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Western Conference Predictions

A few bloggers have made some predictions in the past couple weeks, but I am calling out the others to stick their necks out and make a call on how things MAY turn out, as we gear up for the 06/07 regular season. C'mon, it's damn fun!
Before I even started blogging, I used to write down my predictions on a piece of looseleaf paper, and then compare my results to the guys at Sportsnet, or The Hockey News, etc. Last year I predicted with the same accuracy as The Hockey News, so I know I can compete with them at least, as far as Nostradamus-values go!
Here is my final answers, Alex, for the Western Conference.

1. Flames. I think they made all the right moves in the off season to address their scoring issues and will walk over the NW Division.
2. Ducks. Add Pronger to a lethal mix of vibrant youth and this team is good to go. Doesn't hurt to have 2 great goalies either. I only don't rate them in #1 spot because of the tough Pacific Division.
3. Predators. If they don't take over the Central Division with Detroit being weaker, it would be a damn shame. Preds have it all.
4. Sharks. Just don't measure up to the Ducks' D, but they are close otherwise.
5. Stars. Lindros may be a part time fix, but the Stars are deep on D, at center, and they have Turco. The re-unification of Sydor-Zubov was a good move.
6. Red Wings. You can't lose Shanahan and Yzerman and finish higher in the standings. No way. But they do have the weaker Central division to keep them in the playoffs for now.
7. Avalanche. This is a tough one. But I think Theodore will persist and survive. More importantly, the Avs still have 2 forwards lines to kick the crap out of you. See Tapeleg's post on their youthful 2nd line, as I totally agree with him.
8. Oilers. No Pronger? No problem. I wouldn't put it past Lowe to trade for an established point-producing defenceman before the season ends...if they need it. There is a lot of offence in Edmonton, and they could even finish higher than 8th. I don't underestimate their blueline either.
9. Wild. Jacques Lemaire is NOT changing their defensive system, so he says. The acqusitions they made in the off season were good...Pavol Demitra and Kim Johnsson especially. Demitra will complement Gaborik, and Johnsson will put up the points plus run the powerplay. Oh, and Manny Fernandez is underrated!
10. Canucks. Sorry, Nuck fans, but this is a realistic projection. Luongo may be good , but the Canucks are going to score less, and have to re-adjust to Vigneault's new defensive system and new lines. Anything better than 10th will be a pleasant suprise. Hope it happens.
11. Kings. They could finish in 9th or 10th, but are playing in a division with Dallas, San Jose, and Anaheim. They are a team that is heading in the right direction, but is a couple or even a few years away from making the big dance. They sure have good defencemen though.
12. Blue Jackets. So much depends on the health of Rick Nash and even Adam Foote for the Jackets to be successful. Then again they do play in the weak Central Division, so they could finish a little bit higher...but not much.
13. Blues. I really hate the ranking the Blues this low in the West. Blues brass added so many key elements in the offseason like the experience of Guerin and Weight for an all-American top line, the shot-blocking wizard Jay McKee, the relentless checker Dan Hinote, and the fully capable goalie in Manny Legace. Maybe they will suprise...but nothing more than 11th spot at this stage of the game.
14. Coyotes. Adding Jovanovski is an improvement. But adding Owen Nolan and Jeremy Roenick is asking for trouble. I say gongshow in Phoenix, and grey hairs for Gretzky.
15. Black Hawks. There really isn't any need for explanation. What a disgrace this organization is now. Not even Havlat, Handzus, or Khabibulin can stop it!