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Puck Daddy’s 2013 NHL Western Conference Staff Prognostications

Greg Wyshynski
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Earlier, we published our inaccurate nonsense masquerading as the Puck Daddy 2013 NHL Eastern Conference prognostications.

Now, like so many of our dead ancestors did, we go West.

We predict the division winners and the conference standings, offering pithy justification for both. Enjoy.

The panel consists of Sean Leahy, associate editor; Harrison Mooney, associate editor; Dmitry Chesnokov, senior writer; Ryan Lambert, columnist and man about town; Darryl "Dobber" Dobbs, fantasy hockey guru and founder of DobberHockey.com; and Greg Wyshynski, editor.

Central

Greg Wyshynski Sean Leahy Harrison Mooney Dmitry Chesnokov Ryan Lambert Dobber
Blues Blues Blues Blues Blackhawks Blues
Blackhawks Red Wings Blackhawks Predators Blues Red Wings
Predators Predators Red Wings Blackhawks Predators Blackhawks
Red Wings Blackhawks Predators Red Wings Red Wings Predators
Blue Jackets Blue Jackets Blue Jackets Blue Jackets Blue Jackets Blue Jackets

Northwest

Greg Wyshynski Sean Leahy Harrison Mooney Dmitry Chesnokov Ryan Lambert Dobber
Canucks Canucks Canucks Canucks Canucks Wild
Oilers Wild Oilers Wild Wild Canucks
Wild Oilers Avalanche Flames Oilers Oilers
Avalanche Avalanche Wild Avalanche Avalanche Avalanche
Flames Flames Flames Oilers Flames Flames

Pacific

Greg Wyshynski Sean Leahy Harrison Mooney Dmitry Chesnokov Ryan Lambert Dobber
Coyotes Kings Kings Kings Kings Kings
Kings Sharks Sharks Coyotes Coyotes Coyotes
Sharks Stars Stars Sharks Stars Sharks
Ducks Coyotes Coyotes Ducks Sharks Ducks
Stars Ducks Ducks Stars Ducks Stars

Greg Wyshynski, Editor

1. St. Louis Blues
2. Vancouver Canucks
3. Phoenix Coyotes
4. Chicago Blackhawks
5. Los Angeles Kings
6. Nashville Predators
7. Edmonton Oilers
8. Detroit Red Wings

The Blues return everybody, add Vladimir Tarasenko, and now have ownership in place so as to get aggressive in adding (offensive) pieces for a run at the Cup. Plus, the Elliott/Halak tandem seems tailor-made for a shortened season.

The Canucks will overcome early injuries and win the division, with Luongo on the roster or not. Phoenix has amassed an impressive group of talent to go along with Dave Tippett’s winning system. The Blackhawks will keep pace with the Blues. The Kings know they can finish anywhere from 1-8 and still challenge for a repeat. The Predators’ offense will offset the loss of Ryan Suter’s defense.

The two X-Factors: The Oilers, whom I believe will use a quick start to establish enough of a cushion to stay in a playoff spot despite their core’s inexperience; and the Red Wings, whose blue line was decimated but who bring back the NHL’s best coach and some all-world talent up front. I can’t in good faith pick the Red Wings to miss the playoffs … but it wouldn’t shock me.

Sean Leahy, Associate Editor

1. Vancouver Canucks
2. Los Angeles Kings
3. St. Louis Blues
4. San Jose Sharks
5. Detroit Red Wings
6. Nashville Predators
7. Phoenix Coyotes
8. Chicago Blackhawks

Out West, the Canucks will once again grab the Presidents' Trophy, but once again fail to earn the bigger, more important trophy at the end. The Kings will make another valiant run, but in the end fall short at the hands of the St. Louis Blues who will be even better under a full* season with Ken Hitchcock.

Harrison Mooney, Associate Editor

1. Los Angeles Kings
2. St. Louis Blues
3. Vancouver Canucks
4. Chicago Blackhawks
5. San Jose Sharks
6. Detroit Red Wings
7. Dallas Stars
8. Edmonton Oilers

Relatively unchanged since rolling through the playoffs, it seems a reasonable assumption that the Kings will continue to roll. And, in a short season where ties and shootouts are going to make a major difference, the Blues will eke out a win in the tough Central. As for the Canucks, they'll struggle, finishing fourth in points, but third thanks to the foregone conclusion that is a Northwest Division win.

The Oilers are my No. 8 pick. I think they start strong and fade as the year goes on, but the points they rack up early are enough to hold off the Coyotes, Wild and Predators in the final games of the season.

Dmitry Chesnokov, Senior Writer

1. St. Louis Blues
2. Los Angeles Kings
3. Vancouver Canucks
4. Nashville Predators
5. Chicago Blackhawks
6. Phoenix Coyotes
7. Minnesota Wild
8. Detroit Red Wings

I think it will be close between the Blues and the Kings for the top regular season honors. With or without Luongo the Canucks are a dangerous bunch, and the Predators are becoming a permanent playoff feature. The Wild may jump over their heads and the Red Wings will just squeeze in.

Ryan Lambert, Columnist

1. Vancouver Canucks
2. Los Angeles Kings
3. Chicago Blackhawks
4. St. Louis Blues
5. Phoenix Coyotes
6. Dallas Stars
7. Nashville Predators
8. Detroit Red Wings

As I said, I feel like it almost has to be Rangers over the Bruins in the East, and Blackhawks over Canucks in the West.

All four of these teams, along with the Kings and Penguins seem like the only legitimate Cup contenders, and I guess the reason I'm picking Rangers and Blackhawks over the Bruins and Canucks is there are fewer question marks (except, obviously, Corey Crawford being Chicago's goalie, which seems potentially problematic to me). While I think the Canucks are still a juggernaut, and still win the President's Trophy, I think it's more a factor of them being in the worst division in hockey once again.

Darryl “Dobber” Dobbs, Fantasy Writer

1. Los Angeles Kings
2. Minnesota Wild
3. St. Louis Blues
4. Vancouver Canucks
5. Detroit Red Wings
6. Chicago Blackhawks
7. Phoenix Coyotes
8. San Jose Sharks

Maybe I was too impressed by the Los Angeles Kings' postseason performance. But how easily they bulldozed through everyone really left a mark on me. And the Wild have healthy goaltending, which they didn't have last year - and that's more important than the hyped Zach Parise/Ryan Suter additions. Throw in my pick for the Calder Trophy (Mikael Granlund) and the Wild are No.2 in the West.

The Blues won't be left behind though. They'll win a lot of 2-1 and 1-0 games again, and lose some too. But they are built to win - and built for the playoffs.

San Jose is my pick for the biggest freefall. I say this even though they finished seventh in the conference last year. It just seems strange to see them sneak in at eighth like so many Calgary teams.

And before the Nashville fans get upset about my apparent oversight - I have them finishing with 52 points, while the Sharks end up at 53. The final weekend we'll decide much, as always.

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