Wednesday, September 26, 2007

2007-08 Western Conference Forecast

Thanks to the whacky idea to play two games in England, ready or not here comes the NHL season this Saturday. I guess I better make a forecast like everyone else, just so we can re-visit this in about 6 months and look at how much of a dope I was....Here goes:

Central Division
1. Detroit Red Wings
2. St. Louis Blues
3. Nashville Predators
4. Chicago Blackhawks
5. Columbus BJs

--Detroit's the king of this division, Nashville took a huge step back. I like St. Louis as my surprise team...Adding Tkachuk, Kariya (cha-cha-cha) up front and #1 pick Erik Johnson to the blueline should be good enough to have them challenging for the last playoff seed. I like Chicago's core of talent, but I think they're going to need another year to get those young forwards up to speed.

Northwest Division
1. Vancouver Canucks
2. Colorado Avalanche
3. Calgary Flames
4. Minnesota Wild
5. Edmonton Oilers

--The top 4 in this division should all make the playoffs, their order is hard to predict, because each team has it's weakness: Luongo is the man for Vancouver but do they have the firepower? Colorado looks revamped by adding Ryan Smyth and Scott Hannan, but what's their goalie situation? Calgary has Kipper and a tough D, but what's that kook Iron Mike going to bring to the table? Minnesota has the raw talent, and defensive system, but keeping Gaborik off the shelf has has it's challenges. Edmonton will stink, but that's not news.

Pacific Division
1. San Jose Sharks
2. Anaheim Ducks
3. Dallas Stars
4. Los Angeles Kings
5. Phoenix Coyotes

--The Stanley Cup hangover is in effect for the Ducks, who may or may not have their captain Scott Niedermayer (great leadership and decision making their, Cap). Every year I pick San Jose to breakout out in a big way, and usually they disappoint. I like Dallas, but they just don't seem to have "it". LA could be a surprise team, but how will all their new faces mesh? Again, the only thing for sure is it's going to be a long season for #99, if he sticks with that club all year I'll be impressed.

Playoff teams (no particular order):
Detroit, Vancouver, San Jose (division winners)
Anaheim, Colorado, Calgary, Minnesota, Dallas

Just missing it (this year's Colorado, Montreal or Toronto):
St. Louis, LA

Somewhat competitive but not enough:
Chicago and Nashville

It's gonna be a long, cold winter:
Columbus, Phoenix, Edmonton

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