EA Sports’ NHL 16 was released Tuesday and The Hockey News went ahead and performed a simulation of the 2015-16 NHL season. They did the simulation of it in season mode and turned off trades, of course. Trades are very unpredictable, so there is no point in having them on. There were also no 2015 NHL draftees in the league. That means no Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel or Dylan Strome. Although that may have hurt the chances of Edmonton and Buffalo, it probably would have left little effect on the rest of the league.
So who won the Stanley Cup?
The New York Islanders.
After a seven-game series with the Dallas Stars, the Islanders take home the Stanley Cup for the fifth time in team history and for the first time since 1983.
However, the road to the Cup was not that easy. The came in first in the Metropolitan Division with 104 points, which would have been their largest total since 1984. Our rivals from Madison Square Gardens came in second in the Metro with 97 points. However, the Ottawa Senators came in tops in the Eastern Conference with 108 points. The Senators coming first in the conference might sound pretty surprising, but we must not forget their unforgettable run they had at the end of last season.
The Dallas Stars and Calgary Flames also tied Ottawa with 108 points. A huge reason why Calgary was so good is because of Jonas Hiller’s amazing play, who had the top goals against average in the league (2.13). However, that can be contributed to the Flames’ loaded defence roster.
In the first round, the Detroit Red Wings took the Islanders to seven games, but the Isles took it at home in game seven. They then swept the Washington Capitals easily in the second round before encountering another tough series against Boston in the Eastern Conference Finals. However, home ice advantage was one the Islanders’ side as they beat the Bruins in the seventh game.
This led the Islanders to the Stanley Cup Finals, where they would have probably been pitted as the underdogs against the Stars. The Stars had a better record in the regular season and had a relatively easier path to the finals.
Things just kept going the Islanders’ way and they grinded through another seven game series onto winning the Stanley Cup. John Tavares won the Conn Smythe.
It is very uplifting for Islanders fans to see this, however it should not be taken too seriously. I mean, if someone thought that the Islanders would win 50 games (like how they did in the game), then people would think that the person is insane. Especially considering that they did not improve their roster drastically over the offseason.
But who knows? Maybe the Islanders are better than we thought.
You can read about the entire simulation here.