With the 2008- 2009 NHL season drawing closer, I figured I would jump on the bandwagon and do a division prediction. I’m going to do a Wild team prediction as well, so keep your eyes peeled for that. Now, I’ve seen a bunch of season predictions, most namely from The Hockey News, and they barely have anything in common.
That said, here are my predictions for how the Northwest division will shake out this year:
2- Calgary Flames
4- Minnesota Wild
5- Vancouver Canucks
Before you start bashing me (and you know you will), let me defend my predictions, or at least try to.
1- Edmonton Oilers-
They are the pinnacle of the term of solid. I mean the Oil are solid from the first line all the way through the fourth. You really can’t find a glaring hole on this team, and you have Potulny, Strudwick, and Schremp waiting in the wings. You could argue that they might have problems in goal, with Garon and Roloson, but I think they’ll be all right. They’re really well balanced- they kind of remind me of the ’03 Wild to an extent.
2- Calgary Flames-
The Flames are a one-line team, maybe two. I mean, Iginla’s still one of the best in the league, Bertuzzi’s fading, then guys like Langkow and Lombardi who are solid. And then there’s Andre Roy? Their defense is pretty solid, with Phaneuf headlining, as always. They could fill out two solid defensive pairings, but you’ve got to score goals to win games. Plus, they’ve got one untested backup, Curtis McElhinney.
3- Colorado Avalanche-
Too many questions surround the Avalanche this year. Their success hinges on Sakic and Forsberg—Sakic returning to the Avalanche, and both of them staying healthy. The question marks are even bigger in goal. Budaj is a solid backup, but just that, and Raycroft is a mystery. If they can get the Raycroft that played in Boston and not the one that played in Toronto, then the Avs will be way better off. If everything breaks right for Colorado, this could be a breakout year for them. I just don’t see it happening though, they’re too old.
4- Minnesota Wild-
The Wild are my team, and I just don’t get it; the moves they made make no sense to me. The ownership took a mediocre team and made it worse. Yes, they have an OK team on paper, but they’re one major injury away from… I won’t go into the Wild situation too much, keep your eyes peeled for my Wild preview.
5- Vancouver Canucks-
I’ve heard people calling for a rebuilding year in Vancouver, but not so much. Yes, I picked them last, but that doesn’t count for much; the Canucks are still going to be competitive this year. The Canucks still have the Sedins (at least this year), a solid defensive corps, and anyone who has Luongo is always competitive.