Bicks’ Western Conference Predictions
- Anaheim Ducks
Last year: 51-24-7 (109 points). The Ducks are back and will be flying near the top of the Western Conference again this season. With offseason additions of Carl Hagelin, Chris Stewart, and Kevin Bieksa, the Ducks have a stacked lineup and could be on the fast track to get to the Stanley Cup Finals.
- Dallas Stars
Last year: 41-31-10 (92 points). The Dallas Stars are going to have a huge bounce back year. Tyler Seguin is healthy and looking for a breakout year. Jamie Benn will be looking to repeat his success from last year, by winning another Art Ross trophy. New key additions of Patrick Sharp and Johnny Oduya, will bring some playoff experience to a young team.
- Calgary Flames
Last year: 45-30-7 (97 points). The Flames surprised many with what they accomplished last year but they aren’t sneaking up on anyone in 2015-16. Adding Dougie Hamilton, to an already impressive defense core, the Flames look to do bigger and better things.
- Minnesota Wild
Last year: 46-28-8 (100 points). With the Wild’s current cap situation, their offseason was rather quiet. They got some important deals done to return most of last year’s team. The Wild will need Devan Dubnyk to repeat his second half performance. Look for young defensemen, Matt Dumba to have a breakout season and forwards, Jason Zucker and Nino Niederreiter, to have huge impact on the Wild’s offense.
- St. Louis Blues
Last year: 51-24-7 (109 points). Vladimir Tarasenko emerged as an NHL superstar last year but the Blues failed to get passed the first round of the playoffs. No more T.J. Oshie but the Blues still have a quality lineup that will get them back to the playoffs. Watch for rookie defensemen Colton Parayko’s minutes to increase as the season goes along; he could be a sleeper pick for the Calder trophy.
- Los Angeles Kings
Last year: 40-27-15 (95 points). The Kings were very disappointing in 2015. This year’s team looks healthy and is looking for redemption. With the lineup the Kings have, there’s no way they don’t make the playoffs in 2016. Adding the physical presences of Milan Lucic, to their first line to play alongside Kopitar and Gaborik, will give the team a big boost.
- Chicago Blackhawks
Last year: 48-28-6 (102 points). Don’t get me wrong the Blackhawks are still a very good hockey team but they are not the team that won the cup just a year ago. Key pieces from last year’s team will be heavily missed. They’re going to need some of their young guns like Teuvo Teravainen and rookie, Artemi Panarin to step up and fill in for the missing pieces. But you never now, the Hawks are filled with star-power; they could make a run any year.
- Edmonton Oilers
Last year: 24-44-14 (62 points). Laugh all you want but this is my bold prediction of the 2015-16 NHL season. I am heavy believer in Connor McDavid and I think he is going to (already has) recharge the city of Edmonton. But McDavid isn’t the only reason why I think the Oilers are going to make the playoffs, they are loaded with young talent and this is going to be the year that all the pieces start clicking together. Mix in that Cam Talbot is now in the net for them and he gets to prove to the NHL he can be a starter, after sitting and learning behind the king, Henrik Lundqvist.
- Winnipeg Jets
- Nashville Predators
- Colorado Avalanche
- Vancouver Canucks
- San Jose Sharks
- Arizona Coyotes
Bicks’ Western Conference Finals: Anaheim Ducks over the Minnesota Wild.