Skip to content

PHT staff projects the Western Conference playoff teams

Oct 6, 2011, 1:17 PM EDT

Los Angeles Kings v Vancouver Canucks Getty Images

We fed you the Eastern Conference playoff picks earlier today and with those along with our Stanley Cup and awards predictions, you can piece together pretty well what we’re thinking about the NHL season. We’re not banking on you agreeing with us, this is just where we see things going for ourselves.

Don’t let that stop you from a supreme rant about how wrong we are though.

Joe Yerdon says:
1. Vancouver Canucks
2. Los Angeles Kings
3. Detroit Red Wings
4. Chicago Blackhawks
5. San Jose Sharks
6. Nashville Predators
7. Anaheim Ducks
8. St. Louis Blues

It’s tempting to put any one of a handful of teams into the eighth spot (Minnesota, Calgary, Dallas) but I’m buying into the Blues hype. Everyone else, however, should be the same as last season just rearranged in a different order. The West is loaded with great teams and nasty. If the NHL played with a balanced schedule now, the West would thump on the East with reckless abandon. Instead, they’ll feast upon the Oilers and Coyotes. Vancouver gets to be tops in the West by virtual attrition thanks to how bad the rest of the division will be. I’m not sold on Colorado pressing for the playoffs. Same goes for Columbus. Regardless, games out of the Western Conference are all worth watching as the whole thing is crammed with great talent.

James O’Brien says:
1.  San Jose Sharks
2.  Vancouver Canucks
3.  Chicago Blackhawks
4.  Los Angeles Kings
5.  Detroit Red Wings
6.  St. Louis Blues
7.  Nashville Predators
8.  Anaheim Ducks

The Sharks are built for the regular season, although their backup situation is worrisome. My guess is that the Canucks are a little banged up entering the season, but they should still run roughshod over a weak Northwest. Chicago and Detroit is becoming an annual coin toss; I’m leaning toward the Blackhawks because they got better during the off-season while the Red Wings made lateral moves – at best. The Kings have a chance to usurp the Sharks because of their strong defense and stable goalie duo, but I think they’re better suited for racking up wins in the playoffs than in the regular season.

The Blues are my mild dark horse team. I don’t like their defense, but their offense is deep and Jaroslav Halak was sneaky-good at times last season. The Predators and Ducks are polar opposites. Nashville lacks a single star scorer but is rock solid on defense and net; the Ducks boast three genuine superstar forwards (and one still-great winger in Teemu Selanne) but features a Swiss cheese defense and a Swiss goalie with an unclear health situation.

Matt Reitz says:
1. Vancouver Canucks
2. Los Angeles Kings
3. Chicago Blackhawks
4. San Jose Sharks
5. Detroit Red Wings
6. Nashville Predators
7. Anaheim Ducks
8. St. Louis Blues

The Canucks return most of the team that was the dominant team in the NHL last season—no reason to think they won’t be just as good this season. The Hawks should be substantially better because they know who their goaltender is going to be from the beginning of the season and because they won’t have a Cup hangover to deal with. Expect the Hawks to be back among the league’s elite next season. In the Pacific, the Kings had two huge weaknesses last season at center and left wing—and addressed both with Mike Richards and Simon Gagne. With another year experience for all of their young players, this should be the year they make the jump. The Ducks may take a step back—but a full season with Jonas Hiller means they’re still a playoff team. A healthy team in St. Louis and a full season of Chris Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk mean they should fulfill the expectations they had at the beginning of LAST season.

Disagree with all that? Let us know in our poll who you think will win the West.

Latest Posts
  1. Dmitry Orlov (wrist) ready after missing 2014-15

    Sep 3, 2015, 10:46 PM EDT

    Dmitry Orlov Getty Images

    He might serve on the Capitals’ third defensive pairing.

  2. Coyotes sign ’15 first rounder Nick Merkley

    Sep 3, 2015, 9:20 PM EDT

    Nick Merkley Getty Images

    He was Arizona’s second pick of the draft after Dylan Strome.

  3. Voynov detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

    Sep 3, 2015, 7:25 PM EDT

    Slava Voynov AP

    They took him under custody from jail and now he’s awaiting a hearing with an immigration judge.

  4. Calgary presents Ryan Wilson with PTO

    Sep 3, 2015, 6:25 PM EDT

    Ryan Wilson Getty Images

    Can he find a role with the Flames given their deep blueline?

  5. Interviewer: Raanta’s rooting against Hawks quote is real, but needs context

    Sep 3, 2015, 4:57 PM EDT

    Antti Raanta Getty Images

    “Antti was frustrated after Chicago send him [a] second time [to the] AHL and he told me truly how he felt.”

  6. Caps’ Backstrom won’t rush return from hip surgery

    Sep 3, 2015, 3:25 PM EDT

    Nicklas Backstrom Getty Images

    His availability for the season opener is in doubt.

  7. Seidenberg says trade rumors were ‘a slap in the face’

    Sep 3, 2015, 2:03 PM EDT

    Boston Bruins v Colorado Avalanche Getty Images

    Bruins d-man is using them as motivation for a bounce-back campaign.

  8. Wild hire ex-Oilers goalie coach Chabot

    Sep 3, 2015, 11:42 AM EDT

    Edmonton Oilers Headshots Getty Images

    Where he worked with — wait for it — current Minnesota starter Devan Dubnyk.

  9. Flames ‘haven’t been able to find something’ with still-unsigned Ferland

    Sep 3, 2015, 10:53 AM EDT

    ferland Getty Images

    In a shocking development, “money and term” are the sticking points.

  10. Ex-NHLer Peat pleads guilty to arson

    Sep 3, 2015, 10:03 AM EDT

    Stephen Peat skates Getty Images

    He could face up to five years in prison.

  11. Report: Pens’ owners seeking $750 million for sale of team

    Sep 3, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    Mario Lemieux Getty Images

    It would mark a record for the sale of a U.S.-based NHL team.

  12. Oilers, Flames AHL affiliates to play outdoor game

    Sep 2, 2015, 11:30 PM EDT

    gshr_raley

    Bakersfield and Stockton will play in West Sacramento, Calif. on Dec. 18.

  13. Report: Hawks’ Kane has not been asked to waive his no-move clause

    Sep 2, 2015, 10:00 PM EDT

    Patrick Kane Patrick Kane

    As many as five teams are reportedly interested in acquiring the 26-year-old.

  14. Wings’ Franzen: ‘I’m excited to try to get back and have a good year’

    Sep 2, 2015, 7:05 PM EDT

    Johan Franzen Johan Franzen

    The Swede hopes to be cleared of his latest concussion in time for the season opener.

  15. Blackhawks sign Nordstrom to a one-year deal

    Sep 2, 2015, 3:35 PM EDT

    Edmonton Oilers v Chicago Blackhawks Getty Images

    The 23-year-old appeared in 38 games with Chicago last season.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kane (1860)
  2. P. Kessel (1427)
  3. M. Richards (1218)
  4. N. Backstrom (1129)
  5. M. Giordano (1085)