Analysis from the North West

I thought i should put my analysis from the teams in the North West division.I will include offseason additions and subtractions, possible line combos and players to watch out for..I will analyse each teams lineups, off season moves and players to watch for..I will start with the Calgary Flames.

Calgary Flames: During this offseason the Calgary Flames have added some big names which are Adrian Aucoin, Cory Sarich, Owen Nolan and Anders Ericksson. Although they have lost players like Brad Stuart and Roman Hamrlik THose spotswill be filled by new players.Aucoin will fill Stuart, Sarich will take Hamrliks place , Ericksson will replace Zyuzin who was shipped out in the Aucoin deal and last Owen Nolan will be a good addition from Tony Amonte. Overall I think that theremoves were good but those werent the best things they did. The re-signings of both Jarome Iginla and Robyn Regehr to contract extensions were the two best moves that they made.

This is a possible line up combonation:

Iginla-Langkow-Huselius
Tanguay-Conroy-Lombardi
Nilson-Yelle-Nolan
Moss-Primeau-Boyd

Phaneuf-Regehr
Aucoin-Sarich
Warrener-Ericksson

Kiprusoff-Irving/Keetley

There three most players to watch out for this season are:

1.Dustin Boyd-Played a few games for the big club last season and will likely push for a spot on the opening day line up and i think he will make it.He is a good young prospect and fits in good with Calgarys style of play.

2.Owen Nolan-Could be a very good signing for the flames if he can stay healthy andplay around 70-75 games this year. Didnt have the greatest year in Phoenix last year but is hoping to get back in the days when he was in San Jose.

3.Mathieu Lombardi-I honestly think this guy is going to have a great breakout season this year.He has tremendous speed and a good touch.But dont be surprised to see Calgary try to move this guy or see him be dealt.

Colorado Avalanche: It has been apretty good offseason so far for the Avalanche with the signing of some of the most sought after free agents out there in Ryan Smyth and Scott Hannan. Colorado has a very good offence and a fairly good defence but if Peter Budaj can have a breakthrough season this year they could be contenders. As for the Smyth and Hannan signings i think that they will fit in very well with Colorado.Smyth is a very good hardworker that can screen and tip sakics shots and Hannan is the Shutdown defence man that can be paired with Liles and help out on the Penalty Kill.

Here is there Line up Combos:

Brunette-Sakic-Smyth
Wolski-Stastny-Hejduk
Svatos-Arnason-Hlincka
Guite-Richardson-Laperierre

Liles-Hannan
Leopold-Clark
Skrastins-Sauer

Budaj-Theodore

Colorados 3 Players to watch out for are:

1.Jaroslav Hlincka-I no most of you are wondering who is that.Well he was the leading scorer in the Czech league last year.The avs signed him as a free agent.He could be a perfect fit to get Svatos Back ontrack after a sub par season

2.Marek Svatos-Well he could either make or brake this season.2 years ago in his rookiecampaign he netted 32 goals and didnteven play a full 82 games.But last year wasnt a good one at all. If he could return to form he could be added back to theavs list of offensive stars.

3.Brett Clark-I guess you could call last year his breakout season while he was a big part tothe avs blueline.But this year he is going to be accounted on for some more offence as the offensive part of that second unit.

Edmonton Oilers: Well this offseason has been a rollercoaster ride over and over again for all you oiler fans.First it was all thought that michel Nylander was going to join your club and help out Hemsky it was all over then news but then a day later he signed with the Washington Capitals.Then Gm Kevin Lowe Traded away future star Joffery Lupul and heart and soul captain in Jason Smith for Joni Pitkanen and Geoff Sanderson.Then Gm Kevin Lowe Sent that huge offer sheet to Tomas Vanek and the Sabres Matched. Then when all hope was lost Lowe finally got his big name player to come to Edmonton and that was Sheldon Souray. The Souray Signing will most definately boost up there power play numbers with him and Pitkanen on the back end.

This is what there lineup could look like:

Hemsky-Horcoff-Pisani
Reasoner-Stoll-Torres
Sanderson-Moreau-Schremp
Thoreson-Pouliot-Stortini

Souray-Smid
Pitkanen-Staios
Tarnstrom-Greene

Roloson-Garon

Edmontons 3 most players to watch for are:

1.Robbie Schremp-I really think this guy will make the team this year as he was so close to making it last year. He is a young kid who can Score and Dazzle withhis moves.He is a peice of the Oilers future.

2.Joni Pitkanen-A young defence man that lost his way last year with tremendous potential.If he can turn into the type of player that he was susposed to be Oilers Almost stole him away from Philly. But if he busts then it wouldnt have been a great moveby Kevin Lowe.

3.Ethan Moreau-Potentially in my mind he is going to be and should be the next captain of the Edmonton Oilers(will compete with Steve Staios). He was injured for most of last season but can throw his body in front of pucks and be a great role model for younger players.

Minnesota Wild:The Minnesota Wild have kind of been quiet this offseason except for re signing Pierre marc Bouchard and trading away Manny Fernandez but they still are a great team. The wild have a good team with tremndous speed and relativelygood size and should be a playoff team this year. Although they might just squeeze inwith the other teams in their division making exceptional upgrades. But they will still be in the hunt With Calgary Colorado Vancouver for the North west crown it should be a good division to watch.

Minnesotas possible line combos might be:

Gaborik-Demitra-Bouchard
Parrish-Rolston-Radivojevic
Belanger-Koivu-Walz
Moore-Veilleux-Foy

Carney-Jonnsson
Hill-Skoula
Burns-Nummelin

Backstrom-Harding

Minnesotas players to watchout for are:

1.Pierre Marc Bouchard-A great young player with great speed. will most likley play on the first line with Gaborik and Demitra.Will im guessing get about 20 goals and 35 assists this season and couldshape out to be part of Minnesotas future.

2.Nicklas Backstrom-A great young goalie that broke out this season looking like a top 10 goalie in the league. And in the next few years after the dominator and Marty Retire he could be in the next batch of Vezina winning Material.

3.Mikko Koivu-Little brother of Montreal Canadiens Captain Saku comes a player with similar aspect to his game.He is young and has good speed.He can ultimatley be one of the top snipers for the wild this season and is great in the shoot out.

Vancouver Canucks:Similar to the wild has had aquiet offseason except for adding depth players like Byron Ritchie, Brad Isbister, Curtis Sanford and Aaron Miller.Miller will most likely be the mosteffective of there signings because Ritchie and Isbister will play on 3rd and 4th lines and Sanford well lets just say he is playing behind Luongo and hes not going to give him a run for the Starting Position. There was also speculation that Ohlund was on his way out for Elias but i never believed that and dont see it happening in the near future.

Vancouvers possible line up is:

D.Sedin-H.Sedin-Pyatt
Naslund-Morrison-Cooke
Cowan-Burrows-Kesler
Isbister-Ritchie-Shannon

Ohlund-Bieksa
Mitchell-Salo
Krajicek-Miller

Luongo-Sanford

Vancouvers top players to look for this season are:

1.Markus Naslund-You might be surprised to see this name in here but i only put this in here because last year wasnt a great one and this is goingon his last year of is contract which usually means players try harder to get more
market value for the offseason.

2.Jeff Cowan-Last year he splitbetween the L.Akings and the Vancouver Canucks. He got on a bit of a roll last year when he scored something like 7 goals in 5 games or something but i think he will have a pretty good year.

3.Kevin Bieksa-A defence man that reall impressed the canucks organization last year and then they handed him a pretty hefty paycheck this offseason it will be interesting to see how he plays.

Now i will say how i think the standings for the north west will be and how i think each team will fair points wise.

1.Vancouver Canucks-Strong play by Luongo Similar to last year could really carry this team far.105 points.

2.Colorado Avalanche-With some key additions and some players in contract years I think they will surprise alot of people.102 points.

3.Calgary Flames-Will be Icing a similar team this year but if Kiprusoff can play well enough they will do well.98 points

4.Minnesota Wild-Similar to Calgarys Situation I think they could have a strong year.96 points.

5.Edmonton Oilers-Even with the adition of Souray this team will be good offensively but very poor defensively and Roloson wont play his greatest as he is Aging.80 points.

Well What do you think?


83 Responses to Analysis from the North West

  1. woohoo19 says:

    You Flames fans over rate Kiprusoff and Phaneuf way to much. And how is it that they have a strong core D when all they have is Regher and Cementhead and Mike Keenan as your coach…well lets just say I feel bad for your team. Plus you can't really tell how the standings will look in the northwest because it's such a tight division, but if you were to tell it would be.
    Vancouver-once they add that extra top six forward.
    Calgary-only because they still have somewhat a strong D, a good first line and kipper
    Colorado and Minny will fight for third mostly due to a lack of strong goaltending. Backstrom is good but not all star quality. Neither is Budaj.
    Edmonton is rebuilding and I don't think will be contending for at least another two years.

  2. woohoo19 says:

    Wow….thanks for making Canucks fans look stupid. There is no way we can get Richards, especially due to the amount of money he costs and Tampa would never accept a second line center, a top 4 dman and an up and coming goalie for one of their big three. Seriously just shut up if your going to make comments like that and Selanne? Give me a break. The only team he'll sign with is Anaheim and that's if he doesn''t retire and Forsberg said he's not signing with any teams until mid season time.

  3. tacitus says:

    schremp will not break 30 pts this year

  4. MogilnyFan1990 says:

    I thought i read an article on this site saying that Theodore got bought out, or was that just a rumour and it never got done??   anyways,

    1. Calgary
    2. Vancouver
    3. Colorado
    4. Edmonton
    5. Wild

  5. DJTOKid says:

    you want to bet on that??? If he plays 60 plus games i'll bet you paychecks that he will break 30 points.

  6. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    you should be more worried about souray being himself, then souray scoring less.

  7. avsjoendryan says:

    yeh u *****ing dumbass they will beat backstrom fursure and u gotta remember theo was a vezna-hart winner.

  8. avsjoendryan says:

    yeh well if colorado can play the same way they did at the end of last season they will fursure with the division with the addition of smyth and hannan

  9. snowybuttman says:

    I dont think edmonton will be that bad, Lowe isnt done adding pieces yet . Not that I think they are going to be division leaders or cup champions (stranger things have happened)  but I do believe they are in the playoffs this year. As much as Jason Smith was a good captain and definitely a heart and soul guy we still have Moreau who is as much a heart and soul guy and WILL be a good captain for the oilers. I also believe edmonton will not be as bad defensively as some would like to think , we still have some good defensive guys here. Souray and Pitkanen may not be as bad defensively as everyone thinks look at the teams they played on everyone check out the plus/minus of the other players on those team they are just as bad or worse than these 2. Good defense is reliant on all 5 players on the ice not one. I would think they are closer to 90 points than 70.

  10. snowybuttman says:

    What does a leaf fan know about hockey I will gaurantee you edmonton will not be as bad as you think. Reason one Lowe isnt done dealing yet.

  11. PointMeAtTheSky says:

    Good article.

    But I think that Conroy will play with Iginla and Huselius with Langkow. Tanguay will probably be first line as well.

    As for Vancouver, Don't forget Linden, he hasn't resinged yet, but i don't see Mr Nonis letting him walk. And Mr. Nonis has said he may resign Bulis.

    As for the standing's, it's impossible to predict…but I'm going to say:

    1. Calgary: Kipper should bounce back, Overall I think they're defense has improved as well, and they can still score, may be able to score even more if Lombardi continues to improve and Nolan can elevate his game.

    2. Vancouver: Still too offensivley shallow to to repeat their division title. But with Luongo, they are the west's version of New Jersey….they always near the top of the division due to superhuman goalies. Bieksa can only get better, and Naslund i think will bounce back and have a great year, and maybe join the Sedins again.

    3. Minnesota: Not much as changed, they will compete for the top of the division and may even jump to 2nd place. Backstrom and Harding will be a lethal duo.

    4. Colorado: Budaj did well last year, but not THAT well. Smyth and Hannan will help, Sakic will give it his all, but unless Budaj is really brilliant, they won't win the division, however they will be a play-off team.

    5: Edmonton: could surprise everyone, but i think they're still rebuilding. I know they've been rebuilding since the 90's..but oh well, this time, they just might do it, Look for them to get better every year.

  12. 19AVSFANFoLIFE19 says:

    ok your right here and ill admit that.
    avs ended up in the latter part of the defence last year but for what they had and considering one of their top 4 was out almost all year they still ended up i believe 18th (correct me if im wrong please) in goals allowed?
    a shaky d shaky goalie and they didnt do too shabby
    now a full season with Leopold and Hannan and a healthy D in front of Budaj Not to mention Budajs run at the end of last year
    thats what tells me the avs can do better>
    dont get me wrong the Nucks have luongo and a solid D but the scoring wont help them and its the same with the flames. and i believe thats where colorado can use their edge.
    least i found another person on here who agrees the rumours with the bolts are fricken stupid. But for Kipper his shakyness recently brought some doubts as so with Budaj and Backstrom. Calgarys inability to score wont help kipper same with Minny and Backstrom. THey will do good i have no doubt but i'll be honest when i say i wouldn't pick them for a fantasy #1 goalie. i'd probably go with Luongo as a safe bet.

  13. 19AVSFANFoLIFE19 says:

    Ur a wings fan u should know that theodore is terrible and budaj was anything but.
    if he played the whole year we were in the playoffs and probably top 4 too.
    your right nucks have the advantage in goaltending by alot but defense not by much anymore. and scoring well thats where the avs will win, finished top 10 in scoring i think Ryan Smyth can help improve that.

  14. I_hate_LA says:

    The Avs have the most depth out of the entire Northwest division and I look forward to them dominating their division next season. I can't wait to see the Avs and Wings battle it out again! :D!!! On the contrary, GO DUCKS!!!

  15. PeterTheGreat21 says:

    It looks like alot of non avs fans are underrating this team; claiming that that they have horrible goaltending and defense. Well Theo is horrible. Luckily hes not our starting goalie. Budaj is and he vastly improved from the start of the season to the end. He's also been steadily improving throughout his career in the minors leading me to believe that he's capable of being a solid goalie. sure he'll never win a vezina or be confused with luongo but he won't be the reason they lose games. The main reason they gave up so many goals last season were theodore starts and a porous defense giving up too many chances and a poor pk. The pk should improve due to hannan joining and I believe smyth was a solid pker too. also theo's on the bench… always helps.

    Offensively is where the avs are so dangerous, and it showed during the last two months of the year. The team finished 3rd in the league in scoring last year and should only improve with the addition of smyth and the continued growth of wolski,statsny, and svatos among other youngsters. The avs offense should be prolific enough that even if their goaltending is merely average they should be dangerous. Hell they only gave up 9 more goals last season than buff did. The D has to improve from last year too. leopold was hurt all year so if the avs get anything from him it will be an improvement add in hannan's needed physical presence and you got a recipe for a number 1 team in the division that if healthy none of the other divisional rivals should be able to match up against.

  16. brianc689 says:

    im not an avs fan and im a little tired of all of the avs fans picking them to win the division too, but im gonna have to disagree with you about budaj….the guy is unproven and i dont know about how he will do this year, but he was solid last year, definitely not horrible…theodore yes, budaj no

  17. Luongoman says:

    Everyone is just saying that there home team will do best so i say

    1) Canucks (again)
    2) Oilers
    3) Wild (Followed closely by the Avs like 1 point difference)
    4) Avs
    5) Flames

     I belive the Canucks will once again take it just because Luongo.
     But the Oil will do good because they once again have a superstar d-man.(like Pronger in 05/06)

  18. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    theres no question that the avs have the best offense in that division. but they had the leagues 4th best offense last season, leafs had the 6th best. this is in the entire NHL, 2 top 10 teams in scoring missed the post season. It surprised me that the avs didn't buyout theodore, and didn't go after a goalie.

  19. avalanchuk says:

    1. Vancouver-105 points….haven't really improved nor have they gone down
    2. Colorado-103 points…add there 2 most pressing needs….bonafide LW and shutdown defensemen. Leopold will also be playing wwithout injury hopefully, which should definitely improve the defensive corps. #1 in the Conference in scoring last season…I don't see that changing either. Goaltending and defense still a question mark, however.
    3. Calgary-99 points….make a few signings without losing any significant pieces. They do have Mike Keenan as their coach though…dum dum dum
    4. Minnesota-96 points….no major signings either. It is yet to be seen whether Backstrom can handle a full season in goal, although they have a very capable backup in Harding. If Gaborik can manage to stay healthy they can surprise.
    5. Edmonton-75 points….they suck. ooooo wow they signed Souray who cares he sucks at defense. Sure he'll score some goals but it won't make up for what he is responsible for (negative) on the defensive side.

    As far as Colorado's lines go look for something like this….
    Wolski-Sakic-Brunette
    Smyth-Stastny-Hejduk
    Hlinka/Richardson/Minor leaguer-Arnason-Svatos
    Hlinka/Richardson/Minor leaguer-Guite-Laperriere (shutdown line)

    Hannan-Leopold
    Skrastins-Clark
    Liles-Sauer/Finger

    Budaj
    Theodore

    Sakic and Brunette had an amazing season playing last year together, so don't expect anything to change. Since Brunette and Smyth are similar players, there is no point on them being on the same line, and you cannot drop Brunette to the 3rd line after the season he had. Stastny and Hejduk have amazing chemistry. Look for Hejduk to score around 50 goals. 3rd line is small, which can be a little frightening. 4th line shutdown line.

    Defensive wise, there is an abundance of left-handed shooting defensemen, aside from Finger. Leopold and Clark have shown the ability to play on the right side, however. the addition of Hannan and Leopold (only 15 games last season) will improve their defense significantly.

    There is a question mark in goaltending as to whether Budaj can keep up his level of play or Theodore can regain his old form, which I doubt. Quenville said that they would be fighting for the starting job during training camp, so we will see how that goes. As of now, the job is Budaj's to lose.

  20. mvand77 says:

    You made a few mistakes with the Flames (and mark my words they'll win the division), but good overall I think.  First off, Iginla is a RW not a LW so the top line will be either Tangs-Lanks-Iggy or Tangs-Connie-Iggy.  I personally prefer Langkow because Conroy is a little washed up. 

    Also, Giordano will be our 6th defenseman this year.  He is more dangerous on the PP than even Phaneuf because of his stronger accuracy and his great coordination to keep pucks in the zone.  He will play instead of Eriksson. 

    And by the way Irving and Keetley still haven't even played one game of pro hockey in their career yet.  They will not be Kipper's backup.  Brent Krahn or Curtis McElhinney are the two candidates at this point.  And by the way I have no idea what you're talking about Kipper needing a rebound season.  He is the Flames most consistent player and too many fans take his skills for granted he's been so good.

    My reason for the Flames winning the division is this.  Last year they were plagued by penalty-killing troubles and poor play on the road.  On the other hand, they were the NHL's best home-ice team and had a dangerous powerplay.  In 2006, when Jim Playfair was defensive coordinator, the Flames were the league's best defensive team with one of the best PK's in the league, along with a strong home record.  Obviously Jim Playfair can do a job extremely well if he only has one thing to focus on.  With Jimmy in charge of our defense once more, and Iron Mike making sure the Flames are consistent, I believe Darryl Sutter has gotten the Flames out of their one-sided game jinx. 

    They have the forwards, they have the defensemen, they have the goalie, they have the coach, and they definitely have the heart.  I'll be the first to tell you.  The Calgary Flames are the 2007-08 Stanley Cup Champions.

  21. mvand77 says:

    keep dreaming
    maybe ryan smyth will come back too

  22. EddieAVS says:

    who said they were the best in the division or even in the nhl. all i said was that i think theyll finish first. no one is exagerrating anything. i didnt say theyd kill everyone, i didnt say theyd win the conference. i merely stated that theyd compete for top spot in the NW.

  23. EddieAVS says:

    you see, you lose all credibility when you go and say that budaj is horrible. you obviously never saw him play at all.

  24. tacitus says:

    ur on ill take that bet easily, Only 5 Oilers last year got 30 points total and none were rookies lol, and only 10 rookies total scored more then 30 points 7 of which are expected to be very good offensive players. This is a safe bet for me, schremp and his 7 minutes per game if he makes the team since the kid has no heart and a horrible work ethich will not get 30 pts, There is a reason he dropped so far in his draft and it wasnt talent, it was the fact he is known to float and not get dirty to make the plays, which is what edmonton will be needing from their players this season

  25. 19AVSFANFoLIFE19 says:

    or trade him to phoenix or a team lik that
    a team that can take his salary and can take a risk on him.
    not only that but tellqvist as their starter

  26. avsjoendryan says:

    ok i honestly dont think the oilers are going to be the worst team but come on don't be a *****ing tard the oilers are still looking as a 10th or 11th seed in the conference, so stop posting this bullshit and be realisitic

  27. avsjoendryan says:

    nope… first lines good, sanderson will play with stoll and torres, 3rd line will the same with schremp instead of sanderson. nillson will play with thor and pouliot, but the last line will feature many different players.

    souray-smid
    pitkanen-staios
    tarnstrom-greene

    ull also be seeing…gilbert,grebeshkov etc.

    roli-garon

  28. Oil-Life says:

    nilsson will play not stortini ***** the guy blows horribly at hockey

  29. Oil-Life says:

    bro you forgot thor in the lineup!

    hemmer-horc-pisani
    sanderson-stoll-torres
    moreau-reasoner-poutliot
    thoreson-schremp-nilsson

    almost perfect though not bad haha

  30. Oil-Life says:

    this man knows his hockey!  when we had pronger we didnt have much for forwards. peca was terrible.  so we had smytty, we goit some young forwards who didnt have a great year last season but we know they are better (ie: horcoff, pisani, torres).  i agree we will be a sleeper next year, but in no way are we stanley cup contenders yet.  wait for the deadline (like in 06) and lets hope we are in a good enough position to pull of a couple trades to really help the team like 2 seasons ago.

  31. avsjoendryan says:

    my bad…

  32. 143rs says:

    Since im not a fan of any hockeyteam from the North west side il give my opinion:

    1. VANCOUVER
    2. COLORADO
    3. MINNESOTA
    4. CALGARY
    5. EDMONTON

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