It may be finally time to admit we were wrong about the Golden Knights.
Six members of the Review-Journal sports staff took stabs in October at how the team would fare during its debut season, and we fared about as well as a slap shot headed toward Marc-Andre Fleury.
Our predictions ranged from a high of 31 wins (columnist Ed Graney would like to remind everyone this was him) to a low of 20 (yikes, Sam Gordon). At least the Knights wasted no time making us look foolish, as the team surpassed all our predicted win totals by the end of January.
“The Golden Knights surpassed my prediction of 27 wins on Jan. 5 at Chicago and made me look even more ridiculous by winning the Pacific Division,” beat writer David Schoen said. “But the part about selling jerseys and stockpiling draft picks? Nailed it.”
This naive Minnesotan who thought he knew all things puck thought the Knights would struggle to score and all they did was finish with the fourth-most goals in the NHL. That scoring depth I was worried about? Turns out it was one of the team’s biggest strengths.
Who could have seen that coming? Certainly not us. Here’s what we have to say for ourselves before the Stanley Cup Final begins Monday:
Ed Graney, columnist
“I would like to remind everyone that I predicted more wins for the Knights than anyone on staff, that it was a combination of expertise and analytics and years and years of studying everything from on-ice save percentages to O-zone faceoffs. But then my conscience would kick me in the head and I would have to admit that I had absolutely no clue what to predict, simply looked at last year’s standings, picked out the record of your average sixth-place team in a division and thought — what the hell? — sounds good to me.”
Ron Kantowski, columnist
“Back in October, I said if the Knights won 29 games, it would be one more than the Columbus Blue Jackets and three more than the Minnesota Wild won in 2000 during their inaugural seasons. I also said the mileage on your Zamboni may vary. I am now prepared to strap myself and my prediction into said Zamboni and drive it off a cliff like Thelma and Louise.”
David Schoen, beat reporter
“The Golden Knights surpassed my prediction of 27 wins on Jan. 5 at Chicago and made me look even more ridiculous by winning the Pacific Division. But the part about selling jerseys and stockpiling draft picks? Nailed it.”
Steve Carp, beat reporter
“I thought I was being generous with the 29 wins I predicted, and that was obviously wrong. And I said hold off on any parades in June, and it looks like that’s going to be wrong, too.”
Ben Gotz, staff writer
“At least I thought Fleury would be good? Other than that, this team has proven me wrong at literally every turn. Shout out to guys like William Karlsson, Erik Haula and Alex Tuch for making me look foolish for doubting this forward group.”
Sam Gordon, staff writer
“Ooph. Boy, was I wrong. But if the price of being wrong is a source of euphoria in my adoptive hometown, then I’ll gladly eat crow with a side of Sriracha.”