Last year, EA Sports did a full simulation of the 2017-18 NHL season on NHL 18. Looking back, the simulation’s results were way off as it only got two things right — Connor McDavid winning both the Art Ross Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award.
The Vegas Golden Knights didn’t fare too well in the game’s predictions, as it had them finishing 29th in the league with 78 points. Pretty far off from their 109-point inaugural campaign.
This year, I decided to take matters into my own hands and do a simulation of the 2018-19 NHL season on NHL 19, and here is what went down.
Note: Nate Schmidt played the entire season and didn’t serve his 20 game suspension because NHL 19 sadly does not give you the power to suspend players from your team.
Regular Season Results
The Golden Knights kicked off the year with a scorching hot start, going 10-2-0 in the first month. Marc-Andre Fleury was injured in one of the first games, but Malcolm Subban filled in nicely, going 6-0-0 with a .936 save percentage and 1.84 GAA in Fleury’s absence.
They finished the season with a 46-32-4 record which was good for 96 points and a third-place finish in the Pacific Division behind the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks. They were 23-17-1 at home and 23-14-3 on the road.
The game decided to promote Max Pacioretty to the first line alongside Jonathan Marchessault and Karlsson early on in the season, and the move paid off big time. Pacioretty led the team with 43 goals and 32 assists while appearing in all 82 games. He also finished tied for fourth in the Rocket Richard race.
Paul Stastny, Reilly Smith and Erik Haula made up the second line, which saw both Stastny and Smith put up 50 points each and Haula 44.
Fleury appeared in 53 games, going 30-20-3 with six shutouts and an impressive .920 save percentage and 2.31 GAA. As a backup, Subban filled in quite nicely when called upon, going 14-11-1 with a .914 save percentage and 2.52 GAA.
Shea Theodore was solid in his first season under his new contract, averaging just over 23 minutes of ice time per game, chipping in nine goals and 22 assists.
The Golden Knights entered the postseason as the sixth seed in the West and faced off against their division rival the San Jose Sharks.
Things didn’t look great for the Knights as they dropped the first three games of the series, but after a shaky start, Fleury picked his game up by shutting out the Sharks in two straight games and eventually forcing a Game Seven.
Unfortunately, Fleury was injured in Game 6, which forced Subban to suit up in the series finale, but the Sharks proved to be too much for him to handle. He let in four goals on 23 shots, and with a final score of 4-3 the Knights were eliminated in the first round.
It’s Just A Simulation!
Well, at least the Knights bowed out to the eventual Stanley Cup Champions, right? Their second year in the league was by no means a failure based on the simulation’s results. They strung together a very solid season, but they didn’t repeat last year’s success in the playoffs. But hey, if we learned anything from last year’s simulation, it’s that the results can’t be trusted, right?
What do you think of this year’s simulation results? Will any of its predictions come true?