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NHL Season Predictions: Western Conference

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Highly scientific standings predictions.

Dallas Stars v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Predictions are just educated guesses at the outcome of an event. While they mean basically nothing in the long run, they do make for some interesting debate and discussion. (Not to mention people love to rail out predictions they feel are horribly off base, which we’re sure many of you will do to us today.)

Here is how the Defending Big D staff has predicted the Western Conference to finish. We don’t recommend using these to make any kind of fantasy or other decisions off of, because we are only experts in our own minds.

Note, David and Huw’s rankings are not included because their dogs ate their homework.

Read on for each of our Western Conference predictions and the GIF that most represents the West this season.


Taylor: Nashville surprises most and wins the Central Division and the West, while Minnesota still can't figure out how to offense. The Kings return to their normal good timing ways, while the Sharks struggle to make the postseason again.

Western Conference season in GIF form:


Erin: California once again dominates Canada out in the Pacific, mostly through sheer attrition and power play goals. The Oilers keep right on Oilering their way to yet another high pick, though the Flames might have a surprise or two up their sleeve. The Central continues to murder, death and kill everything in its path, including its own members. The safest bets are the same playoff teams as last year, but you can flip a four-headed coin, weighted by health, for the central crown.

Western Conference season in GIF form:


Derek: The West, especially in the Central Division, doesn't get any less ferocious. The Stars, Predators, Blackhawks, Blues, Kings, Sharks and Ducks all make the playoffs, while everyone else except for the Canucks and Oilers are within real striking distance of the final spot until the trade deadline. Dark horse team that will really surprise a lot of people: the Calgary Flames.

Western Conference season in GIF form:


Robert: I legitimately don't want to pick three teams from the Pacific, but I guess that's the world we live in. I don't want to pick the probably Trouba-less Jets either, but someone has to wander into the 5th-in-the-Central freeway, and it seems like their turn. St. Louis is good, still.

Western Conference season in GIF form:


David: I still see Nashville as being a powerhouse. Subban will prove to be a much better partner for Josi than Weber. He may not score as many goals as Weber, but he'll generate far more offense through possession. They're an awful matchup for Dallas to boot (and yes I know what Dallas' record was against them last season). They're the only team in the West who has added by subtraction AND addition.

Western Conference season in GIF form:


Wes: Hey, guys, it's finally going to be Edmonton's year! Wait, that's my 2020 draft. Sorry! The Sharks are the class of a suddenly suspect Pacific, especially as LA continues to wobble. The Ducks probably get one more year before Kessler's anchor hits the bottom of the lake, and Calgary is frisky. Canadian media isn't allowed to talk about how big an upgrade the Subban-for-Weber swap is in Nashville, but goaltending might hold the Perds back. Overall, the Central is still the NHL's Thunderdome, but can any team survive that mess and reach the final?

Western Conference season in GIF form:


Melissa: The West doesn’t get any less wild this year. P.K. Subban’s arrival in Nashville gives the Perds a boost, but the Blues claim the top spot in the conference. The Coyotes are the team no one wants to play in the first round, the Ducks don’t look nearly as strong this year, and the Oilers manage not to finish in dead last.

Western Conference season in GIF form:


Kathleen: The Central keeps proving there's no I in #MDK, and the Battle of California is still the biggest game in Pac-town (as much as Edmonton would like to be the Canadian team that keeps them honest, I think that distinction belongs to Calgary). They won't score 109 points again, but I still think the Stars could pull off a repeat as No. 1 in SuperMax, and Joe Thornton's Lifestyle Beard wins the Pacific.

Western Conference season in GIF form:


Huw: The Central Division continues to be the toughest in the league while the California teams will dominate the Pacific. I think the Blackhawks will top the Western Conference and I think Nashville will make them work for it though. The LA Kings will top the Pacific. Edmonton continues their playoffless streak.

Western Conference season in GIF form:


Ann: I believe in the power of Brent Burns beard. Plus I drafted him in my fantasy league, so I'm picking San Jose to lead the Pacific. Despite getting rid of that dead weight Taylor Hall, the Oilers finally break into the middle of the West for the first time since they fired Ralph Kreuger. The California teams all make the playoffs, Blues continue to be good, shine starts to come off Chicago.

Western Conference season in GIF form:


Jordan: Nashville and Dallas will battle it out for the Central despite both teams' goaltending issues. The Blues, Blackhawks, Sharks and Kings will take their familiar spots in the postseason but they will be joined by a couple of young Canadian teams. The Winnipeg Jets will sneak into the final wildcard spot while the Edmonton Oilers finally make it back to the playoffs. I know we've heard it before but it's going to happen this time, I just know it.

Western Conference season in GIF form:


Mike: Team to watch will be the Arizona Coyotes. Talent everywhere and they will only get better. Los Angeles and St. Louis will get back to their winning ways. San Jose will not make the playoffs and Calgary will return to the postseason. After all these years I see Edmonton, finally, getting back into the playoffs as the last team in. Either way, the Western Conference will be brutal.

Western Conference season in GIF form:


Shawn: In the Pacific Division, I’ll look to see if the moves Edmonton made in the summer paid off and they make the playoffs as well as following a few ex-Stars with former Dallas Stars Coach Glen Gulutzan coaching Johnny Hockey in Calgary and Loui Eriksson skating with the Sedin twins. In the Central Division, I think the Stars should be close to the top, but I am not buying the kool aid that all the pundits are drinking that Nashville will win the Central simply by adding Subban. Chicago and St. Louis will continue to be in the mix as well.

Western Conference season in GIF form: