Saturday, February 5, 2011

NHL Playoff Predictions

My thoughts on the teams I expect to be in the conference finals come playoff time... along with those that I could see making it:

Western Conference

Elite teams
Vancouver Canucks - serious Stanley Cup contender. Have all the pieces needed.
Detroit Red Wings - see Canucks, Vancouver. A very good team.

Next level
San Jose Sharks - playing well now, but at this point any deep playoff run would surprise me. As a Sharks fan, it would be great to be surprised.
Dallas Stars - I just have a hard time being convinced.
Anaheim Ducks - sort of like the Stars... I don't see them being elite right now without both Pronger and Neidermayer.
Colorado Avalanche - not sold on the goaltending.

Eastern Conference

Elite Team
Philadelphia Flyers - excellent hockey team.

Next level
Boston Bruins - I can't shake the memory of them losing a playoff series last year after being up three games to none.
Pittsburgh Penguins - good team with current healthy parts, but not a great one.
Washington Capitals - think there's a reason they just never break through.
Montreal Canadiens - not a great team, but seems to do the best they can with the skill they've got.
Tampa Bay - looking at next year, me thinks.

Right now, I'd say things point towards a Vancouver - Philadelphia Cup Finals... with the experience from last season pushing the Flyers just over the top.