Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pre-Free Agency Sixes in the Northwest Division

Jarome IginlaMatt DucheneRyan SmythMartin HavlatDaniel Sedin
Alex TanguayPaul StastnyJordan EberleMikko KoivuHenrik Sedin
Olli JokinenMilan HejdukTaylor HallMatt CullenRyan Kesler
Marc GiordanoErik JohnsonRyan WhitneyMarek ZidlickyAlex Edler
Jay BouwmeesterMatt HunwickTom GilbertNick SchultzDan Hamhuis
Miikka KiprusoffDevan DubnykNiklas BackstromRoberto Luongo

Just so we know what we're looking at here... according to the points from last year, these are the top three forwards, two defense and goaltender signed on for each team in the division. There are going to be better players missing from this list, due to free agency, injuries last season or other miscellaneous reasons. I don't believe this is an accurate look at each team, just a snapshot for comparison purposes.

The Northwest Division had a bit of a tough year in 2011, having only one team qualify for the playoffs in the Western Conference and if the top sixes are any indication, to which they might have a small, almost insignificant indication, nothing has really changed.

There are plenty of questions about the teams in this division, most of which are focussed on making the playoffs.  Is there enough heart and leadership among the top six in Calgary to qualify?  The Flames have the talent.  Is this the year that the youth in Edmonton start to take real strides towards the playoffs?  Can the Avs find enough players this Summer to help their rebuild and jump back into the playoffs?  The Wild offense will be the biggest question mark, to which they will need to support Backstrom to put wins in the standings.  Finally, the Canucks don't really have a question mark about making the playoffs, rather how far will their top six take them?

If I were to project division standings from these sixes, which isn't wise, but I will anyways... Vancouver, Calgary, Minnesota, Edmonton and Colorado (see goaltending issue for Tampa Bay for being last place in the division).

No comments: