To celebrate the release of EA Sports’ NHL 16, we simulated the entire 2015-16 season and it produced some interesting results. Calgary Flames fans are going to like how the regular season turned out, but New York Islanders captain John Tavares steals the show in the post-season.
New York Islanders fans can plan the parade, or at least NHL 16 seems to think so. With the release of EA Sports’ NHL 16 Tuesday, we took it upon ourselves to see what the league could look like in 2015-16 — or at least what the game is projecting will happen in the campaign through a full-campaign simulation of its season mode. The results actually weren’t too far-fetched, so long as you can picture the Islanders taking home the franchise’s fifth Stanley Cup.
A few notes, before we take a look at the simulations results, however. First, trading was turned off. Anyone who has played EA’s NHL series knows full well that during the course of a season, the non-human controlled teams have a penchant for making some bizarre deals. It’s not beyond reason that, with trades on, a full-season simulation of NHL 16 could end with Evgeni Malkin playing for the Dallas Stars and Jamie Benn lining up alongside Sidney Crosby. The likelihood of that actually occurring is slim. In addition, the out-of-the-box rosters for the latest instalment in EA’s NHL series doesn’t include any of the rookie players that could make the NHL this season. You won’t find Connor McDavid on Edmonton’s roster, Buffalo will be without Jack Eichel and Dylan Strome isn’t playing in Arizona. So keep that in mind when it comes to which rookie earns the Calder Trophy. So, with that in mind, here is how the standings shook out:
The Calgary Flames were the most dominant team in the league, dropping only 24 games in regulation all season and capturing the Presidents’ Trophy. The defensive additions seemed to help quite a bit, too, as Jonas Hiller was among the top-10 goaltenders in the league while not a single Calgary Flame cracked the top-10 in scoring.
In the post-season, the Islanders won three hard-fought series in order to take home the Stanley Cup. After a scare was put into the squad in the first round by the Detroit Red Wings, the Islanders emerged victorious in Game 7, moved on to sweep the Washington Capitals, bounced the Boston Bruins in seven and then won the Stanley Cup on the back of a Game 7 victory in Dallas. With an outstanding 19 goals and 34 points in 25 games, John Tavares took home the Conn Smythe Trophy.
Click bracket to enlarge. At the end of the season, Claude Giroux nabbed MVP honors, winning both the Hart Trophy and the Ted Lindsay Award while also picking up the Lady Byng Trophy for his gentlemanly play. For his play on the Arizona blueline, Oliver Ekamn-Larsson won the first Norris Trophy of his career with an 11-goal, 68-point campaign. One of the most shocking awards went to Keith Kinkaid, who took over for the injured Cory Schneider in New Jersey and won the Calder Trophy with a 16-23-6 record, .913 SP and 2.78 GAA. He was far from the Vezina Trophy winner, though. That honor went to Tuukka Rask whose 1.82 GAA and .941 SP were the best marks in the league. Not shockingly, the Rocket Richard Trophy went to Alex Ovechkin for what would be the fourth straight season. He was the only player to reach 50 goals in the simulated campaign. Whether or not any of these EA Sports NHL 16 simulated predictions come to pass is an entirely different story, but right out of the box, the New York Islanders are the NHL 16 champions.