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. Arbitrator awards Sens’ Hoffman one-year, $2M contract

    Aug 3, 2015, 3:46 PM EDT

    Mike Hoffman Getty Images

    It’s another arbitration win for Ottawa.

  2. Poll: How soon will the Sabres make the playoffs?

    Aug 3, 2015, 3:15 PM EDT

    Tim Murray, Jack Eichel AP

    Pondering a rebuilding process that took a leap.

  3. Sabres’ biggest question: Defense

    Aug 3, 2015, 2:07 PM EDT

    Zach Bogosian, Boone Jenner AP

    Perhaps you can broaden this to “keeping the puck out of their net.”

  4. NHL ordered to turn over concussion data as part of lawsuit

    Aug 3, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    Beyond Sport United 2015 Getty Images

    The league estimates such a process could cost about $13.5 million.

  5. Looking to make the leap: Sam Reinhart

    Aug 3, 2015, 11:57 AM EDT

    Sam Reinhart Getty Images

    In all likelihood Jack Eichel is going to make the team, but what about Buffalo’s other second overall pick?

  6. Under Pressure: Robin Lehner

    Aug 3, 2015, 10:42 AM EDT

    Robin Lehner, AP

    This is his chance to prove he’s a real No. 1 goalie.

  7. It’s Buffalo Sabres Day at PHT

    Aug 3, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    150803-Jack-Eichel2 Getty Images

    The worst should be behind them.

  8. Poll: Is Boudreau the right coach to lead Anaheim to a championship?

    Aug 2, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT

    Bruce Boudreau AP

    Is his poor Game 7 record reflective of anything?

  9. Ducks’ Biggest Question: Is their window already starting to close?

    Aug 2, 2015, 7:30 PM EDT

    Ryan Kesler AP

    In other words, how much longer will Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, and Ryan Kesler stay at the top of their game?

  10. In Bernier, Leafs hope they have a stabilizing force

    Aug 2, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT

    Jonathan Bernier Getty Images

    His newly signed two-year deal is an opportunity for

  11. Looking to make the leap: Nick Ritchie

    Aug 2, 2015, 4:30 PM EDT

    Nick Ritchie Getty Images

    He’s got the size and skill to potentially make an impact.

  12. Under Pressure: Anaheim’s goaltenders

    Aug 2, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    150802_FrederikAndersen Getty Images

    Andersen, Gibson & Khudobin have a combined 27 Stanley Cup playoff games on their resume.

  13. Bernier, Leafs agree on two-year, $8.3 million deal

    Aug 2, 2015, 11:48 AM EDT

    Jonathan Bernier Getty Images

    That will eat up his first year of UFA eligibility.

  14. Anaheim Ducks ’14-15 Outlook

    Aug 2, 2015, 11:28 AM EDT

    Calgary Flames v Anaheim Ducks - Game Five Getty Images

    Can they close to final gap between them and the Stanley Cup?

  15. Erik Haula signs two-year extension with Wild

    Aug 2, 2015, 9:48 AM EDT

    Erik Haula Getty Images

    They avoided an arbitration judgment.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. D. Stepan (1969)
  2. J. Toews (1627)
  3. N. Bonino (1551)
  4. E. Fehr (1494)
  5. B. Gionta (1409)
  1. C. Wilson (1354)
  2. G. Bettman (1325)
  3. L. Couture (1274)
  4. A. Chiasson (1243)
  5. S. Couturier (1202)