Eastern Conference, NHL, Western Conference

Looking At The Future

Posted: February 27, 2014 at 12:00 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)
Two of our writers, Jake Reiser and Andrew Miller, took to the crystal ball to see what’s in your store for the home stretch of the NHL season.

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How many spots are up for grabs in each conference?
JR: The Rangers could be pulling away with the sixth spot in the East, but they’re still vulnerable in my opinion. Barring catastrophe, they should be ok. Philly and Detroit have a lot of competition behind them and are too close to get any sort of comfort. Out West, Minnesota, LA, and Dallas are all consistent teams that have injury problems and will trade to overcome, so they need to watch their health.

 

AM: I think that Tampa could be in trouble with Stamkos’injury so I’ll say four spots in the East. However I think that Detroit because of the loss of Zetterberg will fade. It’s too tough to battle injuries the whole season.
On the other side it’s hard to imagine the Kings not making the playoffs so I’ll give them the nod, making it two spots. Early on it’s easy to like Minnesota with their veteran leadership. The eighth spot on the other hand is a complete toss up at this point.

 

Who’s your MVP come season’s end?
AM: The obvious answers are Crosby and Ovechkin, and I think they will be finalists, but I’m going with Phil Kessel. He’s coming off an exceptional performance in Sochi and will have the pressure of Toronto’s playoff chances riding on him. I bet he handles it.

 

JR: With the way Toronto has been doing in the standings, they won’t touch their offense. I think that the Kessel/JVR/Bozak line will continue to score at a prolific rate, but they all work with each other. If we’re talking about sleepers, look for Joe Pavelski to have a fantastic push for the end. Quiet until this year in San Jose, so I do like him.

 

Pick a dark horse team to make a run (would get in on a wild card spot)
JR: There are some great teams who don’t hold playoff spots like Washington who will step up and make it in the end. In terms of an unexpected choice, I say Winnipeg. Ondrej Pavalec made himself more of a force with the Czech Republic in the Olympics and the Wheeler/Little/Ladd line is fantastic. If they can deal and get some secondary scoring to help out Evander Kane, they could sneak in there.

 

AM: I can’t see Winnipeg’s defense being up to the task against the powerhouses of the West. I said earlier I like Minnesota so I’ll stick with them. Big names coupled with deceptive depth and Josh Harding’s name isn’t mentioned enough. If he returns to form, this team has a shot in the Wild West. People also forget that Mike Yeo was Bylsma’s right hand man when Pittsburgh won the Cup.

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