## A desperate glimmer of simulated hope

I had some free time recently and I decided to do a little experiment.

The validity of my analysis is certainly questionable

I simulated the entire 2010-2011 Avalanche season in in NHL11, using some aggravatingly exact injury and line records from even this very site to get lineups, and starting goaltenders exactly right.

I also began with the correct starting rosters from the beginning of the year and made the necessary trades as the season went along (with some occasional difficulty which required draft picks for occasional wheel greasing)

I know its just a video game, but a lot of work has been put into the AI system, and I did some testing to find the correct equilibrium difficulty for simulation.

Here are my results for 20 experimental seasons with an exact replica of this year's Avalanche roster

77pts, Missed playoffs

81 pts, Missed playoffs

54 pts, Missed playoffs

61 pts, Missed playoffs

90 pts, 1st round elimination in 6

72 pts, Missed playoffs

77 pts, Missed playoffs

88 pts, Missed playoffs (barely)

93 pts, Swept in 1st round

62 pts, Missed playoffs

70 pts, Missed playoffs

42 pts, Missed playoffs (awfulness on a bizarre level)

68 pts, Missed playoffs

72 pts, Missed playoffs

78 pts, Missed playoffs

84 pts, Missed playoffs

59 pts, Missed playoffs

75 pts, Missed playoffs

52 pts, Missed playoffs

88 pts, Eliminated in 2nd round in 5

I ended up with an average of a 72.15 point season and a team well out of the playoffs with a standard deviation od 13.8 points. Meaning NHL11 predicts that the 2010-11 Avalanche should be almost exactly what they were.

Here is the hopeful part. I repeated this test with the 2011-2012 season.

The idea: What If the Avalanche had only average injury numbers (man games lost) , and above average goaltending.

To video game simulate this, I made one game attribute change to Brian Elliott. There is a trait called "consistency" measured as a 0, 1, or 2. The game has Elliott as a 1. I moved him to a 2 to create a fictional Brian Elliott who pays attention regularly rather than sign a free agent and open my self up to much deserved ridicule.

From the numbers I found, the average man games lost for NHL teams this year was 230 games which averages out to 12.778 games lost per player for a roster of 18 (not counting goalies). Therefore for the simulation, I would bench every player for 12 or 13 games total.

The new roster included healthy Flash, healthy Mueller, Healthy Quincey, Joey Hishon (at prospect talent level), Gabriel Landeskog (below a really "NHL caliber" level, and Stefan Elliott and Joel Chouinard developing enough for end of the year ice-time. No Pickard and no Barrie yet. No major free agency signings (as in no NHL level players signed)

The rotation of AHL guys called up varied every time through, so account for that, if you value this at all.

My results for 20 seasons:

81 pts, Missed playoffs

94 pts, 2nd round elimination

89 pts, 3rd round elimination

78 pts, Missed playoffs

82 pts, Missed playoffs

90 pts, Missed playoffs (by a hair)

72 pts, Missed playoffs

85 pts, Missed playoffs(close again)

92 pts, Swept in 2nd round (damn Canucks)

91 pts, 2rd round elimination

88 pts, 1st round elimination

79 pts, Missed playoffs

82 pts, Missed playoffs

56 pts, Missed playoffs (WTF?)

91 pts, 1st round elimination

84 pts, Missed playoffs

98 pts, 3rd round elimination

93 pts, 1st round elimination

76 pts, Missed playoffs

86 pts, Missed playoffs

This predicts an average of an 84.35 point season and a standard deviation of 9.4 pts. Which is good enough to put a team in lower seeded playoff spot contention more often than not. Not a team built for a deep playoff run, but one that can scare people if they go in hot.

There ya go.

Take this for what its worth. Many of you I'm sure will consider this type of thing completely stupid, and it may be, but I think there may be something substantive here to offer some optimism for the Avs next year and maybe a theoretical stab at just what injuries and poor goaltending meant to the 2010/11 Avalanche.

MileHighHockey.com is a fan community, allowing members to post their own thoughts and opinions on the Colorado Avalanche and hockey in general. These views and thoughts may not be shared by the editors of MileHighHockey.com.

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