Dynasty Hockey League

Season 25 Western Conference Preview

 

With the ending of a hectic off-season, this DHL season looks to be one of the most highly competitive season’s in recent history for the league, with many big name UFA’s finding new homes. This article will be analyzing the DHL’s Western Conference(duh, look at the title) and see how the west looks to be shaping up this year

1st in the West

John and his Blues just came off their 2nd straight title and 3rd in 4 seasons and he once again looks primed to be the team to beat in the west this year. He never seems to keep the same guys for too long but always seems to be the team to beat. His Blues might be slightly weaker this year as his d-core isn’t exactly invincible but a forward core containing the likes of Malkin, Tarasenko, Scheifele, Boeser, Keller, Kessel, Okposo, Zucker and Perlini is going to be hard to stop. Predicting though he will trade one of his prime forwards for a prime d-man though. Either way teams out west will be pulling their hair out trying to figure out how to shutdown this offensive juggernaut.

 

2nd in the West

This was a tight  3 way race to decide who wins the Gretzky division. At the end of the day the Canucks might not have the big superstar name forward or d-man that San Jose and Colorado possess, this team is insanely deep. Led by superstar puckstopper Bobrovsky, this team will give their opponents headaches every night. The team is deep enough to have a guy like Steen or Backes as their 3C with wingers like Hayes and Ferland to play with, this team will be lethal. The ability to run with 3 above-average scoring lines while also having a deep veteran d-core that can shutdown most if not all the teams in the league is scary. This is the team that has the best chance of knocking Mr.Hanson off of his throne in the west. With lots of draft picks in the upcoming draft and several promising young prospects, I wouldn’t be too surprised to see them go out and get a big name player to push them ahead of the almighty Blues in the wild west.

 

3rd in the West

Adam and his Avs are looking to be a major contender in the west this season. With Tavares leading the forwards, Burns leading the d-core and Smith being the starter for is team this year, he has a veteran stud for each of his positions(Forward, D-core and Goalie, not breaking forwards into C’s and wingers). As much of us knows the sim loves superstars so I expect them all to have award worthy seasons. Even though he has these superstar names the big question is his team deep enough to go all the way? The top 2 forward lines I’m projecting look great. It’s hen you get to the bottom 6 you get kind of concerned. Same with his D pairings. Top 2 pairings, magnificent. The 3rd pairing, not as magical. Big thing for this Av’s squad would be an upgrade at 3C, Ribeiro at 3C will be a major achilles heel that teams will continue to exploit until a more suitable replacement is found. If they do get a 3C they will be able to challenge for the division title and the western conference title.

 

4th in the West

Once again John and his Sharks are among the best in the west. His young forward core with veteran superstars in Kane and Getzlaf will be one of the most dynamic forward groups to watch. Laine will be one of the best(if not the best) goal scorers in the league and could challenge for 50 goals. Add in Kane, Pastrnak and Aho with Laine and that’s one of the best winger groups in the league, and they are all RW’s! Will most likely switch some to LW but still is one hell of a group. Add in the deep defense led by Pietrangelo should be one of the best d-cores in the league as well. The big question for the Sharks is their goaltending. Will Budaj be able to hold the fort? Or will John make a big move to get a better starter? If he does get a better starter, watch out.

 

5th in the West

Kris and his Crosby led Jackets should finish better than 8th like they did last season. Crosby, Carter, Gaudreau, Brown, Eaves and Dadanov make up this dynamic forward core. Add in one of top D-cores in the league led by Ristolainen and OEL people might be wondering “why aren’t they ranked higher?”. Goaltending questions factor in as Allen is solid, but by no means is a top starter. A top 20 goalie in the league is decent but might not be able to stand up to a team like John and his Blues or the Canucks. The biggest reason though is lack of a 2C. 2 or 3 years ago Sedin would’ve been an alright to great 2C. Now he would be a 3C at best on a true contender. That lack of 2C needs to be filled. He could acquire a winger to put in Carter’s current place in the lineup to move Carter to 2C. Until than it’s hard to call the Blue Jackets a top tier contender.

 

6th in the West

Reggie has some big shoes to fill, Jonathan was regarded as one of the best GM’s the league has ever seen. Reggie seems up to the challenge though. He has a really young and really deep group of C’s led  by Eichel to start off with, and has one of the best young goalies in the league in Gibson. Add in Schwartz and JT Miller this is a nice group of young forwards. On the defensive side of things he has Big Buff, Ghost Bear and Morgan Reilly leading the way so offensive production from the blueline won’t be a problem either. Apart from his Centre’s his team lacks enough depth to really be considered an over the top contender though. With a lack of veterans as well it might be tough for this young core to win come playoff time. Overall this teams time to truly contend is not now, but the time is approaching.

 

7th in the West

If you just looked at Mr.Rod Spikes Oilers forward core, you would think that his team should be at east 2nd, if not 1st in the west. Ovechkin, Benn, Toews, Bergeron, Parise, Stastny, Vanek and Frolik  is one hell of a forward group. Dynamic scoring, play-making and two-way play makes this a GM’s dream of what they want from their forward group for a contender. Once you see the defense and goalies though, you understand why the Oilers and ranked 7th. Talbot isn’t a great starter but he can get you in the playoffs so it’s not terrible goaltending from him, but questionable. The defense is god awful though.Alec Martinez and Justin Schultz lead the d-core. After that there is not much. To be a true contender Mr.God Spike needs at least 2 more top 4 d-men. We may see him trade one of his dynamic forwards for a dynamic d-man too. This team is the major darkhorse to win the west.

 

8th in the West

It will be a major battle for the last playoff spot in the west, at the end of the day though Chris and his Wild will be able to make the playoffs this season. While they aren’t the deepest team in the west, a forward core of Stamkos, Pavelski, Stone, Panarin and Hertl should push them above the rest of the western conference teams looking to get the last playoff spot. Carlson and Fowler are really their only top 4 caliber d-men so Chris will need to find a couple more top 4 caliber guys to run with them to be a true threat in the west. King Hank should provide more than enough solid goaltending to prevail and help his team return t the playoffs after missing last year.

 

9th in the West

Chris had over 100M in the offseason and put it to good use. He acquired stud forwards Blake Wheeler and Chris Kreider just to highlight what he did this past off-season. Unfortunately it won’t be enough this season to get him into the playoffs. I’m projecting that they fall just the slightest bit The forward core is playoff worthy, with the offensive group being led by Wheeler and Krieder and having Thorton, Maroon, Pearson, Stepan, Henrique and Anderson one can argue that Dallas Chris’s team is deeper than Minnesota Chris’s team in terms of forwards. Dallas Chris also arguably has more top 4 caliber d-men than Minny Chris(none of them are as good as Carlson though). Where Minny Chris gets ahead of Dallas Chris though is goaltending. While Dallas Chris has a better backup in Murray, his new starter Fleury can’t beat put King Hank. If Chris can get an upgrade in his starting goalie somehow he can easily leap frog Minny Chris for the final playoff spot though.

 

10th in the West

Steve and his Preds will just miss the playoffs by the skin of their teeth with their current team. But with easily the best tandem of goalies in the league, Vasi being only 23 and Hellebuyck being only 24, Steve could easily grab a young d-man or forward around the same age who are also studs in exchange for one of them. Overall team isn’t overly deep but has decent depth at forward and defense. Can easily leapfrog up the standings if Steve chooses to aquire help at forward or defense in exchange for one of his young star goalies though.

 

11th in the West

Lance’s Ducks has probably had the most heartbreaking offseason of any DHL squad. Buying out multiple teams from bidding on their starter King Hank just to be out bidded by the one team they didn’t buyout. Lance was able to bring Schneider to be the starter but it won’t be enough to get them a postseason berth. The Ducks have decent offensive depth with Perry, Marleau, Granlund, Silfverberg, Perron and Turris leading the way. But it won’t be able to compensate for the lack of defensive depth and the sub-par goaltending. Lance is one of those guys that you hope him and his team have a good year, but unfortunately I’m projecting it to be a rough year for him, unless he can bring a major upgrade on defense or in nets. He should still be able to challenge for a playoff spot but it’s not looking too good right now.

 

12th in the West

Pasi has made moves to jump back into the playoffs this year. Getting Mack, Hanifin, Marchessault and Rakell among others this offseason, Pasi will fall  short of his goal. Forwards have nice depth for sure but the d-core is lacking at the moment. Goaltending is the main reason the Wings won’t make it though. Reimer isn’t the guy you want getting the majority of starts if you want to make the playoffs. If Pasi can bring in a legit starter I could see him challenging for a playoff berth. Watch out for this team in the future though. Pasi and his Wings will be a handful to happen in the near future.

 

13th in the West

This team is in it for the long haul and not rushing their rebuild. With young pieces like Larkin and Teravainen already on the pro squad and prospects Jost, Andersson, Brannstrom and Parsons looking like great potential pros this teams future is bright. Won’t be near a playoff squad but I don’t think Smallz thinks it will be or want it to be near a playoff spot as this team needs future studs badly.

 

14th in the West

With only a handful of decent players and 1 superstar in Barkov, LA should be finishing last. Calgary Doesn’t have a guy near as good as Barkov but Adrian’s team is so horrific after that. Has plenty of future prospects in Pettersson, Chabot, Timmins, Hauge and Vilardi that promise a bright future along with Barkov, Lindholm, Morissey and Lindell on the roster. This team overall though should be the laughing stock of the western Confernce

 

Now this is my personnel opinion on how the season will shape out, nothing is guaranteed. For all we know Barkov could single handily bring LA to the top of the West, win the Presidents trophy, just to get swept in the 1st round. The East projection will be made by Rich so it’s not just  one guy projecting what the conferences will look like, hopefully everyone has enjoyed this article and agree I should get a job as a fortune teller.

 

#FireJJ

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