Seems like the Western Conference is always in the discussion as to who the Stanley Cup favorite resides. The CHI-ANA-LA combination seems to work well in the media. And with the recent shifting to So Cal as a "hockey hotbed", we may see another year of Western teams dominating the year. Will Chicago defend their Stanley Cup or will a new team rise up and usher in new superstar faces for a new generation?
Anaheim: With Horcoff the only significant acquisition, this team is just going to give it another shot at the Chicago dynasty machine for the best team in the league. Even
Arizona: A rebuilding franchise that needed to get tougher added John Scott and Steve Downie. They didn't add any scoring so look for them to value another lottery pick this year. Downgrade
Calgary: Frolik might be a great fit into a team that will challenge again for a playoff spot. This is what a team with a lot of grit and youngsters should be.Even
Chicago: A lot of players were shown the door in this off season. Sharp, Timonen (to retirement) Versteeg just to name a few. If Kane can't play it's all of a sudden looking very strange to see a lot of fresh faces on a team that's supposed to be defending their championship.Downgrade
Colorado: Blake Comeau thrived in Pittsburgh for cheap salary. Hopefully he can provide a goal scoring clutch that will supliment the young core players here. But they lost Ryan O'Riley.Downgrade
Dallas: A team that collected up a bunch of players from other winning systems should be a playoff contender for sure. Look for Sharp and Oduya to return winning ways back to the big D. HUGE Upgrade
Edmonton: They've got McDavid, but who's going to go? Eberle seemed to temporarily fix that with being on the IR. Their goaltending situation improved with Talbot trying for the starting job after his playoff heroics.Even
Los Angeles: They lost a few players to controversial news stories Richards and Voynov. They didn't replace them in the free agency market. Erhoff is aging and Lucic will add the grit. Enroth is a valuable back-up in case Quick needs a break. Upgrade
Minnesota: This is where the Dubnyk trade from last season will pay off if it is going to be a success. Is he the franchise goalie they need there? Downgrade
Nashville: I don't see anyone new here on this roster. Not even one possible replacement for Weber. They'll ride goaltender Rinne until his wheels fall off.Even
San Jose: Joel Ward brings his clutch playoff scoring touch to San Jose. But will they even make it to the post-season in time for him to use it? This may be the last hurrah of the Thorton-Pavelski-Marleau era. Even!
St. Louis: They adjusted their roster for more consistent role players. Brouwer is the key to rounding out the offense. Can Bortuzzo look like the blue-chip prospect he was in the Penguins system?Upgrade
Vancouver: They shipped out their young developing goalies and threw a bunch of money at unproven Brandon Sutter. Downgrade
Winnipeg: The Myers-Stafford trade that everyone was surprised by last year's trading deadline will get it's chance to shine all season long here. Look for them to continue building a playoff contending team.Upgrade