At the beginning of the 2011-12 season we conducted our annual poll of the commentariat on who would lead the New York Islanders in various stat categories, and by how much.
Do you remember what you picked? Are you afraid to look? Now it's time to bow, or cower, depending on the question.
Looking back at that thread, I'm struck by how the very first response, from Nova Scotia Isles Fan (one of our many Nova Scotia-based readers), just about nailed the first three questions. (Never mind the fourth question; Frans Nielsen fell well short of that lofty +/- figure.)
Below are the questions, with the "correct" answers from the last two seasons. How did you do?
Which Islander in 2011-12 will have:
1. The most points? (2010-11: John Tavares, 67) 2011-12: Tavares, 81
2. Most goals? (2010-11: Michael Grabner, 34) 2011-12: Moulson, 36
3. Most assists? (2010-11: Tavares, 38) 2011-12: Tavares, 50
4. Best +/-? (2010-11: Frans Nielsen/Grabner, +13) 2011-12: Hamonic, +6
5. Most PIMs? (2010-11: Zenon Konopka, 307) 2011-12: Matt Martin, 121
6. Highest TOI per game -- defense & forward (2010-11: Andrew MacDonald 23:25, Tavares 19:15) 2011-12: Streit/MacDonald, 23:22; Tavares, 20:34
7. Best GAA? (2010-11: Al Montoya, 2.39) 2011-12: Evgeni Nabokov, 2.55
8. Best save percentage? (2010-11: Kevin Poulin, .924) 2011-12: Nabokov, .914
9. Most shorthanded goals? (2010-11: Nielsen, 7) 2011-12: Bailey, 3
10. Most powerplay goals? (2010-11: Tavares, Matt Moulson, P.A. Parenteau, 9 each) 2011-12: Moulson, 14
11. Which defenseman scores the most goals? (2010-11: Hamonic, 5) 2011-12: Streit, 7
12. Who plays the most games? (2010-11: Moulson/Konopka, 82) 2011-12: Streit/Nielsen/Moulson/Tavares, 82
BONUS: Who plays more NHL games this year -- Nino Niederreiter, Milan Jurcina, or Ty Wishart? 2011-12: Jurcina (65), Nino (55), Wishart (1)
Again, going back through the picks I'm impressed how many people had Tavares evolving to around a point per game and tagging him at around 50 assists.
On the other side of the coin, it's sad to see how many expected Michael Grabner to reach close to 40 goals. If his spurt of goals last year and that huge chunk of shorties (a figure that fluctuates year to year) didn't sway you, this seasons drop in shots and fall to 20 goals overall should reset expectations for Grabner at more of a 20-30 goal scorer, probably 25-35 at most.
One selfish reason for this poll though is the "wisdom of crowds" theory: Get enough reasonable respondents and we might have a quite reasonable norm. (Alas, I'm not doing the math on everyone's responses. Sorry.) It looks like I didn't make any picks in that thread myself, which was either to prevent my picks from biasing the crowd, or because I'm a coward. Maybe both.
Lenny, Nino and Wishart Walk into a Bar...
Finally, it's funny to see how the bonus question worked out: Jurcina tends to spend some time on the shelf or the pressbox each year (though 70 games is about right for most defensemen), and had Niederreiter not experienced two injury spells he very well may have matched Jurcina's games played. (When I asked the question, I had in mind both the wild card of whether Niederreiter would stay in the NHL the whole year as well as the expectation that rookies of his type tend to get their share of healthy scratches.)
Meanwhile, I'm not sure anyone expected Wishart would follow up his 20-game trial in 2010-11 by barely being seen, appearing in just one NHL game in 2011-12 -- and an emergency road start in St. Louis at that.
But that's why we do surveys like these.