Dynasty Hockey League

West Playoff Preview Season 22

A look at the first round match ups in the DHL’s West

 

(1) Minny vs. (8) Vancouver
Minny
45-20-12-5 – 107pts, Presidents Trophy

Vancouver
42-30-8-2 – 94pts, 8th West

Season Series – 1-1

The Forwards:
Minny Top 6 – Matt Duchene (77), Milan Lucic (76), Artemi Panarin (74), Mike Hoffman (73), Ryan Callahan (71), Mike Ribeiro (68) – (439 OV Total)
Vancouver Top 6- Ryan Kessler (77), Alex Steen (77), Brandon Saad (74), Johnny Gaudreau (74), Mats Zuccarello (74), Justin Williams (73) (449 OV Total)

ADVANTAGE: Vancouver

Both these teams have sneaky good forward groups. Both have a nice mix of sandpaper and skill. Both have a mix of vets and young guys. Despite the OV rating difference the top 6 for both teams are fairly even. Back in the preseason I had questioned if Ribeiro could cut it as a top 6 at only 68 OV, but with a 68 point season he has proven he can do it. I think the main advantage here is Vancouver’s stellar 3rd line of Hanzal (77), Komarov (76), Ward (75). That 3rd line is better than a lot of top lines in the league.

The D:
Minny Top 4 – PK Subban (79), Alex Pietrangelo (75), Jonny Boychuk (75), Morgan Rielly (74) – 303 Total OV
Van Top 4 – Zdeno Chara (78), Shayne Gostisbehere (77), Sami Vatanen (75), Karl Alzner (72) – 302 Total OV

Preseason I called Vancouver’s D my favorite group in the league. One of the few teams that matches Vancouver on the back end is Minny. One through six I think these two may match up as the two best all around D cores in the league.

ADVANTAGE: Even

Goaltending
Minny Starter – Petr Mrazek (78OV, 85 key ratings)
Van Starter – Corey Schneider (81OV, 87 key ratings)

Mrazek had a .925 S% this season vs. Schneider’s .921 S%. Seems like Mrazek overperformed during the season and Schneider underperformed a little bit. Sometimes the playoffs can be a bit of a reset button. I think Schneide will be the better goalie in this season.

ADVANTAGE: Vancouver

KEY MATCHUP – Van comes into the playoffs as one of the DHL’s hottest teams. Minny limped in with one of its worst ten game stretches all year. Games should be very even, but Van’s 3rd line and higher rated goalie make the difference.

PREDICTION: The Presidents Trophy curse continues. Van takes a hard-fought series in six games.
(2) San Jose vs. (7) Nashville
San Jose
45-28-7-2 – 99pts, 2nd West

Nashville
40-27-14-1 – 94pts, 7th West

Season Series – 2-0 San Jose

The Forwards:
Sharks Top 6 – Patrick Kane (79), Vladimir Tarasenko (79), Ryan Getzlaf (78), Andrew Ladd (75), Brad Marchand (74), Vincent Trocheck (73) – (458OV Total)
Preds Top 6 – Boon Jenner (76), Chris Kreider (76), Frans Nielsen (74), Marcus Johansson (74), Troy Brouwer (74), Brock Nielsen (74) – (448OV Total)

There is winner in this category. San Jose boast on of the best groups of forwards in the league and the leagues top scorer in Patrick Kane. As far as offense goes, Nashville probably has worst group of all playoff teams. It is clear who has the advantage here.

ADVANTAGE: Sharks and its not close

The D:
San Jose Top 4 – Shea Weber (81), Marc-Edouard Vlasic (75), Andrei Markov (72), Travis Hamonic (72) – (300OV Total)
Nashville Top 4 – Tyson Barrie (76), Aaron Ekblad (75), Alex Goligoski (72), Kevin Bieksa (70) – (293OV Total)

These two are pretty even on the back end. They both have a stud top pair. Barrie went off this season finishing second in scoring for Nashville with 53 points. He will need to keep up that play for Nashville to have a chance in this one. San Jose does counters with Weber who also had an outstanding season with 52 points, but his numbers were surely helped by the stellar forward group. There is a drop off for both teams after the top pair but the supporting cast is solid for both.

ADVANTAGE: Even

Goaltending:
San Jose – Henrik Lundqvist (83OV, 88 key ratings)
Nashville – Michal Neuvirth (75OV, 83 key ratings)

Looking at his performance this season you would never guess that Lundqvist was the 2nd highest rated goalie in the league. He has a fairly average season finishing with a .915 S%. Nashville went with an almost even split. Neuvirth played in 47 games and had a .920 S%. Halak played in 46 and had a .917 S%.

ATVANTAGE: San Jose

I will go with ratings over the in-season performance here. Lundqvist is just too good for his average play continue.

KEY MATCHUP – In the net. If Lundqvist shows up, and out plays Neuvirth like he should, this series should be an easy win for the Sharks. Looking like that could be a big if. I would have guessed Sharks would sweep this one, but last night’s Nashville win makes that impossible. I think that will be the only win for the Preds in this years playoffs.

PREDICTION – Sharks in 5
(3) St. Louis vs. (6) LA
St. Louis
44-28-9-1, 98pts, 3rd West
LA
40-27-12-3, 95pts, 6th West

Season Series – 1-1

The Forwards:
St. Louis Top 6 – Steven Stamkos (78), Taylor Hall (78), Brayden Schenn (76), Sean Monahan (75), Nick Bjugstad (73), Kyle Turris (71) – (451OV Total)
LA Top 6 – Anze Kopitar (81), Alexsander Barkov (78), Pavel Datsyuk (77), Nathan MacKinnon (75), Mikael Backlund (74), Patric Hornqvist (73) – (458 Total)

Both teams have a really good top 6 in this series. The Blues top line of Monahan, Hall, and Stamkos have been rolling in the second half of the season and will be hard to stop. Barkov went off for Adrian this season finishing with 82 points. Offensively the rest of the forward group underperformed a bit this season for LA though. I would expect guys like Datsyuk and Kopitar to have higher point totals than they had. One thing LA has is that patented three lines of solid two way players. LA has the better depth here for sure. Mark Letestu is not your ideal third line center, even if he did have a solid season. Top 6 is fairly even, but edge to LA with the better depth.

ADVANTAGE: Edge to LA

The D:
St. Louis Top 4 – Mike Green (76), TJ Brodie (74), Brooks Orpik (72), Dan Girardi (70) – (292OV Total)
LA Top 4 – Duncan Keith (77), Ryan McDonagh (77), Kevin Klein (74), Jonathan Ericsson (71) – (299OV Total)

The Blues defense was a weak spot to start the season, but John picked up Mike Green into the season and I think it was a big part of the turn around for St.Louis. Both teams have a good top two D and a solid second pair. The third pair is fairly weak for both teams as well. I don’t see a major advantage on either side on D in this series.

ADVANTAGE: Even

Goaltending:
St. Louis – Corey Crawford (82OV, 88 key ratings)
LA – Pekka Rinne (79OV, 82 key ratings)

On paper St. Louis has a clear advantage in this area. Crawford is a top 3-5 goalie in the DHL this year. Rinne has some of the lowest key ratings of any goalie in the playoffs. That being said both goalies had similar results during the regular season. Pekka Rinne finished the season with a .918 S% while Crawford finished at .920. With similar regular season stats I will take the higher rated goalie.

ATVANTAGE: St. Louis

KEY MATCHUP – LA’s forwards against Crawford. Who will be the one to step up. If Crawford doesn’t have a strong series LA will take it. If Crawford gets hot St. Louis will be hard to beat. The sim is known to be a goalie whore in the playoffs, so I am going with the best goalie in a long hard series between the last two DHL champs
PREDICTION – St. Louis in 7
(4) Colorado vs. (5) Edmonton
Colorado
42-26-11-3, 98pts, 4th West
LA
41-26-11-3, 97pts, 5th West

Season Series – 4-1-1 Colorado

The Forwards:
Colorado Top 6 – Tavares (79), Okposo (77), Landeskog (77), Brassard (76), Scott Hartnell (75) Cammalleri (72) – (456OV Total)
Edmonton Top 6 – Alex Ovechkin (83), Jamie Benn (83), Joe Pavelski (80), Jonathan Toews (78), Abdelkader (75), Tomas Plekanec (74) – (473OV Total)

On paper Edmonton easily has the best top 6 in the league, but Baba Booey’s big guns struggled to put up big numbers this year. Ovi only had 60 points, Benn had 67, Pavelski only had 66. The addition of Toews paid off for Edmonton. He finished as the teams leading scorer and there was a big improvement in the team’s performance once he was added. Adam’s top six is impressive as well, and Mike Cammalleri went off this year with 77 points, but Edmonton has a clear advantage here.
ADVANTAGE: Edmonton

The D:
Colorado Top 4 – Suter (77), Savard (74), Gardiner (73), Spurgeon (71) – (295OV Total)
Edmonton Top 4 –Jake Muzzin (77), Alec Martinez (76), Nick Holden (73), Jason Demers(72) – (298OV Total)

These two teams are fairly even on D, but are quite different. Colorado is more of a speedy smaller offensive D group, with three guys with 75+ Speed. Edmonton is more of a big, tough defensive defense, with three guys with 75+ strength. I’m not seeing an advantage for either team here.

ADVANTAGE: Even

Goaltending:
Colorado – Devan Dubnyk (81OV, 86 key ratings)
Edmonton – Ben Bishop (84OV, 90 key ratings)

For the best rated goalie in the league Ben Bishop sure had a very average season finishing with a .917 S%. Dubnyk was a rock for Colorado this finishing with an excellent .927 S%. One has the excellent ratings one has the excellent regular season stats. I’m calling this one a draw.

ATVANTAGE: Even

KEY MATCHUP – Goaltending again. Dubnyk has to be a huge factor for the Avs if they are going to win this series. If Bishop plays up to his ratings and is better than Dubnyk, Adam is done for. In the end I thing Edmonton is too much for Adam’s Avs. Edmonton has been surging at the end of the season and Colorado has been fading a bit in the last quarter. The Aves will not roll over but I think Edmonton takes this one.
PREDICTION – Edmonton in 6

 

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