The Texas Stars are going to win the West Division and reclaim the John D. Chick Trophy this season, or at least that’s what the video game NHL 14 tells me.
According to my season simulation the Texas Stars are going to go 42-26-8, good for 92 points, and enter the Western Conference playoffs as the second seed. Unfortunately for virtual Texas fans, the seventh-seeded Hamilton Bulldogs will win the first-round series in four games on their way to a shocking Calder Cup victory.
Now before I go any further, let me explain how the simulation worked and explain some of the ground rules:
-In this simulation an NHL season did not exist. Therefore call-ups did not impact the standings or statistical output of individual players.
-I had to create a couple players that will be Texas Stars and aren’t in the original copy of NHL 14 or in the most recent roster update, which came out on Sept. 9. I had to create Chris Mueller, Brett Ritchie, Curtis McKenzie, Jordie Benn and Taylor Peters.
-I did not do this for all the other AHL teams, I’m not crazy.
Texas Stars month-by-month record
As you can see, virtual Texas started out the season in impressive fashion and dominated October. Texas went a perfect 10-0 in the season’s first month and didn’t lose a regulation game until mid-November.
That’s a great start, but it didn’t carry over for much of the season. After the initial 10-game run the virtual Stars went 32-28-8 during the final 66 games of the season. That’s OK, but not nearly the performance virtual Cedar Park Center fans were hoping for after a perfect October.
Texas Stars statistical leaders (skaters)
Travis Morin: 20 goals, 44 assists, 64 points
Curtis McKenzie: 32 goals, 22 assists 54 points
Colton Sceviour: 21 goals, 38 assists, 59 points
Toby Petersen: 19 goals, 27 assists, 46 points
Scott Glennie: 17 goals, 26 assists 43 points
Mike Hedden: 16 goals, 27 assists, 43 points
Kevin Connauton: 11 goals, 31 assists, 42 points
Brett Ritchie: 18 goals, 17 assists, 35 points
Chris Mueller: 14 goals, 16 assists, 30 points
Justin Dowling: 10 goals, 18 assists, 28 points
Cameron Guance, 4 goals, 24 assists, 28 points
It was a pretty balanced scoring output for Texas in this simulation, which is pretty accurate to the actual 2012-13 season (even though that was an odd season with the NHL lockout).
Curtis McKenzie led the team in goals with 32, while Travis Morin tallied 44 assists playing on a line with Chris Mueller and Colton Sceviour.
McKenzie also led the team with 15 power play goals, making virtual fans happy with Pluckers coupons.
On defense, Kevin Connauton and Cameron Gaunce were a force offensively. Connauton dished out 31 assists and finished at team-high plus 26, while Gaunce added 24 assists and finished plus 23.
If you were wondering, this is the line up I set for the majority of the season. There were a couple injuries that tweaked things slightly (Max Fortunus missed a lot of games with a knee injury), but this was the normal look:
Travis Morin-Chris Mueller-Colton Sceviour
Mike Hedden-Justin Dowling-Brett Ritchie
Curtis McKenzie-Scott Glennie-Taylor Peters
Luke Gazdic-Toby Peterson-Francis Wathier
Jamie Oleksiak-Maxime Fortunus
Cameron Gaunce-Kevin Connauton
Jordie Benn-Patrick Nemeth
Jack Campbell: 34 GP, 2.51 GAA, 14-17-3, .912 SV, 4 shutouts, 2 assists
Cristopher Nilstorp: 49 GP, 2.17 GAA, 29-13-5, .924 SV, 5 shutouts
I tried to make the goaltending situation as accurate to real life as possible. I would adjust the lineup so the goalies started the season with equal starts (splitting back-to-backs, for example) before Nilstorp really started outplaying Campbell in late March.
Even though Campbell got outplayed by Nilstorp late in this simulation, his goals against average, save percentage and shutouts would all be career bests. For Nilstorp, this simulation’s stats would be a major improvement from last season and the save percentage is higher than anything he posted professionally during his time Sweden (from what I can find).
Iowa 48-21-7, 103 points
Rockford 45-28-3, 93
Chicago 37-30-9, 83
Grand Rapids 30-38-8, 68
Milwaukee 29-41-6, 64
Lake Erie 42-26-8, 92
Rochester 42-26-8, 92
Hamilton, 41-30-5, 87
Toronto 33-32-11, 77
Utica 30-40-6, 66
Texas 42-26-8, 92
Oklahoma City 43-28-4, 90
Charlotte 37-30-8, 82
San Antonio 31-34-11, 73
Providence 46-17-13, 105
St. John’s 47-24-5, 99
Portland 36-31-8, 80
Worcester 33-38-5, 71
Syracuse 43-22-11, 97
Hershey 44-27-5, 93
Norfolk 38-34-4, 80
Binghamton 32-34-10, 74
WB/Scranton 32-34-10, 74
Springfield 40-25-11, 91
Adirondack 43-31-2, 88
Albany 36-35-5, 77
Bridgeport 35-35-6, 76
Hartford 32-33-11, 75
Hamilton defeated Springfield in seven games to win the Calder Cup, this was the East and West playoff bracket: