Here’s my predictions on the Northwest Division for this season:
Key Additions: Jiri Hudler, Dennis Wideman
Key Losses: Olli Jokinen
The Flames did bolster both offensively and defensively when they signed Jiri Hudler and traded for Dennis Wideman, but it is gonna be tough in a shortened season, especially when you have a first-year head coach in Bob Hartley.
Key Additions: P.A. Parenteau, John Mitchell, Greg Zanon
Key Losses: Jay McClement, Peter Mueller
The Avalanche now have the youngest captain in the NHL, 2012 Calder Trophy winner Gabriel Landeskog. But success does not come usually in the first year of a captaincy. Look at Crosby in 2006-07. Look at Toews in 2008-09.
Key Additions: Justin Schultz
Key Losses: None
It is Year 3 of the Oilers rebuilding process, and with what I saw in Oklahoma City, I truly believe the Oilers will be the biggest surprise this season. For one thing, Justin Schultz could be a potential Calder Trophy finalist. And you could see the Oilers’ last three number-one picks (Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Nail Yakupov) all on the SAME LINE! For the first time in a long time, I’m gonna say the Oilers are NOT gonna end up last in the Northwest Division this season.
Key Additions: Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, Torrey Mitchell, Zenon Konopka
Key Losses: Nick Johnson, Guillaume Latandresse
The Wild went balls-out big and signed their franchise forward (Parise) and their franchise defenseman (Suter). I truly believe they’ll do something that hasn’t been done since the 2007-08 season: win the Northwest Division.
Prediction: Northwest Division Champions
Key Addition: Jason Garrison
Key Losses: Sami Pahlsson, Sami Salo, Aaron Rome
For the second straight year, the Vancouver Canucks won the Presidents’ Trophy. But it really didn’t mean that much as they were upended in the first round in 5 games by the eventual Stanley Cup Champion LA Kings. Yes, they did get Jason Garrison to fill in Sami Salo’s shoes. However, this team has a two-headed Cerebrus called Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider between the pipes and will be a very big distraction all season long for the the Canucks, should Luongo stay in Vancouver this season.