2012 NHL Preview: Western Conference Contenders

SJ's summer catch, Brent Burns

See the following for a comprehensive NHL Season Preview

Yesterday I previewed the top teams in the Eastern Conference. It was not only a long and impressive list, but filled with uncertainty due Sidney Crosby’s injury, the roster overhaul in Philadelphia, and the potential of up-and-coming clubs in Buffalo and New York. Overall, the Western Conference wasn’t quite as tumultuous over the off-season, but there was significant movement from two of the top five teams. Continue reading

2012 NHL Season Preview: Eastern Conference


Washington's FA steal: Tomas Vokoun

Relevant links:

Comprehensive NHL Season Preview

Western Conference Contenders Preview

There are a number of good teams in the NHL today; in fact, there are so many that you’ll often hear analysts say that you can’t rule anyone out. Once the playoffs begin, anything can happen. They point to Philadelphia’s 2010 run to the finals and Edmonton’s in 2006 (both from 8th place), as evidence that the road to NHL glory is sudden and unpredictable.

But with the exception of 2006 (unpredictable after a year’s layoff), that’s not true. Each year, there are a handful of teams – perhaps as few as 4 – with true cup potential. I can’t tell you with any certainty which of them will win the Stanley Cup, but I’m confident that I can narrow it down to a handful of eligible candidates. They are The Contenders. Continue reading

2012 NHL Season Preview

Drew “Norris T” Doughty

Other previews:

Eastern Conference Contenders

Western Conference Contenders

The NHL regular season is still over a month away, but rosters are all but solidified. Sure there’ll be the usual competition between 20-somethings and NHL vets for a few spots at the end of the lineup, but each team’s key players are in place (ironically, excepting Drew Doughty). That means the business of predictions can begin. But first, here are some important notes on injuries.


The single biggest reason that hockey isn’t played on paper is the potential for injuries. Last year I thought the St. Louis Blues would be the new Chicago Blackhawks. They had a young core of talented forwards like T.J Oshie, David Perron, Patrik Berglund, and David Backes, supplemented by veterans like Andy McDonald and Brad Boyes. They had just added Montreal goaltender Jaroslav Halak – fresh off a dominant playoff performance where he took the underdog Habs to the Conference Finals. Throw in a solid defence anchored by vets like Eric Brewer and Barrett Jackman, and the Blues looked poised to finish near the top-third of the Western Conference. They came busting out of the gates, cruising to a 9-1-2 record, but then it all came crashing down. Continue reading