Western Conference Round One Predictions
Preseason hockey is upon us, so what better way to start things off than to start making predictions? If you’ve been keeping up with my Instagram, you will know that I already made my standings predictions. Be sure to check those out to understand why I put certain teams where they are. This will be the first post in a series of many. I am going to kick it off with the West! As a quick refresher, I have organized the eight teams from first to last:
- Edmonton Oilers (first in the West)
- St. Louis Blues (first in the Central)
- Anaheim Ducks
- Dallas Stars
- Chicago Blackhawks
- Calgary Flames
- Nashville Predators
- San Jose Sharks
SERIES ONE – Oilers vs. Sharks
It’s a rematch of last year, and don’t expect anything different. We got our first taste of McDavid and the Oilers in playoff form last year. And my God, they didn’t disappoint. One of the most fun and creative teams to watch, Edmonton will come out swinging next year. As for San Jose, they lost Patrick Marleau in the offseason. It isn’t the biggest loss, but not ideal. The Sharks are an aging team and don’t have many years left to make another push. They can’t compete with the Oilers’ speed. So with confidence, I’m taking Edmonton in five games! Series MVP: Connor McDavid.
SERIES TWO – Ducks vs. Flames
Wait, haven’t we seen this one before? We sure have, and it didn’t go well for Flames fans. Last year Calgary got swept by the Ducks. Although Calgary has a better team than last year, I still don’t see them beating out a team like Anaheim. The Ducks still have great scorers on the team and, even though they are also an old team, Calgary isn’t quite the speedy team like Edmonton. This will once again tick off Flames fans, but it’s going to be Ducks in six games. Series MVP: Rickard Rakell.
SERIES THREE – Blues vs. Predators
After a fantastic playoff push last year, Nashville, unfortunately, didn’t have the best offseason. They lost Mike Fisher but were able to replace him with Nick Bonino. Not bad. What was bad was losing James Neal to Vegas. Reliable 30 goal scorer James “The Real Deal” Neal will be a tough piece to replace. Viktor Arvidsson could end up replacing Neal, but it’s still a loss. And if Ryan Ellis comes back from his injury better than ever, watch out. I expect a huge year from the Blues. I would bet money on Vladimir Tarasenko finally getting 50 goals this year. They lost Shattenkirk, which can hurt, but they still did very well last year after trading him. Don’t be surprised to see Colton Parayko get the recognition he deserves this year. Jake Allen will also prove he was the much better choice than Brian Elliot. Allen will finish top five in Vezina voting. St. Louis has a good team but, unfortunately, it won’t be enough against Smashville’s stacked defense. Preds in seven! Series MVP: Ryan Ellis.
SERIES FOUR – Stars vs. Blackhawks
As many of you know, I’m a biased Stars fan. They’ve been my team since day one, and I couldn’t be happier about this roster. But right now, I’m keeping that all out of these predictions. Starting in Big D, they acquired Big Ben for the goalie position. Dallas realized that goaltending has been a huge weak spot for them, so they did something about it. Getting Ben Bishop and signing him was step one. I’ll be honest guys, I let out a few tears of joy in a mall parking lot when I saw we got him. With acquisitions like Bishop, Methot, Radulov, and Hanzal, this team came to play. I see them taking on the Chicago Blackhawks in round one. The Hawks traded away Panarin, Hjalmarsson, and Darling. They lost Trevor van Riemsdyk to Vegas, who then went to Carolina. Marian Hossa is out for the entire season. Chicago added Saad and Sharp to the lineup. Again. This is not the same Hawks team as before. They are going back to the Cup-winning team they had. But is it good enough? No. Chicago is slowly killing themselves with those big contracts. I’ll go ahead and say it: in a couple of years, Chicago won’t make the playoffs as often. And in 5-7 years, they’re going to need a rebuild in place. This Hawks team isn’t as strong as before. Which is the reason why I am taking the Dallas Stars in six games. Series MVP: Tyler Seguin.
So there are the predictions for round one in the Western Conference! Who do you predict will win these series? What teams will you change? Who do you believe will be the series’ MVP’s? Leave ALL predictions in the comments! HOCKEY IS SO CLOSE!