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10 NHL Predictions For 2015-16 Season

By Matt Barbato
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8 of 11

Apr 11, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings center

Anze Kopitar

(11) in the third period of the game against the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center. Kings won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

4. Western Conference Playoff Picks

Central Division Winner – St. Louis Blues

Pacific Division Winner – Anaheim Ducks

Non-Division Winners  – Los Angeles Kings, Nashville Predators, Chicago Blackhawks, Calgary Flames, Winnipeg Jets, Dallas Stars.

That’s two different teams coming from the West, which always has plenty of parity. Let me explain my rationale briefly on the new teams that are in and the ones that are out.

Los Angeles is still one of the most talented teams in the West and got worn down by three long playoff runs in a row. The Kings get back into the postseason easily. Dallas will be an offensive machine and will be barely good enough on the defensive end to back it up.

Devan Dubnyk saved Minnesota’s season a year ago, but that might be a fluke. Dubnyk will be a good starter, but he won’t be outstanding like he was in the second half of the season. The Wild get off to another slow start and this time fire Mike Yeo.

Vancouver is in an awkward position. They have players like the Sedins that put them in a win now mode, but they also have a ton of uncertainties around them that screams a state of rebuilding. Either way, the Canucks aren’t very good.

Next: Eastern Conference Predictions

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