For the first time in years, the Chicago Blackhawks aren’t among the most popular favorites to win the Stanley Cup. But nobody has crafted a more negative prediction for the Hawks than EA Sports’ NHL 18.
The underwhelming video game released its full-season simulation for the upcoming 2017-18 season and doesn’t even have the Blackhawks making the postseason.
That’s right, NHL 18 believes the Blackhawks will finish in 12th place in the Western Conference and sixth in the Central Division with only 86 points. That point total was ahead of only seven other teams league-wide, according to the simulation. In other words, NHL 18 expects the Hawks to go from the most points in the West to near the conference basement.
Listen, this isn’t to paint an optimistic, sunny picture about the Hawks this season. This very well could be the year Chicago’s dynastic roster drops off. The talent along the blue line is questionable at best outside of Duncan Keith and occasionally Brent Seabrook. The Blackhawks looked old and slow against the aggressive Nashville Predators.
But to project such a severe dropoff seems ludicrous. I could be eating my words come April, but it’s safe to say the Blackhawks will probably have more points than the Arizona Coyotes, who the game projects will somehow rack up 89 points this season.
The Blackhawks might not be the best team in their own division, but they should have enough to compete more than NHL 18 projects. Then again, it is a video game.