Did LA have a legitament chance at the Cup this year? Almost everybody that knows anything about hockey would say no. They had the lowest scoring team in the league and barely squeaked into the playoffs as a #8 seed.
All of this doom and gloom stuff is stupid. There are 7 teams in the west that will not make the playoffs. Most likely they are:
For us to NOT make the playoffs, we have to be worse than 2 of these teams. I just don't see it
LA was 2 points shy of 3rd in the West because they played in a weak division.
This is what I see:
- Anaheim hasn't gotten any worse and two of their top 3 forwards are going to be in contract years. Expect them to make a harder push.
- Dallas got better
- Columbus...well...it's Columbus.
- Calgary got Hudler
- Edmonton is young but could surprise people.
- Minnesota got way better
- Colorado stayed mostly the same
- Phoenix will get worse if they lose Doan
- Nashville will probably be fine enough to get into the playoffs without Suter
Last year, the Central Division was mostly strong, with 4 out of 5 teams making the playoffs, all of which attaining over 100 points. Meaning we had to beat a lot of other teams in our conference and win a good portion of our non-conference games to make that 102 point total.
Breaking it down:
24 games played against division (6 games against each division team, 48 possible points)
40 games played against conference (4 games against each non-division team in the West, 80 possible points)
18 games played against East (at least 1 game against each team, three teams will be played twice, 36 possible points)
Since we got weaker and Chicago and St. Louis mostly stayed the same, we could expect to hopefully get around 20-30 points realistically within our division. Meaning at least 80 points need to come from our remaining 58 games in order to probably safely make the playoffs. We'd need to get 1.379 points per game against the rest of the West, which as a whole probably got better, and the East, which balanced itself out a bit.
I think it's going to be a little tougher than you think. Especially when you consider teams like Edmonton that might not necessarily have a shot at the playoffs next season (unless they surprise some people like I said), but they sure have a fun time spoiling our point-getting fun year after year. I just hope it doesn't come in abundance from teams that were mostly irrelevant last year.