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Western Conference Preview

Let's face it, the Western Conference is going to have another tight race to the top 8, another one that will come down the very last game of the regular season. So, who takes the entire conference? It could be the new and improved LA Kings. It could be the Detroit Red Wings, which is filled with vets that simply know how to win. It could be the Chicago Blackhawks, who - when healthy - can make another Cup run with a goalie who has the potential to have a great season.

The other question is: Who will be the cellar-dweller? Goalie issues plague both the Phoenix Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche, while the Minnesota Wild, Dallas Stars, and Columbus Blue Jackets let some of their best players go through trades or free agency. Or will it be the Edmonton Oilers again, who's young stars are perhaps still coming into their own?

It took me a long time to pick a top team for the Western Conference, but I'm going to pick the Detroit Red Wings followed closely by the San Jose Sharks.

LA will make a ton of noise with the return of Anze Kopitar, finally getting Drew Doughty to sign, and with new members Simon Gagne and (as much as it makes me cringe to say it) Mike Richards. I predict they'll be within 2 points of San Jose when it's all said and done at the end of April. 

There's no reason for the Detroit Red Wings to not take the Central Division either, especially if Ty Conklin can improve from his previous season with the St. Louis Blues. Speaking of St. Louis, they will undoubtedly be the dark horse of the Western Conference with the addition of vets like Jared Langenbrunner and Jason Arnott to their young talent. If Jaroslav Halak can perform anything like he did in Montreal in 2010, then there's no reason to not believe St. Louis will give teams like Detroit or LA a run for their money throughout the regular and post seasons.  


1. Detroit Red Wings

2. San Jose Sharks

3. Vancouver Canucks

4. Los Angeles Kings

5. Chicago Blackhawks

6. St. Louis Blues

7. Anaheim Ducks

8. Nashville Predators

9. Calgary Flames

10. Minnesota Wild

11. Columbus Blue Jackets

12. Dallas Stars

13. Phoenix Coyotes

14. Edmonton Oilers

15. Colorado Avalanche