Every year EA Sports does their annual simulation of the upcoming NHL season using the latest game in the series to try and predict who will be crowned as the Stanley Cup Champion. EA Sports released their sim using NHL 23 and shared the results, complete with regular season standings for all for NHL divisions and the Stanley Cup champion.
Upon first glance at the 2022-2023 Regular Season Division standings, there are a few predictions that really stand out over the rest of them. The first one is that NHL 23 predicts the Seattle Kraken to finish third in the Pacific Division, and in the process make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
This will only be the Seattle Kraken’s second season in the NHL and making the Stanley Cup Playoffs in their second year of existence seems like a stretch. The Seattle Kraken did get Shane Wright in the 2022 NHL Draft, but other than that, it seems like the Seattle Kraken would be towards the bottom of the Pacific Division if I had to guess.
Having the Vegas Golden Knights miss the Postseason is also something that is hard to imagine. The Vegas Golden Knights missed the playoffs last season for the first time in franchise history, but they were dealing with a ton of injuries. Coming into the 2022-2023 NHL season, if they can stay healthy, they should be a force to be reckoned with. Jack Eichel will also be playing from the start of the season which should help a lot for this Vegas Golden Knights team. If they can just figure out their goaltending situation, this team can really do damage and make it to the Postseason once again.
Finally, another upset that came out of the NHL 23 season sim was the New York Islanders taking the fourth spot in the Metropolitan Division and making the playoffs. This will be an interesting year for the New York Islanders. There are mixed reviews about this team going into this season. I think this is all going to rely heavily on if Matthew Barzal can really step up his offensive performance. Ever since his rookie season of having 85 points, Barzal has not managed to surpass more than 62 points in a season over the last four years. The New York Islanders did sign him to an 8-year, $73.2 million contract last week which is a huge risk in terms of his performance lately, but we shall see how it all turns out.
The regular season simulation was just the tip of the iceberg. EA Sports also did their NHL 23 official Playoff Simulation as well and it predicted the Pittsburgh Penguins to defeat the Colorado Avalanche in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. This is absolutely a real possibility. The Penguins’ core players are some of the best players in the world. There were doubts coming into the season as to what would happen to Evgeni Malkin and Christopher Letang, but they ended up staying in Pittsburgh and maybe that will propel them to win the Stanley Cup once again.
The Colorado Avalanche are clearly the best team in the NHL after winning the 2022 Stanley Cup. Their team this year looks good again on paper and I can see them making yet another run to win back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships.
EA Sports did an NHL 22 Playoff Simulation last year after the 16 teams were already confirmed. While their Playoff Simulation did turn out to be wrong, it did correctly predict one of the Stanley Cup Finals teams.
If EA’s NHL 23 Season Simulation turns out to be correct, there will be three new teams in this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. These teams would be the Seattle Kraken, Vancouver Canucks, and the New York Islanders. The NHL 23 Season and Playoff Simulations are always fun to keep up with to see what predictions actually come true and which ones turn out to be wrong. If there is one thing that we all know about sports, it is how unpredictable they can be and that there are surprises lurking around every corner. Will Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins hoist the 2023 Stanley Cup next June?