Dynasty Hockey League

Western Conference Preview – Season 22

Anaheim

Forwards

Top 6 – James Neal (78), Paul Stastny (75), Evander Kane (75), Joe Colborne (74), Jamie McGinn (73), Bo Horvat (72)

 

Neal and Stastny should be an excellent combo on the first line. With Neal’s 78 scoring and Stastny’s 80 passing they should fill up the score sheet this season. The problem for the Ducks will be scoring depth, or maybe I should say passing depth. Stastny is the only forward on the team with 70+ passing and only him and Neal have 70+ PC. If the big two go cold Anaheim might struggle to score.

 

Defence

Top 4 – Letang (84), Phaneuf (76), Seth Jones (73), Jack Johnson (72)

 

Letang is a top defenseman and at 84OV this season he could be the guy to beat for the Norris trophy. Dion and Jones should also have solid seasons. I feel like AJ could have made better use of $4M in cap space then Jack Johnson’s bloated contract, but this is a pretty good top 4.

 

Goalie

Cam Talbot (78)

 

Talbot is a solid starter, but at 78OV I can’t see him holding up well over the full season in a tough western conference.

 

The Bottom Line

I think this is the year we see the Ducks finally return to the playoffs. It will not be easy. I think it will be a battle until the end, but AJ’s team is better all around than the others looking to seek into that 8th place.

 

Calgary

 

Forwards

Top 6 – Ryan O’Reilly (77), Patrick Sharp (76), Brayden Schenn (76), Leo Komarov (76), Dylan Larkin (72), Milan Michalek (71)

 

This is a pretty solid group of forwards. Nice mix of size, passing, scoring, speed, and grit. Also, nice mix of young RFA’s and experienced vets. A little more work this off season and Rui surely could have had a better 2nd line winger than Michalek.

 

Defense

Top 4 – Michael Stone (75), Karl Alzner (72), Johnny Oduya (69), Eric Gryba (66)

 

Kinda a “blah” crew here. Rui doesn’t really have anyone to generate offense from the back end. Again, only lazieness to blame for the poor depth here. So may better options than Gryba/Pesce/Gelinas for a top 4 D.

 

Goalie

Jimmy Howard (72)

 

And it looks like Rui is willing to piss away another season with a BS goalie

 

The Bottom Line

Solid group of forwards, no depth on the blueline, and a bullshit goalie. Pure laziness from Rui means another wasted season for Calgary. I have the Flames at #12 in the West.

 

 

Chicago

 

Forwards

Top 6 – Mark Scheifele (77), Mikkel Boedker (75), Derek Stepan (74), J.T. Miller (74), Jannik Hansen (73), Reilly Smith (72)

 

Jonathan comes back to find his solid crew of forwards from a few seasons ago basically untouched. This is a really nice crew of RFA forwards. A stud veteran with high PA rating to play with Scheifele be nice, but this group should have a solid outing this season.

 

Defence

Top 4 – Dustin Byfuglien (81), Brent Seabrook (79), John Carlson (77), Thomas Hickey (68)

 

Wow. This is the best top three in the league for sure. Steep fall off after that, but in the last few seasons we have seen teams with little defensive depth do very well. It will be interesting to see if Jonathan can flip one of his big three into some forward or goalie help.

 

Goalie

Sergei Bobrovsky/Karri Ramo (72)

 

Yikes. Jonathan is late on the scene coming back into the league fairly late in the off season. Hopefully he can find a solution to this goalie situation, because this tandem will surely result in a lost season for Chicago.

 

The Bottom Line

I have this team at 11, but with an *. If Jonathan can swing a deal to get a really goalie in here this could be a playoff team, but in FHL a 72 OV goalie just wont cut it. I can’t remember a team ever making the playoffs with a goalie below 75-76 OV.

 

Colorado

 

Forwards

Top 6 – Tavares (79), Okposo (77), Landeskog (77), Brassard (76), Cammalleri (72), Gallagher (72)

 

Very nice crew of forwards here. Adam pulled off one of the biggest deals of the offseason picking up Tavares from Boston. There is a lot of scoring power in this forward group, and great depth looking at guys like Hartnell and Vermette on the 3rd line. Now with a true #1 center, the Avs look to be a real contender in the West this season.

 

Defence

Top 4 – Suter (77), Savard (74), Gardiner (73), Spurgeon (71)

 

I really like this crew of defensemen. Adam has a real stud in Suter, and the supporting cast have a good mix of ratings.

 

Goalie

Dubnyk (81)

 

One of the better goalies in the league is just the cherry on top.

The Bottom Line

Adam has a real contender here. He will be in the mix with a group of excellent teams in the 2nd-5th range in the west this season.  East coast bias has me placing him 3rd.

 

Columbus

Forwards

Top 6 – TJ Oshie (75), Rickard Rackell (74), Zack Smith (72), Thomas Vanek (71), Teddy Purcell (70), PA Parenteau (71)

 

Cole made some additions this offseason moving this team’s forward group from pretty terrible to at least respectable. Not sure if guys like Oshie will still be around when this team is ready to compete again though.

 

 

Defense

Top 4 – Zach Bogosian (74), Olli Maata (70), Noah Hanifin (70), Jake McCabe (68)

 

Really nice group of young RFA defensemen here. That defensive depth allowed Cole to move Savard out for Oshie this off season. Guys like Maata and Hanifin will be excellent players in the near future.

 

Goalie

Jake Allen (78)

 

A good young RFA goalie. Looks like Allen will get the chance to start more NHL games this season. He should be an elite goalie for Cole very soon.

 

The Bottom Line

This team has really improved, and should push for a playoff spot, but I think a lack of offense will keep it from finishing the season in the top eight. I see this team just falling short at #9.

 

Dallas

Forwards

Top 6 – Blake Comeau (73), Matt Beleskey (71), Oscar Lindberg (69), Matt Calvert (68), Melker Karlsson (64), Michael Grabner (64)

 

So yeah. Pretty bad.

 

Defense

Top 4 – Jared Cowen (67), Deryk Engelland (67), Nate Schmidt (66), Zach Redmond (66)

 

Haha. I had a little write up about how the D wasn’t too bad with Girardi and Martin, but they had to go with Dallas’ hot start. So yeah, the D is poop too. If Cowen is in your top six D you are in bad shape. When his is top pair…… yeah, you are really shit.

 

Goalie

Ryan Miller (78)

 

If one of Miller or Smith can have a good season in the NHL Chris could make some money on these cheap UFA signings. This goalie tandem may cost him some percentage points in the draft lotto at the end of the season though. If not for the average goaltending this team would be a sure fire bottom two in the league

 

The Bottom Line

Poop forwards, poop D, but average goaltending will keep Chris ahead of Pasi at #13

 

Detroit

Forwards

Top 6 – Chris Kunitz (73), Tanner Pearson (72), Alexander Wennberg (71), Matt Read (68), Brad Richards (68), Calle Jarnkrok (67)

 

Some solid defensive players in here, but not one forward on the team with 70+ scoring or puck control. This group will struggle to score goals this season.

 

Defense

Top 4 – Dmitry Kulikov (70), Marc Staal (69), Mark Barberio (68), Andrew Bodnarchuk (61)

 

When your second pairing has Andrew Bodnarchuk on it is not going to be a very successful season. Western powerhouse teams are going to feast on this crew all season.

 

Goalie

Ondrej Pavelec (69)

Pasi shouldn’t have to worry about Pavelec stealing too many games and moving him down in the lotto rankings.

 

The Bottom Line

A few solid forwards, but sad sack goaltending will surely sink Pasi to the bottom of the Western Conference this season

 

 

 

Edmonton

Forwards

Top 6 – Alex Ovechkin (83), Jamie Benn (83), Joe Pavelski (80), Abdelkader (75), Tomas Plekanec (74), Henrik Sedin (72)

 

Wow. Any time you can trot out three 80+ overall forwards in top 6 you have put together a really nice team.  Baba Booey has packed a whole lot of scoring punch into this team. He has done his part. Let’s see if the sim will play it out better for him better this year.

 

Defense

Top 4 – Oliver Ekman-Larsson (82), Jake Muzzin (77), Alec Martinez (76), Nick Holden (73)

 

Sometimes when we see a top 6 that is as good as this teams, we see the defense was sacrificed to get the stellar forward group under the cap. This team has it all. Nothing was sacrificed on this backend. Ekman-Larsson is a true stud and he has an excellent supporting cast. This team also boasts one of the best top 4 defense groups as well.

 

Goalie

Ben Bishop (84)

 

Once again, this team has it all. Having it all includes having the best rated goalie in the league. Good luck to the western teams that have to play 5-6 games against Baba’s team this season. This is probably the team to beat in the DHL this season.

 

The Bottom Line

This team is head and shoulders above the rest in the west. Baba should have the team to beat in the west this season.

 

LA

Forwards

Top 6 – Anze Kopitar (81), Alexsander Barkov (78), Pavel Datsyuk (77), Nathan MacKinnon (75), Mikael Backlund (74), Patric Hornqvist (73)

 

Adrian tried to move out some of his vets this off-season to continue the LA youth movement, but it seems like it was a buyer’s market and he didn’t get an offer that could make him move Datsyuk or Kopitar. Seems like there are a lot of teams that would rather win the draft lotto than win the cup. By keeping Kopi and Dat Adrian still boast one of the better forward groups in the league.

 

Defense

Top 4 –  Duncan Keith (77), Ryan McDonagh (77), Kevin Klein (74), Jonathan Ericsson (71)

 

Keith and McDonagh make a true top pairing and the supporting cast is solid. This is a crew of D that should make it hard for opposing teams to fill the net against LA this season. Five of the starting six D have 72+ DF ratings. Another good two-way team iced by Adrian this season

 

Goalie

Pekka Rinne (79)

 

This is a bit of a weak spot IMO. Rinne is a 79 OV this season, but that OV rating is really boosted his high durability and endurance from playing so many games in the last NHL season. The 87 EX/LD also inflates his overall a bit. The truth is that Rinne’s 82 raitng in the key goalie stats might not be good enough to stop the best in the west. Hopefully for Adrian his team’s defensive ratings can make up for his goalie’s short falls.

 

The Bottom Line

Adrian still has a really good team here, but I feel like Pekka wil keep this team from being a true contender. Still easily a playoff team though at #6.

 

Minny

Forwards

Top 6 – Matt Duchene (77), Milan Lucic (76), Artemi Panarin (74), Mike Hoffman (73), Ryan Callahan (71), Mike Ribeiro (68)

 

The overall rating of Minny’s forwards is a bit deceiving. Guys like Panarin, Hoffman, and to a lesser extent Ribeiro’s OV rating don’t really jump off the page, but they have some excellent offensive ratings. Chris has a sneaky good group of forwards here. It will be interesting to see of the lack of size will hurt some of these guys in the sim, but I’m thinking this will be a high scoring team this season.

 

Defense

Top 4 – PK Subban (79), Alex Pietrangelo (75), Jonny Boychuk (75), Morgan Rielly (74)

 

Last off-season Chris had identified his defense as a team weakness. Since then he added PK, Pietrangelo, and Boychuk. Needless to say defense is no longer a weakness for Minny. This one of the better six-man D groups in the Western Conference.

 

Goalie

Petr Mrazek (78)

Chris was smart to pick up a solid back-up for Mrazek. Marazek has some solid ratings and if Chris can keep him fresh for the season he should preform well.

 

The Bottom Line

I think Ribeiro as a top line center will hurt. Though he has had some excellent seasons before when on a line with elite talent. I also think Mrazek will falter as the season wears on. I think this is easily a playoff team, but will be outside the elite teams in the conference at #7

 

 

Nashville

Forwards

Top 6 – Boon Jenner (76), Chris Kreider (76), Frans Nielsen (74), Marcus Johansson (74), Troy Brouwer (74), Brock Nielsen (74)

 

This is a pretty average crew. Nashville has a lot of sandpaper and grit, but this team may struggle to create offense. Jenner and Nelson have solid SC ratings, but there are only two forwards on the team with 70+ PA (Nielsen 70 & Johansson 71). It will be interesting to see if this team can succeed without any real distributers up front.

 

Defense

Top 4 – Tyson Barrie (76), Aaron Ekblad (75), Kevin Bieksa (70), Matt Dumba (69)

 

Barrie and Ekblad are a really nice young top pair, but after that the depth is pretty underwhelming.  If I were Steve, I’d be looking to upgrade my 3-4 defensemen.

 

Goalies

Michal Neuvirth (75), Jaroslav Halak (75)

 

Again, underwhelming is a good word to describe this tandem. They are not the worst goalies in the league, but to compete in this Western Conference better goaltending will be needed.

 

The Bottom Line

This team will not have the fire power, defense depth, or goaltending to make the playoffs, but will also not be bad enough to be a bottom feeder. So, basically a classic Steve team. Finishing 10th.

 

San Jose

Forwards

Top 6 – Patrick Kane (79), Vladimir Tarasenko (79), Andrew Ladd (75), Brad Marchand (74), Tomas Hertl (73), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (71)

 

Another great group of forwards with lots of scoring for the Sharks this season. Kane is going to be getting a bit rapey again. Only this time he will be raping the DHL with his linemate Tarasenko. These guys have some nice ratings this season. Throw in Ladd to provide some muscle to make this another killer top line for John’s Sharks. Losing Stammer’s scoring hurts, but with John’s pipeline of young talent he just plugs in the next superstar. Should be another good season for SJ.

 

Defense

Top 4 – Shea Weber (81), Marc-Edouard Vlasic (75), Andrei Markov (72), Travis Hamonic (72)

 

Shea Weber had a nice rerate and returns as a sim stud on the blueline for Johnny Lu. Also a great supporting cast of two-way defenders. Also a nice mix of vets and RFAs on the Sharks blueline. Really like the mix of ratings for this group. Johnny Lu knows how to put a nice team together.

 

Goalie

Henrik Lundqvist (83)

Well this is looking like the smartest signing of Season 21 UFA. Lundquist had a great second half to the last NHL season and rerated up to 83OV. So John has one of the DHL’s best goalies at a nice low salary of $3,608,00.

 

The Bottom Line

Johnny Lu has another stellar roster. The younger and less experienced 2nd line will hold this team back from competing with Edmonton for the top team in the conference, but will still be in the top 5 mix at number 2.

 

 

St. Louis

Forwards

Top 6 – Steven Stamkos (78), Taylor Hall (78), Martin Hanzal (77), James Van Riemsdyk (75), Sean Monahan (75), Nick Bjugstad (73)

 

I guess John doesn’t believe in the saying “if it aint broke don’t fix it”. The guy wins the cup and the only top six forward left from last season’s team is Monahan. So, there was lots of change, but maybe change is a good thing, even after you win the cup. This team is younger, but it still has lots of fire power. Hall, Stamkos, Monahan, and JVR are all excellent scorers. Not at the Ovi level, but I don’t think this team will struggle to score.

 

Defense

Top 4 – TJ Brodie (74), Jay Bouwmeester (73), Brooks Orpik (72), Dan Girardi (70)

 

TJ Brodie’s overall rating is brought down by his small size and 48 strength, but all his other ratings are stellar. He is a true number one. After Brodie there is not a lot of offensive flair on this blue line, but the other defensemen are strong defensively. It will be interesting to see if slow slugs like Orpik and Girardi will hurt this team playing as the second pair.

 

Goalie

Corey Crawford (82)

 

Crawford is a top goalie and should give John another excellent year.

 

The Bottom Line

This will be another excellent Blues team. I feel the D depth will hurt a bit, but still a top five team in the conference.

 

Vancouver

Forwards

Top 6 – Ryan Kessler (77), Alex Steen (77), Joel Ward (75), Brandon Saad (74), Johnny Gaudreau (74), Mats Zuccarello (74)

 

This is a sneaky good group of forwards. StickBoy has a nice mix of youth/vets, passing/scoring, and grit/finesse. I am very jealous of Johnny Hockey’s ratings this year. This should be a group that can really run up the score on teams.

 

Defense

Top 4 – Zdeno Chara (78), Shayne Gostisbehere (77), Colton Parayko (75), Sami Vatanen (75)

 

Holy Moly. What a group of D this is. Not sure if this is the best top four defensemen in the league, but it is probably my favorite. This group will generate lots of offense from the back end this season. Some may point to the low DF rating for the top guys on this blueline as a weakness, but I think the skill and skating will make up for being 2-3 points lower with the DF rating.

 

Goalie

Cory Schneider (81)

 

This has to be the best tandem in the league. Schneider is a top goalie and Chad Johnson is as good or better than a lot of starters in the league.

 

The Bottom Line

When I started this preview I didn’t have Vancouver on my radar as a top team in the west, but I really like the mix here. I think Van will surprise a lot of people this season.

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