Western Conference Regular Season Projections

HFNHL Red Wings
11-24-2003, 01:58 PM
Well as the Admin Team knows I'm in a fighting mood so I figured I'd stir things up with my Western Conference projections :-)

Before getting into the overall standings projections here are some other Western Conference projections:
(i) The 9th place team in the West will have as many or more points than the 6th place team in the East
(ii) Two .500 plus teams will miss the playoff's in the West
(iii) The West vs. East winning perecentage will be >=65%
(iv) Point spread among positions 3-8 will be <=16

Now on to the Western Conference Standings projections ...
1st St. Louis
Strengths - Everywhere except goal. Six 80+ rated players and that does not include Yzerman and Lecavalier. Plenty of depth to ensure that injuries will not be a problem.
Weaknesses - If you can call having having Dunham (78 OV) and Biron (79 OV?) weaknesses than that's it.
Summary: Easily tops in the West with only the Kings to really push them.

2nd Los Angeles
Strengths - Maybe not as much of an All-Star cast as the Blues but the player mix and depth is equitable. Blake and Leetch manning the point and Bertuzzi, Murray, and Jokinen up front with depth at most positions
Weaknesses - Left Wing is a bit thin and as such is vulnerable to injuries.
Summary: Although this team will finish second in position I anticipate they will lead the conference in offense.

3rd Anaheim
Strengths - One word ... Depth. The drop off from the Blues and Kings is noticable but the Ducks do not lack a few stars of their own and will skate four quality lines.
Weaknesses - Chemistry could be an issue with such a differing cast of characters. Finding the right player mixes seemed to elude GM Gledhill last season but I would not bet on that happening again this season.
Summary: By no means a lock for 3rd but on paper the team is marginally better than the competition and so has the inside edge.

4th Calgary
Strengths - Besides being the youngest and possibly most exciting team to watch this year they are amongst the fastest skating teams top to bottom in the conference and will keep some teams on their heels.
Weaknesses - Grit. Although there is definitely some grit players in the lineup using them effectively without compromising the speed threat could be a challenge.
Summary: As the song goes 'We won't be fooled again'. Calgary showed last season they were ready and almost stole a play-off position. The aquisition of Stevens and another year of maturity will go along way. They will be a refreshing change from all the defence first teams in the division.

5th San Jose
Strengths - Despite alot of trade activity the team still boasts a top 2 lines full of stars, Jovanovski and Schneider on the blueline, and Belfour guarding the net.
Weaknesses - Lack of depth, especially on the blueline, has hurt this team in the past when injuries occurred and looks equally vulnerable this year.
Summary: Too much talent to discount but not enough depth to be considered a true contender.

6th Detroit
Strengths - Niclas Lidstrom and plenty of depth
Weaknesses - Goaltending is only average and the team will utilize all it's depth players due to the frailty of some key players.
Summary: Same offering as usual from the Wings ... Defence first and 4 solid lines but no real game breakers. Unfortunately the competition is pursuing the same strategy and doing it somewhat better.

7th Colorado
Strengths - A number of skilled game breaker type players in Forsberg, Amonte, and Bure plus Brodeur in net
Weaknesses - Team balance has been lost as the team tries to cut payroll and LW is rather weak
Summary: How this team navigates the murky financial waters it is in will ultimately detremine the teams fate.

8th ???
Edmonton, Columbus, Chicago and maybe even Minnesota will duke it out all season for the final spot. Your guess is as good as mine as to who will come out on top.

Hossa
11-24-2003, 02:09 PM
I think there is a gross oversight in that the 2000 Stanley Cup champions are in no way mentioned on that list. I mean, with gritty veterans like Joe Niewendyk and Jiri Slegr around, what's not to like. And the goaltending is virtually as good as that of the (vastly over-rated) Detroit team.

Dryden
11-24-2003, 02:34 PM
Great post!

Surprisingly the Hawks are finally starting to get some respect around here. It would be interesting to see the rest of the analysis for the temas predicted at finishing 8th and below.

I agree that the West is a much stronger Conference and should be a better race to watch.

GO HAWKS!

Pandastyle
11-24-2003, 03:49 PM
No love for the Oil.

Strengths: What they lack in scoring depth, they make up for in heart. Perennial over-achievers like Rob Niedermayer and Oleg Kvasha give this team the oomph other teams lack.

Weaknesses: Some speak of a lack of scoring depths, but those concerns are completely unfounded.

-One Optimistic EDM GM

HFNHL Red Wings
11-25-2003, 05:32 AM
Hmmm, can you tell I've been working around Finance types for too long. A normal person would use the word 'Predictions' but work has influenced me an I repeatedly wrote 'Projections' :(

islanders
11-25-2003, 10:11 AM
Well as the Admin Team knows I'm in a fighting mood so I figured I'd stir things up with my Western Conference projections :-)

Before getting into the overall standings projections here are some other Western Conference projections:
(i) The 9th place team in the West will have as many or more points than the 6th place team in the East
(ii) Two .500 plus teams will miss the playoff's in the West
(iii) The West vs. East winning perecentage will be >=65%
(iv) Point spread among positions 3-8 will be <=16

Now on to the Western Conference Standings projections ...
1st St. Louis
Strengths - Everywhere except goal. Six 80+ rated players and that does not include Yzerman and Lecavalier. Plenty of depth to ensure that injuries will not be a problem.
Weaknesses - If you can call having having Dunham (78 OV) and Biron (79 OV?) weaknesses than that's it.
Summary: Easily tops in the West with only the Kings to really push them.

2nd Los Angeles
Strengths - Maybe not as much of an All-Star cast as the Blues but the player mix and depth is equitable. Blake and Leetch manning the point and Bertuzzi, Murray, and Jokinen up front with depth at most positions
Weaknesses - Left Wing is a bit thin and as such is vulnerable to injuries.
Summary: Although this team will finish second in position I anticipate they will lead the conference in offense.

3rd Anaheim
Strengths - One word ... Depth. The drop off from the Blues and Kings is noticable but the Ducks do not lack a few stars of their own and will skate four quality lines.
Weaknesses - Chemistry could be an issue with such a differing cast of characters. Finding the right player mixes seemed to elude GM Gledhill last season but I would not bet on that happening again this season.
Summary: By no means a lock for 3rd but on paper the team is marginally better than the competition and so has the inside edge.

4th Calgary
Strengths - Besides being the youngest and possibly most exciting team to watch this year they are amongst the fastest skating teams top to bottom in the conference and will keep some teams on their heels.
Weaknesses - Grit. Although there is definitely some grit players in the lineup using them effectively without compromising the speed threat could be a challenge.
Summary: As the song goes 'We won't be fooled again'. Calgary showed last season they were ready and almost stole a play-off position. The aquisition of Stevens and another year of maturity will go along way. They will be a refreshing change from all the defence first teams in the division.

5th San Jose
Strengths - Despite alot of trade activity the team still boasts a top 2 lines full of stars, Jovanovski and Schneider on the blueline, and Belfour guarding the net.
Weaknesses - Lack of depth, especially on the blueline, has hurt this team in the past when injuries occurred and looks equally vulnerable this year.
Summary: Too much talent to discount but not enough depth to be considered a true contender.

6th Detroit
Strengths - Niclas Lidstrom and plenty of depth
Weaknesses - Goaltending is only average and the team will utilize all it's depth players due to the frailty of some key players.
Summary: Same offering as usual from the Wings ... Defence first and 4 solid lines but no real game breakers. Unfortunately the competition is pursuing the same strategy and doing it somewhat better.

7th Colorado
Strengths - A number of skilled game breaker type players in Forsberg, Amonte, and Bure plus Brodeur in net
Weaknesses - Team balance has been lost as the team tries to cut payroll and LW is rather weak
Summary: How this team navigates the murky financial waters it is in will ultimately detremine the teams fate.

8th ???
Edmonton, Columbus, Chicago and maybe even Minnesota will duke it out all season for the final spot. Your guess is as good as mine as to who will come out on top.

Interesting, I wonder where Phoenix will end up. They still have one the best 1st line in Tkatchuk, Roenick and Kariya along with one of the best goalie in Berlin Wall. Only time will tell.

Dr.Sens(e)
11-25-2003, 10:32 AM
1st St. Louis
Strengths - Everywhere except goal. Six 80+ rated players and that does not include Yzerman and Lecavalier. Plenty of depth to ensure that injuries will not be a problem.


Actually, that would be seven 80+ rated players, but whose counting...

Ohio Jones
11-25-2003, 10:55 AM
Actually, that would be seven 80+ rated players, but whose counting...

Ugh. :eek:

HFNHL Commish
11-25-2003, 11:19 AM
3rd Anaheim
Strengths - One word ... Depth. The drop off from the Blues and Kings is noticable but the Ducks do not lack a few stars of their own and will skate four quality lines.

Without a doubt, I agree that the Blues are the class of the Western Conference. However, on paper, I don't think there's that big of a difference between the Kings and the Ducks.

Of course, that's just on paper...my boys have a thing or two to prove. :)

SpinTheBlackCircle
11-25-2003, 11:46 AM
Underestimating Minnesota.......we love it.

Ohio Jones
11-25-2003, 11:59 AM
Underestimating Minnesota.......we love it.


Was it the "maybe even..." that got you? :D The fact is it's going to be tough slogging for any of us trying to claw our way into the Western Conference playoff picture this year... something I should have remembererd before committing to improving my team's performance by 20 points! :(

To be fair, I don't think that Minnesota is being underestimated here, it's just a recognition that any of us who want to make a move in the Western Confrerence standings is going to have to make some dramatic changes, or have a remarkable string of luck on our side. Barring that, I suspect the fight for the last few playoff spots is going to be an absolute bloodbath! (Mmmm, blood...)

I disagree with Drew about the last couple of spots he handed out - I think spots 6-8 are all up for grabs, personally - but I agree with him that the Western Conference represents the class of the league. Aside from a small handful of teams in the East (most of whom I was drinking with in Toronto last week...), there's relatively little competition.

Just stirrin' the pot! (Mmmm, pot... just kidding! But I was serious about the blood :D )

Donga
11-25-2003, 04:20 PM
The West may beat the East but the Cup is still in the East's Hands by years end.

I just hope the Ducks and Wild don't get preseason injuries to their main players otherwise it makes for an interesting start to the season for them.

:)

SpinTheBlackCircle
11-25-2003, 05:08 PM
Hey, you don't want to mess with Ribeiro, St Louis and Ronning!!!

Donga
11-25-2003, 07:10 PM
Hey, you don't want to mess with Ribeiro, St Louis and Ronning!!!

No would you like to be in a dark alley alone with Worrell, Oliwa and Shelley.