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View Poll Results: Who will win the Western Conference's Northwest Division
Coloardo Avalanche 6 100.00%
Calgary Flames 0 0%
Vancouver Cancuks 0 0%
Edmonton Oilers 0 0%
Minnesota Wild 0 0%
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Old 08-26-2001, 09:14 AM   #1
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Default PREVIEW: Northwest Division

The countdown is now at 6 weeks until the NHL's regular season, so every week, I will start a new thread where we can preview each of the NHL's 6 divisions, with the 7th week of discussion belonging to our final predictions.

This thread concerns the Western Conference's Pacific Division that features the Minnesota Wild, Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, and, the defending champions, the Colorado Avalanche.

I love this division, because it almost gaurantees that we'll see at least one Canadian team in the Western Conference playoffs! However, those one or two teams definitely will not be seeded as one of the top three teams in the West and thus, have home ice advantage.

Easily, the Colorado Avalanche will overtake this division once again. It's almost unfair. They have the exact same team as last season, except they are missing Ray Bourque, and, with a team as strong as the Avalanche, he won't be missed all that much as compared to a team like Boston.

The Edmonton Oilers have suffered the lost of Doug Weight this offseason -- management too scared to leave him as an unrestricted free agent after the 2002 season, and not get anything for him in return. However, they got a few good players in the deal... uhh.... Jochen Hecht (a 2000-2001 rookie) is one, and I forget the others... it doesn't matter, though... Doug Weight IS Edmonton... It's too difficult to think of a team in Edmonton without Doug Weight -- I sure can't do it.

That's why I'm not sure if the Oilers will make the playoffs or not. The Calgary Flames, however.... It's time for their breakout year. They haven't made the playoffs since 1996 (or was it 1995?), but it's time they make it. I think that the fans in Calgary will welcome Roman Turek with open arms, and I'm sure Turek will perform outstanding for the Flames with Stanley Cup-winning pressure not as high as it was in St. Louis.

...then there's Vancouver. What to say about Vancouver??... they still don't have a solid, proven #1 goaltender. That's going to be a tough blow if Cloutier doesn't play decent .500-or-better hockey... Vancouver would definitely contend for a higher seed than 8th if they had a better goalie, with an oustanding core of young talent.

Minnesota will be an interesting team this year. They were one of the winningest expansion teams earlier on in their inagural season last year (didn't they go on a 10- or 20-something unbeaten streak??), and there is more to come. Minnesota has a good young goalie (what Vancouver needs) in Manny Fernendez, as well as some other decent players such as Andrew Brunette.

In a few seasons, this division is going to be deadly strong, as long as everyone can hold on to their young players.

So there ya go -- my breakdown of the NHL's Pacific Division:: Coloardo will be #1, followed by Calgary #2 (probably #7 in the West... still undecided), and Edmonton and Vancouver will battle it out for the 3rd and 4th spot in the division. Minnesota will finish last.

Last edited by lmanchur.; 09-01-2001 at 08:26 AM.
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