NHL Western Conference Predictions and Stanley Cup Odds

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By Brad Leeb


To start the 2011-2012 NHL hockey season, I wanted to post my NHL Western Conference prediction picks and team odds to win the Stanley Cup.


Giving a prediction on conference standings, or predicting the Stanley Cup winner, is never easy. There are a lot of factors that can change a teams fortunes. Injuries, suspensions, trades and over and under achieving players all play a factor. 

Heading into the 2011-2012 NHL season here are my NHL predictions for the Western Conference.

San_Jose_Sharks_BetOnHockey.gif1. San Jose Sharks 10/1 Stanley Cup odds

The Sharks are a team that has been good but still lack some team defense. They made good changes to address defense and penalty killing with the additions of Brent Burns, Jim Vandermeer and Michal Handzus. I don’t know if the Sharks will be the best team in the playoffs, but they will be the best team in the Western Conference regular season.


Vancouver_Canucks_BetOnHockey.gif2. Vancouver Canucks 6/1 Stanley Cup odds

The Canucks will be one of the top teams in the NHL, the reason they are 2nd in the Western Conference is because they will not be focused on winning another President’s Trophy. Their playoff experience will have them preparing for the post season well in advance.


Chicago_Blackhawks_BetOnHockey.gif3. Chicago Blackhawks 16/1 Stanley Cup odds

The Stanley Cup hangover from 2010 is now over, and it will be back to business for the Blackhawks. Leading the way offensively will be Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, who will both have huge seasons. Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook are still the best defensive pairing in the NHL, and the additions of Dan Carcillo, Jamal Mayers and Steve Montador will add more grit. The team make-up looks more like the team identity of 2010.


Detroit_Red_Wings_BetOnHockey.gif4. Detroit Red Wings 14/1 Stanley Cup odds

The Red Wings are always competitive, and they have created a  culture of winning in Detroit. Their roster is virtually the same as last season, except with the additions of Ian White and Mike Commodore because of Brian Rafalski’s retirement. However, they will not be better than the Blackhawks and fall to forth place in the West.


Los_Angeles_Kings_BetOnHockey.gif5. Los Angeles Kings 16/1 Stanley Cup odds

Signing defenseman Drew Doughty before the start of the NHL regular season was a big priority for the Kings. This is because he is a major piece to the core of this team. However, by missing the entire training camp, Doughty may be rusty and have a lower point production than he has had the last two seasons. Picking up the offense will be newly aquired forwards Mike Richards and Simon Gagne. They will help a Kings offense that has not had top NHL offense since before the lockout.


Anaheim_Ducks_BetOnHockey.gif6. Anaheim Ducks 25/1 Stanley Cup odds

The Ducks could be the biggest wild card in the West. Overall they are not strong enough to win the Pacific Division, but with a healthy Jonas Hiller they are a very strong team. Hiller missed most of last season with vertigo, and the Ducks still finished 4th. Hart Trophy winner Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan will again lead the offensive charge.


Minnesota_Wild_BetOnHockey.gif7. Minnesota Wild 66/1 Stanley Cup odds

The Wild have a much improved offense with the additions of Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi. They also enter a new era under head coach Mike Yeo. I think this team will be rejuvenated to have a strong season. Also, playing in the weakest division in the NHL, the Wild should be able to gain points in the Western standings and squeak into the post season.


St._Louis_Blues_BetOnHockey.gif8. St. Louis Blues 50/1 Stanley Cup odds

The Blues started last season hot, and cooled off. Management must have thought this younger team needed some veteran stability by signing Jamie Langenbrunner, Jason Arnott, Scott Nichol and Kent Huskins. If this team stays healthy, and Jaroslav Halak finds his form, the Blues should be able to squeak into the playoffs.


Nashville_Predators_BetOnHockey.gif9. Nashville Predators 28/1 Stanley Cup odds

The Predators won a playoff series for the first time in franchise history last season. Their roster looks very similar to last year but I am predicting they will miss the playoffs. This will be because they will end up trading one of their top players by the trade deadline. Either Shea Weber, Ryan Suter or Pekka Rinne. They will not be able to afford all three free agents next year.


Dallas_Stars_BetOnHockey.gif10. Dallas Stars 40/1 Stanley Cup odds

The Dallas Stars could not afford to keep UFA Brad Richards. He left for more money. With him in the lineup, the Stars had offense and just missed the playoffs. Without him they lose a lot of offense, and will fall short of the playoffs. They will have to score by committee, and this will not get them to the post-season. Also, with ownership problems and a future in doubt, the focus will fail to be on hockey.


Columbus_Blue_Jackets_BetOnHockey.gif11. Columbus Blue Jackets 80/1 Stanley Cup odds

The Blue Jackets had good additions with center Jeff Carter and and defenseman James Wisniewski during the offseason. However, they had other key players depart the team. They are also the weakest team in the Central Division, and wins will be hard to come by.


Phoenix_Coyotes_BetOnHockey.gif12. Phoenix Coyotes 33/1 Stanley Cup odds

The biggest transaction that the Coyotes had in the summer was the deletion of top goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, and this is the reason they will not make the playoffs. Adding grit players Raffi Torres, Daymond Langkow, and Boyd Gordon will add to the competitiveness of the Coyotes, but they will ultimately fall short of the playoffs. They are also another team that has ownership problems that will take a lot of the focus off the ice.


Calgary_Flames_BetOnHockey.gif13. Calgary Flames 40/1 Stanley Cup odds

The Flames needed to trim their payroll during the offseason, and that resulted in Robin Robyn Regehr and Ales Kotalik being traded to the Sabres. This team missed the playoffs last year, and got worse in the offseason. A big shake up in Calgary will be in the near future.


Colorado_Avalanche_BetOnHockey.gif14. Colorado Avalanche 66/1 Stanley Cup odds

The Avalanche tried to address some team defense in the offseason. They brought in the goalie duo of Semyon Varlamov and J.S. Giguere, and shut down defenseman Jan Hejda. This will help, but the Avs also need Erik Johnson to have a big year on the blueline. As well as, improvement from younger players Matt Duchene, Paul Stastny and Gabriel Ladeskog to start climbing the standings.


Edmonton_Oilers_BetOnHockey.gif15. Edmonton Oilers 66/1 Stanley Cup odds

The Oilers are trying to build a contender through the draft. They definitely have a lot of skilled layers, and they will most likely have another top pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Team management did the right thing by bringing in some veteran leadership in Ryan Smyth, and toughness in Darcy Hordichuk and Ben Eager to watch over the young Oilers.




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