Saturday: Season Predictions - Western Conference

Hello everyone and welcome to HJC's Saturday post! Today we have two concepts from Finland's Second Tier league, a Team Canada throwback concept, a Pittsburgh Penguins redesign, and a NHL/baseball crossover!

I've got a new segment planned for the next two weeks, in preparation for the new hockey season! I'm going to make predictions on what I believe will happen with each team this year in the NHL. Some will be wilder than others. First, let's start with the Western Conference.

Central Division:
  • Colorado - Takes a slight step back this year, but still makes the playoffs. Iginla will struggle to keep up with MacKinnon and Duchene at times. First round exit again, though.
  • St. Louis - Doesn't win the Central this year, but will go further in the playoffs. Jake Allen will win the starting goaltender's job by the end of the year.
  • Chicago - Wins the Central, but St. Louis goes further in the playoffs. Marian Hossa misses the majority of the playoffs.
  • Minnesota - Has a streaky year. Ups and downs lead them to be either the last Central team in the playoffs, or being squeezed out by Nashville.
  • Dallas - Improve upon last year's record, and moves on to the second round of the playoffs this year.
  • Nashville - Season will be considered successful. If they make the playoffs, that's great, even if they don't go past the first round. If the team doesn't do well, Poile deftly trades Ribeiro/Roy/Jokinen/Volchenkov for picks and prospects that will fit well in Laviolette's system.
  • Winnipeg - Another season without playoffs causes the team to go into rebuild mode. Byfuglien and Evander Kane are the highest commodities at the deadline, as Winnipeg tries to shed the last of their Thrashers North image. The Winnipeg honeymoon is over.
Bold Prediction: Five Central teams make the playoffs

Pacific Division:
  • Anaheim - Despite the acquisition of Ryan Kesler, the absense of Saku Koivu, Teemu Selanne, and their blueliners (except Fowler) being too young or too old, the Ducks will take a step back. Growing pains with goaltenders leads to them trail LA in points, but enter as the second seed from the Pacific.
  • San Jose - A lack of stability, and constant rumors will either sink this team, or motivate them to achieve greater results. I think they play well enough to make the playoffs, as the lowest seed from the Pacific. Thornton becomes the source of many trade rumors.
  • Los Angeles - Business as usual. This team will do well in the regular season, and then really turn it on in the playoffs. They will be considered frontrunners for the cup in the Western Conference, along with Chicago and St. Louis
  • Phoenix - Another hard fought year without playoff hockey in the desert, barely missing again.
  • Vancouver - Some improvement over the tumultuous Tortorella year. There will be some feel-good moments to keep Canucks fans interested, but ultimately miss the playoffs.
  • Calgary - In the running for the Connor McDavid sweepstakes, but will ultimately play just good enough to miss out on a top pick, but poorly enough to not be in playoff conversation. This is the purgatory state of professional sports.
  • Edmonton - Major changes will finally happen. Defense/goaltending becomes a priority after neither Fasth nor Scrivens can emerge as a clear starter while getting shelled. 
Bold Prediction: Nail Yakupov either gets traded, or becomes Edmonton's Alexander Radulov.

Who reaches the Stanley Cup Final: Los Angeles Kings

I'm sure you all have your own views on how the season will play out. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section!

Here are the last of the entries into the Disney Competition:

Alan J.H.

Andrew W.

Christian L.


Matt Mc.

Mike S.

Raphael C.

Moving on to today's concepts:

Mestis Lempaalan Kisa (Finland Tier 2) Concept - Taylor R.

Positives: I really hope I spelled the concept correctly. I like the striping pattern, and the logo isn't bad. Color is balanced well, and the concept is well executed.

Negatives: Ninety percent of the time, contrasting sleeve cuffs don't add anything to the look, and that is the case here. The square yoke seems at odds with the wavy striping, rounded numbers, and organic shape of the logo.

Overall: The look is higher than Tier 2. (8/10)

Mestis Heinolan Peliitat (Finland Tier 2) Concept - Taylor R.

Positives: This isn't a jersey that's easily forgotten. It is executed pretty well. 

Negatives: With the many lightning bolts, and modern font, I don't think the square yoke and tie-down collar fit well. I'm not a big fan of the font used. The "71" doesn't look bad, but there's something about the "35" that is awkwardly proportioned.

Overall: The modern look is a good fit for a minor team, but I wish it was totally committed to this aesthetic. (7/10)

Pittsburgh Penguins Concept - Scott D.

Positives: (*rant*) I have a confession. I used to want the Penguins to go back to the old gold of the 80s and 90s. Now, I have changed my mind. I think the "Vegas Gold" is a better direction for the Penguins, because it gives them a color all their own. With the traditional gold, they are too similar to close rivals, the Boston Bruins, and add a color already dominated by the Nashville Predators. It's an interesting alternate, but they need to stick with the current color scheme for their primary jerseys. (*end rant*) That being said, they do need new uniforms. This look from Scott D, although not revolutionary, would fit the bill quite well. This is a well executed look. It's not radical, but it doesn't need to be. The striping works well, and the colors are balanced perfectly.

Negatives: The shoulder patches aren't my favorite. I'm not totally opposed to them, but it appears as if the roundel includes the "Robo-Penguin" logo, which should probably be left to the past.

Overall: Shoulder patches aside, I would be glad to see something like this replace Pittsburgh's current set. (8.5/10)

Team Canada Concept - Zach W.

Positives: I like the idea of a Team Canada throwback set using a logo of this style. It's a very unique design that still manages to look modern, despite being a throwback design.

Negatives: The striping, although not necessarily bad, is not exciting. There are no sleeve numbers. The white gloves and white pants look odd. There should be a red helmet for the dark jersey.

Overall: The unique throwback design is interesting, but needs more to back it up. (6.5/10)

 Phoenix Coyotes "Baseball Style" Concept - Christian L.

Positives: After seeing NHL/soccer crossover series from Phil and Matt, it seemed inevitable to me that someone would do the same sort of thing with the baseball.  Christian is the first out of the gate here, with a baseball concept for the Coyotes. The striping pattern looks great, on both the jersey, pants, and socks. Even the shoulder patch looks good on the right arm. I like the arched name as well. Christian translates the Coyotes look well to a baseball template, but adds some color and life to a set for a sport that too often has none. The Coyotes wordmark fits baseball well. This is a well detailed set, showing both the hat and batting helmet, along with the backs of the jerseys. 

Negatives: The jerseys say "Arizona" but the the concept says "Phoenix." It's not a big deal, though.

Overall: This is a great way to start off what I hope is a full series. (9/10) COTW nomination from me!

Another week comes to a close at HJC, and we are edging ever closer to the start of a new NHL season! New concepts will come up for nomination, and voting will begin on our Disney Competition. Tomorrow we will find out who won Concept of the Week!

For those honorary readers who voted this week. Here is the venerated reward gif.

For the unseemly scoundrels who failed in their voting responsibilities, rejecting the freedom of democracy, here is your shame gif.

For those of you looking to get more involved in HJC's community, a great way to do so is join some of our writers and readers in the fantasy hockey league, Victory Stripes! We already have enough to draft, but can take more participants until our draft on the 28th. You can make your own logos, show off your team jerseys, and more! Click this link to join.

I hope you all enjoyed today's post, next week I'll share my season predictions for the Eastern Conference, and who I believe will win the Stanley Cup! See you all then!
Saturday: Season Predictions - Western Conference Reviewed by Caz on September 20, 2014 Rating: 5


winnipegjets96 said...

No love for Brian Elliot? I haven't seen enough of Jake Allen to make an informed decision, but Elliot is a solid #1 goalie.

Also....I completely agree with your positioning of the Jets

Scott D. for COTW

Connor Jarvis said...

I agree with the placing of Anaheim. They have no 1st line left winger, which will hurt, and the Koivu and Selanne absence will probably sink this team to the point where, if they dont get some more players soon, they could even miss the playoffs. Vancouver will make the playoffs. (Coming from a Canucks fan; I don't mean to be a total homie.)They're roster is looking pretty good.

Also, Taylor R's Pelitaat for COTW

Unknown said...

I disagree with you Conner, Anaheim will likely play better than last year, they have leadership from getzlaf, experience from guys like beauchemin, and young talent like vatanen and lindholm. Also cogliono might crack the first line, he's one of the fastest skaters in the leaugue, lastly they have two options for goaltending which both seem good now. So I think Anaheim is looking pretty solid.

Caz said...

Jets, I agree that Elliot is good. I think St. Louis wants him take over. If they were confident in Elliot, they never would have made the Miller trade. Elliot should start the season, but I think Allen eventually wins out.

Connor, It's only natural to be optimistic about your team. Many think the Preds are a bottom 5 draft lottery team, but I still think they can improve on last year. You could say my prediction my team was overly optimistic

Christian, I believe scoring and forward performance will match last year's. I just worry about the relatively inexperienced goaltenders if Anaheim's fragile defense falters.

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