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North West Outlook

Posted 12:44 AM ET | Comments 7
This year the North West division might be the closest and one of the most interesting divisions in hockey. Why you ask? Well because all 5 teams have a legitimate chance of winning the Division but all face certain questions that could make or break there season. But who really knows anyone could be a top three seed come April.

Colorado Avalanche

Key Additions: Darcy Tucker, Andrew Raycroft, Daniel Tjarnqvist, Per Ledin
Losses: Jose Theodore, Andrew Brunette, Jeff Finger, Kurt Sauer

Possible Lineups

Wolski - Sakic - Svatos
Jones - Arnason/Hensick-McLeod

Foote Clark


Can Budaj or Raycroft Take charge and lead this team to victory?

Season Outlook

The Avalanches season depends on if Budaj can take handle of the load or if Raycroft can return to his Calder trophy winning days in Boston. Another key factor for the Avalanche is there health last year the had Sakic, Smyth and Stastny injured at the same time which took them on a bit of a detour but if they can stay healthy and get OK goal tending they will contend for the Northwest

Edmonton Oilers

Key Additions: Eric Cole, Lubomir Visnovsky
Key Losses: Joni Pitkanen, Jarret Stoll, Matt Greene

Possible Lineups




Are the Oilers still too young to really contend?

Season Outlook

Next season the Oil will be one of the most fast-paced and exciting teams to watch. I think they have the best chance to win this division if the goal tending even stays the same as last year. Another Question is are they too young and it might take them another year or two to really develop?

Calgary Flames

Key Additions: Todd Bertuzzi, Mike Cammaleri
Key losses: Kristian Huselius, Alex Tanguay

Possible Lineups


Phaneuf - Regehr
Aucoin - Vandemeer
Sarich - Giordano


Can Bertuzzi return to the form of his Vancouver days?

Season Outlook

Calgary is gonna be pretty good but they are gonna have a tough time scoring much like Vancouver and Minnesota. Also Kiprusoff needs to be on his game all season. But they could be there at the end if Iginla leads like he did last year by example. They have a solid core of defense man which will help alot.

Minnesota Wild

Key Additions: Marek Zidlicky, Owen Nolan, Andrew Brunette, Antii Miettinen
Key losses: Pavol Demitra, Brian Rolston
Possible Lineups




Can their defensive style prevail over the division again?

Season Outlook

Minnesota will be successful if there defensive system can win them games like last year. They have added experience in Nolan and Brunette. but can they overcome the loss of a 30 goal scorer in Rolston and a 20-25 in Demitra. The question will be can they score more then last year and still play a Defensive style.

Vancouver Canucks

Key Additions:Steve Bernier. Pavol Demitra, Kyle Wellwood, Darcy Hordichuck, Ryan Johnson
Key Losses: Markus Naslund, Brendan Morrison

Possible Lineups:




Can they find a way to fill the voids left by Naslund and Morrison?

Season Outlook

The Canucks last year relied heavily on play of Luongo who wasn't on his A game all the time. They will have to get more scoring out of there depth this year not just the top two lines. That will be the only way for them to be affective this season. If those things can happen they will be in the playoffs most certainly maybe even a top three seed in the Western Conference.

So as you can see this will be an interesting year for the Northwest and it will be fun to watch all the divisional games as they will all be exciting. Who will win this division i will let you decide? We will see next April.

A thanks to Martok2309 for editing this blog
Filed Under:   Flames   Oilers   Wild   Canucks   Avs  
July 27, 2008 10:34 AM ET | Delete
good job Drake this division could be a crap shoot. I think the Oil could very well be the team to beat.
July 27, 2008 12:22 PM ET | Delete
Good layout Drake. Lets hope the Av's have a great season.
July 27, 2008 1:39 PM ET | Delete
Good job. The canucks lines are prolly going to look more like Sedin - Sedin - Bernier, Raymond - Demitra - Wellwood, Burrows - Kesler - Pyatt, Hordichuk - Johnson - Pettinger, Ohlund - Edler, Bieksa - Mitchell, Salo - Kraijcek...Now if we get Sundin than remove pyatt slide over Demitra, demote Wellwood and slot in Sundin:D
July 27, 2008 1:45 PM ET | Delete
fair analysis , im looking for the resurgence of the avs to kick some ass for my viewing pleasure from the eastern conference , i think raycroft will find his form again which will be awesome as it is a shame to see talent go to waste .
July 27, 2008 4:10 PM ET | Delete
Although I would love Sakic to come back, its a major question mark at this point. and I would love to see a top line of Svatos-Stastny-Smyth. I think Svatos can replace Hedjuks offensive contributions of years pasts. I LOVE our defenseman, as I see Liles putting better number than last along with last year's much improved defensive play. Clark remains excellent and less pressure on Hannan to be the next Foote, which he clearly is not, will help a lot. Footer is as great as before, and if Leopold can finally stay healthy (I mean how much bad luck can a guy take?) This team will be a contender depending on lots of things. Wolski breaking out, Budaj or Raycroft stepping up, Svatos lighting it up, Tucker doing what he does best, Granato's coaching and so on.. I want to see a full year of Hensiiick and maybe a call-up of Stewart or Galiardi? I think Cumiskey, for his development, should stayin the AHL... This team could be very good or suck major ass. And if we suck I hope we don't finish in 9th... A good draft pick could do us some good.
July 28, 2008 12:01 AM ET | Delete
I would have to agree a very fair analysis of all the teams. Good job
July 28, 2008 1:49 PM ET | Delete
It will be intersting to see what affect these new additions will have in the N.W., if you look at most of the injury proneness (if that's a word) it is high. Cole, Bertuzzi, Demitra, Camallerri and Tucker... all have recent injury history. The N.W. is always fun because the whole division has fans that are incredibly into their hockey teams. I think it's a pretty fair statement to say that it will be close but there is always one team that stinks it out and I have a feeling it will be minny. The scoring losses are too great and Nolan would be perhaps asked to fill a top line role if Gaborik gets injured, which is like saying the sun is going to rise.
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