Thursday, September 15, 2005

2005/06 Predictions: Northwest Division

Predictions are always a fun part of the pre-season. They are also almost always wrong. By their nature, hockey results are not something that can possibly be predicted with any high success rate. At any rate, here goes:

In the next few weeks I will predict the final standings for the six NHL divisions, starting with the Northwest Division.

1. Vancouver Canucks- They key parts of their core remain. Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi (who is unlikely to be suspended again and thus will be there for the stretch run htis time - which is a minor improvement), Brendan Morrison, Mattias Ohlund and Ed Jovanovski are all back. They did downgrade their team in terms of defensive depth and still lack a game breaking goalie, but they have enough frontline talent that they should be a good team.

2. Calgary Flames- They may have the best group of six defenders of any team in the NHL. Jarome Iginla returns. Miikka Kiprusoff returns. This is basically the same team that went to the finals in 2004. They lack game breaking scorers beyond Iginla. This was a bit of a suprise team to make the run all the way to the finals. Odds are, they are not good enough to repeat that. Arguably, they never would have even started their playoff run if they had to face a Vancouver team with Bertuzzi in the lineup.

3. Colorado Avalanche- This team still has Joe Sakic, Rob Blake, Alex Tanguay and Milan Hejduk. Its still a very good team, which is amazing considering they lost Peter Forsberg, Adam Foote, Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne. I am also not sold that David Aebischer is anything more than an average starter.

4. Minnesota Wild - Jacques Lemaire plays a great system with a bunch of fast aggresive forecheckers. This team has a bunch of fast aggresive forecheckers. They also have Marian Gaborik who looks ready to step forward as an NHL superstar. This team will be tough for anyone to play against. I doubt that any NHL rule changes will do anything significant to stop their system.

5. Edmonton Oilers- Kevin Lowe learned form Glen Sather. As soon as he got a chance to spend money he did and not neccessarily in any smart way. The team still lacks any great goaltending or any really big time scorers or much defensive depth beyond Chris Pronger. Their other big addition, Mike Peca is probably just an expensive downgrade from Mike York. The Oilers offseason looks too much like the Rangers many times unsuccessful strategy for me to buy into it.

The other divisions are coming in the next few days.

Comments:
The Oilers payroll is virtually identical to last season. Hardly a NY Rangers-type spending spree.
 
Where did you find it? Interesting read » » »
 
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