tarasenko, and Dougie Hamilton received the good to go from me, as they likely would be 100% by the resumption of play. Below is the list of players missing the play-ins and playoffs, and the list of players I believed will be good to go, but were initially listed as injured in NHL 20.
Columbus: Josh Anderson, Brandon Dubinsky
Chicago: Brent Seabrook, Andrew Shaw
Philadelphia: Nolan Patrick, Oskar Lindbolm
St. Louis: Jay Bouwmeester
Toronto: Andreas Johnsson
Washington: Brendan Leispic*
Winnipeg: Mark Letestu
* Brendan Leispic wasn’t injured, but he’s been cut by Washington and off to the KHL, so he was out, but not for injury reasons
Should be healthy and will be playing:
Seth Jones, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Calvin DeHaan, Jake Guentzel, James Van Riemsdyk, Max Domi, Tomas Tatar, Phillip Grubauer, Dougie Hamilton, Brett Pesce, Vladimir Tarasenko, Steven Stamkos, Ilya Mikheyev, Max Pacioretty, Alex Tuch, Mark Stone, Josh Leivo, Chris Tanev, Bryan Little, Sami Niku, Lucas Sbisa, Michael Ferland
Round Robin Simulation Results
One final note before we officially dive in. There’s a bit of confusion on whether or not there will be reseeding. To clear that up this simulation as well as the real life playoffs will consist of reseeding by the round, which I will be doing as well. Now, let's get into the round robin games. I wanted to get these out of the way first because they were more difficult to simulate in playoff mode, but also because we get the basis of how the top 4 looks. Below is the standings and new seeding of the round robin teams for the eastern and western conference respectively.
Round Robin Standings/Seeding
East Wins Losses OT/SO losses Points
1 Tampa Bay 2 1 0 4
2 Washington 1 1 1 3
3 Boston* 1 2 0 2
4 Philadelphia 1 2 0 2
*tie breaker over Philadelphia from regular season points percentage
It was shocking to see Boston lose 2 games in the round robin games, but other than that there wasn’t too much on the east side that was too crazy. Aside from Brayden Holtby shutting out the Bruins, the other two round robin games were pretty rough, allowing 5 goals to the Flyers, and 3 to Tampa. For only winning 1 game, the Flyers first line of Giroux, Couturier, and Voracek was the best first line of all the round robin teams with 5 out of their 8 goals scored in the round robin games coming from one of those 3 first line guys. From a seeding standpoint, Boston fell to 3, Tampa Bay and Washington hopped up a spot to seeds 1 and 2 respectively, and Philadelphia stayed put at 4.
West Wins Losses OT/SO losses Points
1 Dallas 3 0 0 6
2 Colorado* 1 1 1 3
3 Vegas 1 1 1 3
4 St. Louis 1 2 0 2
Unlike the Eastern Conference, the Western Conference proved to be well deserving of the title “the wild west”. The original seeding of the 4 west teams went St. Louis, Vegas, Colorado, Dallas. As you can see by the results, the Blues and Stars flipped seeds at 1 and 4, while Colorado and Vegas stayed put at 2 and 3. Ben Bishop recaptured his 2015 playoff fire with 2 shutouts in the 3 games, helping Dallas capture the 1 seed. Radek Faska of the Dallas Stars was spectacular in the 3 games with 4 goals, which was the most by any player out of the 8 teams playing in the round robin games. Jordan Binnington was extremely nervous this time around as he had an average save percentage of .874 in the 3 games he played.
In summary, Boston falls to 3, St. Louis and Dallas swap seeds, Radek Faska has a heck of a round robin performance, while Jordan Binngton did not. New seeding now goes as follows:
Tampa Bay Lightning
Vegas Golden Knights
St. Louis Blues
Next time, we will start diving into play-in series, and hopefully by the end of this playoff simulation, we will have our official NHL 20 Hot Shots Stanley Cup champion before the season resumes once again.