One reason your NHL team will win it all this season (Western Conference)

Brian Elliott is in Calgary. P.K. Subban now calls Nashville home, though Shea Weber has departed to the East. Coaches Bruce Boudreau (Minnesota) andJared Bednar (Colorado) will look to get their teams to the next level.

Early October offers a new beginning for every team in the NHL, and the parity in the league means that even your wildest dreams are possible. And we're here tell you why they are.

Anaheim Ducks: A new goalie. John Gibson takes control of the net with Frederik Andersen in Toronto. Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler stay healthy and power the offense. And Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen continue to emerge as top defensemen.

Arizona Coyotes: On the rise. After improving by 22 points last season, the Coyotes charge into the playoffs behind a core of youngsters and a precocious general manager in John Chayka. Veteran goalie Mike Smith, 34, rebounds from four down seasons to provide much-needed stability.

Calgary Flames: Improved goaltending. The team’s four-headed monster in net was just that, costing the Flames countless games. Newcomer Brian Elliott is steady, if not spectacular, and the core of young players, including Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, continue their quick development.

Chicago Blackhawks: Dynamic scoring. Patrick Kane won the Art Ross Trophy with a whopping 106 points. Calder Trophy winner Artemi Panarin chipped in with 77. Then there's Jonathan Toews, an elite player and leader. The Blackhawks can hang with any team.

Colorado Avalanche: Core remains. The Avs missed the playoffs by five points and now have a new coach in Jared Bednar. The quartet of Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Duchene, Jarome Iginla and Nathan MacKinnon are still around and provide optimism.

Dallas Stars: Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. Perhaps the best scoring duo in the league, the dynamic pair is always capable of powering the Stars to victory.

Edmonton Oilers: Worst to first. The pieces are there for an epic turnaround. Connor McDavid is already a force, and now he gets some meaningful help in Milan Lucic and Adam Larsson, who gives the Oilers a long-sought top-pairing defenseman.

Los Angeles Kings: Prime years. The loss of Milan Lucic stings, but Anze Kopitar (Selke Trophy), Drew Doughty (Norris Trophy) and Jonathan Quick (40 wins) are still in their prime and will continue to drive the Kings’ possession style of play. Plus Tyler Toffoli, 24, increases his scoring for a fifth consecutive season.

Minnesota Wild: Bruce Boudreau’s arrival. The Wild hope the new coach's attacking style will create more chances a year after Zach Parise led the squad with just 25 goals.

Nashville Predators: P.K. Subban. The former Norris winner is motivated in his new city and his presence should give the Predators a more dangerous offense.

San Jose Sharks: Positioned for repeat. Not much has changed for the Western Conference champs. Every key player is back, and Logan Couture and Marc-Edouard Vlasic are healthy after missing significant time last season. Speedy winger Mikkel Boedker is another weapon on offense.

St. Louis Blues: Vladimir Tarasenko. Sure, the Blues lost some key players, but the Russian posted his best season with his first 40-goal campaign. He requires extra focus from opposing defenses any time he’s on the ice.

Vancouver Canucks: Top of the line. Their top line dominates with Loui Eriksson joining fellow Swedes Daniel and Henrik Sedin and sets the tone for the rest of the team. In addition, big-body Erik Gudbranson, who was acquired in an offseason trade, forms a strong second pairing on defense with youngster Ben Hutton.

Winnipeg Jets: Youth movement. No. 2 overall pick Patrik Laine impressed in the World Cup and is a favorite to grab too rookie honors. Kyle Connor, Brendan Lemieux (Claude’s son) and Josh Morrissey also should contribute.


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment