Puck Daddy - NHL

Puck Daddy’s 2011-12 NHL Western Conference Prognostications

On Wednesday, we presented you with our 2011-12 NHL Eastern Conference prognostications, many of which will prove to be accurate and many of which we'll just pretend never happened by the end of the season.

Now it's time to break down the Western Conference standings with our usual blend of half-baked logic and bravery in the face of inevitably folly.

Who will emerge from the West as a Stanley Cup Finalist? Who makes the cut? Who missed the cut? Glad you asked …

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.

Puck Daddy’s 2011-12 NHL Western Conference Prognostications
Puck Daddy’s 2011-12 NHL Western Conference Prognostications
Puck Daddy’s 2011-12 NHL Western Conference Prognostications

Greg Wyshynski, Editor

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

West champ: San Jose

The only predictable thing about the Western Conference is that it's unpredictable, and that hockey writers will dabble in clichéd logic like this when they don't have a [expletive] clue how the rest of the playoff seeding looks beyond five teams.

The five teams cemented in the top eight out West, barring a Devils-like meltdown: Vancouver, San Jose, Chicago, Los Angeles and Detroit. Those five teams appear on every list on this page; outside of a few doom-and-gloomers on Chicago, it's hard to find anyone that doesn't think they'll make the cut.

It all comes together for the Blues this season: Health, goaltending, and the essential veteran presence in the room that was lacking last season. They're going to be part of a Central Division four-pack because, against all logic when you look at their offense, the Predators will be a playoff team again.

Obviously, the point of contention here is that the Minnesota Wild are a playoff team while the Anaheim Ducks are not. New coach Mike Yeo is going to be able to strike the right balance between offense (shoot more, dummies) and defense (trappity trap trap trap). They have an intriguing mix of veteran stars and newbies. I'm concerned about their blue line, but I think this is a team that, if it plays as a team, will make the cut in a weak division outside of Vancouver. (Also, a first-round battle against the Sharks would be a blogger's wet dream.)

The Ducks will be right there, but Corey Perry's(notes) not going to be as Herculean as he was last season and I'm just not a fan of their depth. Plus, they've got a tougher go of it in the Pacific.

San Jose comes out of the West, having surgically removed its underachievers and having learned a thing or two about playoff success in their last run.

Sean Leahy, Associate Editor

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

West champ: San Jose

We know the arsenal that the Sharks have will help carry them in the West, but the moves GM Doug Wilson made in the offseason improved them greatly. Through a handful of deals, trading Dany Heatley(notes) and Devin Setoguchi(notes) for Martin Havlat(notes) and Brent Burns(notes) makes them even stronger this season. Antti Niemi(notes) has a wonderful debut season in San Jose and with a Cup already under his belt, is a guy who can rip off a win streak during the regular season and be the backbone of a deep playoff run.

Harrison Mooney, Associate Editor

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

Champ: Canucks

The Western Conference is going to be ridiculously competitive this year, but the Canucks will come out on top because their division absolutely won't be. While the Vancouver is beating up their Northwest division rivals and putting some distance between themselves and the rest of the conference, the Central and Pacific divisions will bloody one another equally.

Four teams from the Central will make the postseason cut, with Columbus being the one that doesn't, but the most shocking thing to happen in the Central will be when the Nashville Predators finish second in it.

Additionally, the Blackhawks/Kings Western Conference quarterfinal will be pants-soilingly entertaining.

Puck Daddy’s 2011-12 NHL Western Conference Prognostications

Dmitry Chesnokov, Senior Writer

1. San Jose Sharks
2. Detroit Red Wings
3. Vancouver Canucks
4. Nashville Predators
5. Los Angeles Kings
6. Chicago Blackhawks
7. Anaheim Ducks
8. Minnesota Wild

West champ: San Jose

The Sharks should have a strong season yet again. I am not the one who would write Detroit off under any circumstances as long as they have Ken Holland as the GM and Mike Babcock as the coach. And yes, Datsyuk.

Minnesota will surprise a few I would think and Nashville will show their consistency and true team play yet again.

Ryan Lambert, Columnist

1. Vancouver Canucks
2. San Jose Sharks
3. Detroit Red Wings
4. Nashville Predators
5. Los Angeles Kings
6. Chicago Blackhawks
7. Anaheim Ducks
8. Columbus Blue Jackets

West champ: San Jose

The Canucks will win the Presidents' Trophy since their division is still the worst in the league. The Sharks are probably the best team on Earth but the tougher competition will depress their point totals. Same goes for the Red Wings and Predators, who round out home ice.

The Central's going to be a slugfest.

Dobber, Fantasy Writer

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

West champ: Vancouver

By now we're as used to the Preds flirting with 100 points as we are that they'll have no 60-point players. So bank on that one. The Blues have a healthy Jaroslav Halak(notes) in net and a deep, maturing core both up front and on the blue line. The Kings take another veteran over one of their high-end prospects step forward and, as for Detroit and San Jose are concerned - it's the same ol', same ol'.

Related Articles

Puck Daddy

Add to My Yahoo RSS

Related Photo Gallery

Y! Sports Blog