NHL Coaches are Dropping like Flies

Ken Hitchcock Replaces Todd McLellan as Oilers Head Coach

Edmonton is off to a disappointing 9-10-1 start this season, and it is three points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference’s Pacific Division.

The Oilers also went just 36-40-6 last season and missed the playoffs after reaching the postseason with a 47-26-9 mark in 2016-17.

The 66-year-old Hitchcock retired in April after coaching the Dallas Stars to a 42-32-8 mark last season.

Hitchcock initially announced his intention to retire at the conclusion of the 2016-17 season, but he was fired by the Blues during the campaign, which led to him spending one season in Dallas.

The 51-year-old McLellan spent parts of four seasons as Edmonton’s head coach, posting a 123-119-24 record with just one playoff appearance.

Prior to joining the Oilers, McLellan was the San Jose Sharks’ head coach for seven seasons, during which time he went 311-163-66 and reached the playoffs six times.

Mike Yeo Fired as Blues Head Coach, Craig Berube Named Interim

St. Louis announced it fired Yeo and gave the interim position to Craig Berube. The team will address the move with a Tuesday morning press conference.

This is another major coaching move in the first half of the season in the Central Division after the rival Chicago Blackhawks fired three-time Stanley Cup winner Joel Quenneville on Nov. 6.

Yeo had been with the Blues since he replaced Ken Hitchcock in February 2017. The team brought him in as a coach in waiting for Hitchcock—who planned on retiring after the 2016-17 campaign—but ultimately elevated Yeo to the primary job during the season.

Yeo tallied a 73-49-11 with St. Louis, although the team missed the playoffs last season after making it the prior six. According to Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the coach had just one more season on his contract after the 2018-19 one ended.

He was the head coach of the Minnesota Wild prior to taking the St. Louis job and posted a 173-132-44 record from the 2011-12 season into the 2015-16 campaign before he was fired.

Attention now turns to Berube, who has been with the franchise as an associate head coach since June 2017. He was the head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers from 2013 through 2015 and finished with a 75-58-28 record, and the team’s announcement pointed out he led the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League to a 44-19-13 record in 2016-17.

Top 10 Most Disappointing NHL Players… So Far

The season is just starting, and struggling players can also write their wrongs. For now lets see who hasn’t lived up to expectations.

10. Jake Allen – St. Louis Blues

Allen isn’t the only issue in STL, actually he may not even be top 3. The problem is that he’s the player expected to do the best. He has so much upside and has no help right now, but also isn’t making the necessary saves. This can be easily adjusted and it will adjust with the Blues success. All these things depend on the other, its a viscous cycle.

9. Tuukka Rask- Boston Bruins

The Bruins goalie has a .902 save percentage and a 3-3-0 record (vs. 4-0-2 for backup Jaroslav Halak). Rask is #9 because its not the firs time this has happened and then he rebounded.

8. Max Pacioretty- Vegas Knights

He has dealt with an injury to himself and an injury that took away his center, Paul Stastny, after just three games together. But two goals for Pacioretty in 10 games with the Knights is the same start he had last season for Montreal, and last season was awful.

7. Erik Karlsson- San Jose Sharks

This isn’t a panic situation, but Karlsson has been average and that’s not a good thing. A lot of publicity has been put into this trade. Except this not to last, but man…if it did, that would be the story of the NHL.

6. Carolina Goalies

You honestly just can’t pick one, its a mess, and Carolina totally flipped their goaltending up side down in the off season.  Petr Mrazek (.887), Curtis McElhinney(.892) and Scott Darling (.903 in his first game back from injury) have produced an .884 team save percentage. Carolina is the surprise team so far this year, but need to get it together between the pipes.

5. James Neal- Calgary Flames

One of the most high-profile free-agent signings of the off season, Neal has two goals and one assist in 13 games. This rough start can be attributed greatly to usage, Neal for some reason isn’t getting top line shifts. Rather surprising move by Bill Peters.

4. Milan Lucic- Edmonton Oilers

Milan Lucic has one goal in his last 27 games and one even-strength goal in his last 60. That seems bad. To say he’s underachieving is an under statement.

3. Justin Abdelkader- Detroit Red Wings

The Wings aren’t great, so they need all they can get. Justin was supposed to be a bright spot, they locked the dude up til 2023. The 31-year-old forward has one goal and one assist in 12 games. The reason he’s #3 is because the length of his contract, he has a lot to live up to in a rebuilding time for Detroit.

2. Brian Elliot- Philadelphia Flyers

Honestly you have to had seen this coming, his numbers with the Blues were a scam. The Flyers got fooled big time. Moose has a .911 save percentage at even strength, but he’s at .889 overall with a 3-5-0 record, and the Flyers are last in the NHL in team save percentage.

1. Sergi Bobrovsky – Columbus Blue Jackets

2-5-0, with an .882 save percentage and a 3.58 goals-against average. Seriously those are his numbers, there’s also talk of him getting traded. This is the most unexpected start to a season, we’ve seen in a long time. Bob was a legit super star and is beyond struggling at this point.

Crosby is the Best Player in the NHL

Let me say it a little louder for the haters in the back…SIDNEY CROSBY IS THE BEST PLAYER IN THE LEAGUE. Stop this McDavid non sense, Crosby deserves more respect than that. McDavid is great and will be great, but Crosby has 3 cups and is still playing at an elite level. People spend their lives waiting for Crosby to “lose” it, some of these dummies are going to die before they see the day. It looks like Sid will win another cup, before McDavid wins his first. At this point it seems as though that’s his only goal, the individual rewards mean nothing after you’ve tasted that high of the Stanley Cup as many times as Sid. His goal to beat McDavid and crew the other night, sealed the debate, for at least this season on who’s the best. He comes up big when its needed the most and he does it with an insane sense of style. All these writers who make their money bashing Crosby better clean up that resume.

crosby-oilers-gamewinner

 

NHL THUG ALL STARS

This is the current NHL all Thug team, a Thug can be many things and its not a bad thing…sometimes. There’s no criteria here, guys can be Thugs because of penalty minutes or Thugs because they are pest on the ice or in some cases, rats.

Head Coach- John Tortorella

Really? Who the hell else would it be, the guys a nut job. He would prolly just coach for free if he had this group of guys.

Line 1

LW- Milan Lucic

C- Evgeni Malkin

RW- Tom Wilson

Lucic has calmed down recently, but that’s because guys are too scared to go at him, his Boston years he was an absolute beast. Malkin is skillful and just dummies guys, plus ole Gino is a real beauty, he deserves top line status. Agree with him or not, Tom Wilson is a true enforcer and terrifies just about everyone…except maybe rival Ryan Reaves. With his looks and (literally) killer skill, Wilson is a modern day enforcer.

Line 2

LW- Evander Kane

C- Lars Eller

Rw- Ryan Reaves

Kane is an animal, and currently leads the league in PIMs, he has skills and isnt afraid to smash someone. When he’s at his peak, hes among the leagues elite. If you need to know why Reaves is here then just check the game notes, he may be one of the most fun guys to watch in the league. When he gets mad, he untouchable, a real throw back guy who can still play in today’s league. His rivalry with Tom Wilson would make people tune in just to watch practice. Lars Eller has really started to come into his own, he did get crushed this year by Marchand, but that hasn’t stopped him from chirpin everyone. He said the Maple Leafs “aren’t anything special” gotta love the savagery.

Line 3

LW- Pat Maroon

C- Michael Haley

RW- Brad Marchand

Maroon is just an old school tough guy who has adapted his game to be success in the new NHL, those guys are a rarity. Michael Haley led the league in PIM and was the only player over 20 fights last year. Before the season he entered the NHL/NHL Players Association assistance program, so lets hope everything is ok. The 8 year vet is deserving to be among the thugs. Marchand should probably be a top liner, a great talent that just can’t stop licking people, guy is psycho. If you know anything about hockey, then Marchand is an easy choice and prolly an Alternate Captain.

Line 4

LW- Matthew Tkachuk

C- Max Domi

RW- Antonie Roussel

Every full season in the league Roussel is over 100 PIM, that’s what he does, one of the leagues toughest guys. The other 2 guys on this line are the next generation and have learned from their fathers. Their thuggery has been well documented, but teammates love them, that’s the ultimate thug criteria.

Defense

PK Subban                                        Dustin Byfuglien

Travis Harmonic                             Kevin Bieksa

Rodka Gudas                                     Alex Petrovic

PK makes this team just like Geno, top tier talent, but not afraid to chip it up. He was among the top the league for defense-man last year in PIM, and can skate like the wind. Big Buff is obvious as it gets on this roster, he’s an absolute force, but still gets it done when he has to.  Harmonic has no problem dropping the mitts and his d partner (Bieksa) will super man punch anyone who steps up, this would be an all time tough guy d partnering. Rodka Gudas and Alex Petrovic aren’t as well known but both rack up the fights and PIM’s they are bottom defenseman who know their jobs.

Goalie

Ray Emery

This guy was an absolute legend and no current goalie can touch him. He would be the only goalie that could ever start for this squad. RIP

NHL’s All Young Gun Team

4 Lines, 4 sets of D, 2 goalies, under 25. Those are the requirements. Players don’t have to be in their normal positions, there are so many young elite centers. You could easily make another whole team of young stars, the league is full of promising stars.

Line 1

LW- Filip Forsberg- NSH

C- Conor McDavid- EDM

RW- Patrick Laine – WIN

Line 2

LW- Jack Eichel- BUF

C- Auston Matthews- TOR

RW- Mitch Marner- TOR

Line 3

LW- Matthew Tkachuk- CAL

C- Nathan McKinnon- COL

RW- David Pastrňák- BOS

Line 4

LW- Nikolaj Ehlers- WIN

C-Aleksander Barkov – FLA

RW- Brock Boeser- VAN

Defenseman

Pairing 1

Seth Jones (CLM)        Charlie McAvoy (BOS)

Pairing 2

Morgan Rielly (TOR)     Aaron Ekblad (FLA)

Pairing 3

Rasmus Dahlin (BUF)   Zach Werenski (CLM)

Pairing 4

Vince Dunn (STL)     Hampus Lindholm (ANH)

Goalies

Matt Murray (PIT)

Andrei Vasilevskiy (TB)

 

Its the Season…for Overreacting About Your Team

Maybe the best part about hockey season is the stupid ass fans, after one game teams are already booing. Last night during the St. Louis Blues game, fans started booing Jake Allen, after multiple defensive let downs. Boston fans already are calling for a goalie controversy after Halak got a shutout and Rask allowed 5 goals in the season opener.  Vegas fans have seemingly already turned their backs on Marc-Ande after he got pulled., but he obviously went out on the strip the night before with Gritty, cut the dude a break. There’s more than just goalie over reactions, William Nylander is getting attacked by Leafs fans for not signing a new contract and “taking a discount,” but as we’ve seen in football, these guys have to get paid while they can because you never know when an injury can end your career. Minnesota fans roasted their team after losing to Colorado and have deemed the season a failure.

I have a word of advice for all these “experts”….SHUT THE HELL UP, your hot takes don’t mean shit and no one cares. I don’t care if you’ve played hockey before either, “As a former player blah blah blah.” Oh you played hockey? What team did you play for?

IT DOESNT MATTER WHAT TEAM YOU PLAYED FOR!! Stick to beer league and fantasy hockey, you pigeons.

Then to all of you who never played and don’t even know what icing is, just some input for ya. Just because the goalie lets in a goal, doesn’t mean its his fault, sometimes the defense sucks. Get your head out of your ass and just enjoy the game.

 

Auston Matthews is the Greatest Player of All Time…on opening night

How bout this for some opening night stats.

October 12, 2016: 4 goals
October 4, 2017: 1 goal, 2 assists
October 3, 2018: 2 goals

The first game of the season is where Matthews shines, he’s absolutely unreal during the season too, but this is actually more a tell of his future than you think. Matthews coming out so dominate to start a season means that he is in mid season form to begin the year, he takes his off season so seriously that he’s already steps ahead of everyone else before the season even starts. In the long run this helps everyone around him, every young player the Leafs draft now gets to see how this monster trains and prepares.

After that performance and getting a win Matthews still had this to say, “They kind of outworked us. A lot we can learn moving forward.” This is a player that realizes one game means nothing and its the entire body of work. Plus the dude was in GQ, some people just have it all. He’s excited about having Tavares as a teammate and he seems comfortable with the Toronto media. The only question is if he’s on the same page as Babcock, lets just hope no one gives him Mike Commodore’s phone number.

Canucks’ Ban Fortnite..Cause that matters

Vancouver forward Bo Horvat recently came out and said the team had implemented a ban on the popular game Fortnite. The fact that an NHL team thinks that a video game is going to win or loss them games is unreal, this is what happens when teams are ran by old white guys. Video game should be a release for players, who are constantly on the road, away from their families. What do you want them to do? They can drink, party, and just get into any kind of trouble or…they can sit in their rooms and play a video game.

Some players outside of the Canucks had something to say, like Jets forward Patrick Laine. “I think they just needed something to blame after last year,” Laine said in an obvious shot at the Canucks’ 31-40-11 record last season. “And we kind of made a deal if we’re playing like that, we can give up our PlayStations so we’re not going to take them on the road. But I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

Maple Leafs player Zach Hyman also had something to say on the issue. “I don’t think Fortnite’s the problem,” Hyman said. “I think that you can get addicted to anything. If you’re sitting there playing Fortnite for 12 hours a day it’s probably not the best thing for you, but if you play it like a normal person — one or two hours a day — then you’re fine. … If you’re going out all night (partying), you’re addicted to going out. That’s not good either.”

Teams should have way more things to worry about than a video game, if they truly think that’s the problem, then maybe they are actually the problem.

NHL Season Power Rankings

I’m breaking down this first ranking into 3 categories. 1-16 are expected playoffs (obviously), 17-25 are all teams that have the potential to sneak into a playoff spot, 26-31 have no chance, they are the bottom feeders. As we know hockey is a crazy sport and any of these teams can become this years Golden Knights.

31. Ottawa Senators

This team is the definition of dumpster fire, seriously check the dictionary…i’ll wait. See, told ya! I feel bad for the players there, cause its obvious that management doesn’t care, this really seems like a ploy to move the team.

30. Detroit Redwings

Can they just hire Yzerman now? They have to start getting some of these big contracts off the books and rebuild, believe it or not, theyre still the oldest team in the league. That’s not exactly how you rebuild a team, if Yzerman can come back home and rebuild this team, he’ll be a hall of fame player and GM.

29. New York Islanders

They lost a pretty key player and couldn’t replace him, new coach Barry Trotz must have seen something with this group when he came here. He has ways of making an average d-core good, but is there any offensive fire power beyond Barzal, Bailey and Lee?

28. Carolina Hurricanes

This is one of the best young defense cores the league has to offer, but can a goalie step up? They also have to be looking forward to some of the young forwards they have as well, but the depth just isn’t there.

27. Chicago Blackhawks

These guys are paying WAY to much money to a small number of players. The biggest issue is that Chicago used to be the masters of finding good bargain guys and drafting well. That hasn’t happened in a few years and they just keep sliding back. Is it time to rebuild, because the defense isn’t getting any younger, in fact its falling apart quicker than anyone could have imagined.

26. Montreal Canadiens

I didn’t put these guys 31st because of Carey Price, but even he may not be able to help this train-wreck. The key is if Shea Weber comes back healthy, because if so, hes dominate. There’s definitely a chance the locker room rallies and plays well despite management, but that doesn’t happen often.

25. Vancouver Canucks

This group is top heavy and their defense isnt very good. The Sedins are gone, its time for this team to find a new idenity, Brock Boeser may be just the guy to do that.

24. New York Rangers

This is the first time in a long time, that you look up and down the Rangers roster and wonder who the hell these kids are. They still have Hank in net so that will add wins to their total, just by him stealing some games. The matter is what direction will this rebuild take?

23. Buffalo Sabres

It seemed to be a complete dismantling in Buffalo, but then turned into a potential playoff team. Jack Eichel needs to breakout into full super star mode and this team will cruise into the playoffs. Rasmus has been widely hyped and a huge campaign from him would boost everyone’s play. Which Rasmus am I talking about? Dahlin is the most obvious answer as the #1 pick, but I meant Ristolainen. Dahlin needs someone else on the blue line to step up and take some of the pressure off him, the 2 Rasmus’s both look to have huge seasons.

22. Edmonton Oilers

They have one of the best players in hockey, top 2 with Crosby, but the holes in this line up are huge. Can Cam Talbot hold the work load? Can the defense stop anyone? We know how good McDavid can be, but when will he become a true leader and elevate this team to where they need to be.?

21. Arizona Coyotes

This team could make the playoffs or finish dead last, such a mystery here. The potential is there, but have they put it together yet? Raanta showed signs of brilliance last season, and a good campaign from him could put this team over the top. The Alex Galchenyuk trade showed that Arizona is attempted to put together a winner now sooner than later. They are a team on the cusp, but how far away is the breakout?

20. Colorado Avalanche

They really surprised everyone last year, and they have some young stud pieces but it doesn’t seem like Sakic has put together the full package yet. Give it a couple years and this could be a cup worthy team similar to how Winnipeg and Tampa have been built.

19. New Jersey Devils

Taylor Hall’s back must really hurt, he won the MVP and carried his team to the playoffs. Nico Hischier needs to continue his break out, his progress is key to this teams success. The health and status of their goaltending is also key, Cory Schneider returning will be huge for this team. Kincaid did fine last year, but a healthy Schneider adds 10+ wins to this teams record.

18. Minnesota Wild

This team is deep, but they have no huge breakouts stars. Staal needs to keep up the huge numbers, because no one else on the team will. This team is built to win, that just hasn’t translated to the playoffs.

17. Dallas Stars

Valeri Nichushkin returning from Russia was bigger than any other free agent signing they could have made, but they also feel short on Karlsson and Tavares. This team wants to win now, so its interesting to see if they continue to try and land a big star.

16. Vegas Golden Knights

They didn’t dwell on their miracle season, instead they made the moves to actually win the cup. Big additons could actually make this team better than last years, but now that teams have seen more of this group as a team, they wont win as many games. That doesn’t mean they can’t get back to the cup or win a lot of games.

15. Anaheim Ducks

They have a stellar D and a great goalie, but those forwards are getting old. Can they make another run before its too late? A youth movement has to be on its way, but for now its still the Perry and Getzlaf show.

14. Calgary Flames

This team made some moves, Real Deal type moves. James Neal joins, Johnny Hockey aka Johnny Ham-n-Cheese, plus Sean Monahan and Matt Thachuk give this team some real offensive threats. The defense is arguably top 5 in the league, so if Mike Smith has a big year this team is more than just a playoff team, they’re a contender.

13. Florida Panthers

Sleep on this team…I dare you. Barkov is the truth and he has pretty good company around him. The make or break is Bobby Lou, hes aging, but one more good run could really put this team over. Luongo doesn’t seem like the guy that will play past his time, so Florida needs to take advantage while they still have time.

12. Columbus Blue Jackets

They have a top 3 goalie, and once Seth Jones gets back they have a top notch d-core. Its just a matter if they can finally put it together and make an epic run, similar to the Jets last season. They desperately have to get past the first round.

11. Philadelphia Flyers

Gritty may push this team to the cup.

Claude Giroux and company have all the fire power to do some damage in the playoffs. The key here will be goaltending, its weak right now, but is Carter Hart really the answer now? He’s young and a huge prospect, but unlike Matt Murray in Pittsburgh, he doesn’t have a Marc Andre as a safety net. If the Flyers score tons of goals but can’t stop anything then Carter may get the call up.

10. Boston Bruins

Boston exceeded exceptions last year with standout young studs, but will there be a sophomore slump? Even with a slight slump this is still a good team, everything rest on Tukka though. He plays almost every game, so if he gets off to a rough start, the Bruins fall with him.

9. Toronto Maple Leafs

They are going for it, signing Tavares makes them a fancy Cup pick, but lets not forget the defense isn’t that good. Its middle of the league at best, but that doesn’t mean they win a lot. The key is that defense usually gets exposed in the playoffs.

8. LA Kings

This team is all in, they need to win now. Its only a matter of time before this turns into a Blackhawks situation, with all the absurd contracts. This team has a core of players who have won multiple Stanley Cups, no reason to believe they can’t do it again.

7. St. Louis Blues

If any teams made all the right moves, its the Blues. They need to improve their power play, the acquisitions they made should do just that. If Jake Allen takes the strides he needs to become a top goaltender then there may be no stopping this team.

6. San Jose Sharks

This team did nothing in the off season to improve, they wont have the best defense in the league either. Seriously though the addition of Karlsson puts the San Jose vets on notice, this is the best chance they’ve had to win in a long time. Hopefully some of these guys find the fountain of youth, like Thornton and Pavelski.

5. Washington Capitals

There’s a chance the Caps can repeat, but it’s way more of a possibility that they don’t. They did everything they could to resign everyone, but now for the first time ever, the target is on their back. This team will be good, but can they repeat, its the story that will haunt them all year.

4. Winnipeg Jets

This team has to believe its Stanley Cup or bust, they did everything but reach that point last year. Yes, they lost 4-1 to Vegas but every game was close and they never seemed to get completely out played. If they play with something to prove then they could end up with the best record in the league, but never leave out the option that they blame everyone but themselves for failing to make it all the way last year.

3. Nashville Predators

This team has to feel forgot about, everyone wants the new shiny toy (Vegas, Winnipeg), but the West still belongs to Smashville. They have just as good a defense as San Jose, maybe the best goalie in the league, and great top line forwards. This is the team to beat in the West, but they have to win a cup to make people remember how good they are.

2. Pittsburgh Penguins

Falling short of the cup, after back-to-back, might actually benefit the Penguins. They got some rest, Matt Murray needed it, the whole team probably needed it. They have a Stanley Cup worthy team, just because 1 year has passed doesn’t mean we should forget how good these guys are. It seems like Sidney Crosby enjoys reminding people that this is his league until he retires, why should this year be any different.

1. Tampa Bay Lightning

A model of depth, the Lightning boast the best top-nine forward combinations in the league. They’re coming off three deep playoff runs in the past four springs, so perhaps this is the season it all comes together. This is the most complete team the NHL has to offer this year, but the NHL proves time and time again that a super team doesn’t guarantee a championship.

 

 

Way to Early NHL Playoff Predictions

Lets take a look at the predicted 2018-2019 playoff teams. I wont go round for round…yet, just looking at who will slip in where.

Eastern

1. Tampa Bay Lightning

WC2. Columbus Bluejackets

The Jackets were the wild card last year and project around that this year. Can Bob get it done in the playoffs? Tampa is a power house and their window for the cup is closing, this is the time for them to step up. Plus I truly think this years team is better than last.

2. Toronto Maple Leafs

3. Boston Bruins

The Leafs are going to win a lot of regular season games, but if they meet a team like Boston in the first round then their defense will get exposed. I truly believe the Leafs won’t make it far in the playoffs, Boston has just to team to ride out the offense and crush the Leafs in the end.

1. Pittsburgh Penguins

WC1. Florida Panther

I think Florida gets in the playoffs this year, their roster is starting to mature, and they have more depth than a team like New Jersey. The biggest question for Pittsburgh is Matt Murray, can he rebound from a shaky season and playoffs? If he plays to his potential the Penguins are cup favorites again. Pittsburgh is a dynasty with Crosby and one more cup would more than solidify that.

2. Philadelphia Flyers

3. Washington Capitals

Hot take, but the Capitals will suffer a slight hangover from their cup win, this team is more than talented enough for the playoffs, but teams usually have a layover after cups wins. If its not this round then seeing their rival Penguins in the next round, they will get a wake up call. Plus the Flyers have Gritty now, I don’t know how I didn’t put them first for that reason.

simmergritty-005-1024x678.jpg

Western

1. Nashville Predators

WC2. Calgary Flames

The Flames are going to surprise people this year, they have an underrated froward group and very solid toward the top of the league d-core. The problem will be that Nashville is 1A-1B with San Jose in best defense, and their forwards compliment that very well. The Flames should look at making the playoffs as a win, because they are going to run into a buzzsaw no matter who’s first in either division.

2. Winnipeg Jets

3. St. Louis Blues

The Jets are an absolute wagon this year, but the Blues have made the moves to be right there with them. This match up is the reason I didn’t do a full playoff preview, either one of these team is good enough to take the #1 seed from Nashville.

1. San Jose Sharks

WC1. Vegas Golden Knights

The Knights are good enough to make the playoffs again, but their record won’t be as good. This team made some solid moves, time will tell how those pieces fit in. The Sharks on the other hand are tending up, a veteran team that now has 2 of the leagues top 3 defensemen. The window is closing for a few guys on this team, so they are going to hunker down and grind teams away. The Sharks wont likely sweep anyone, but they will psychically break teams down.  The problem will be when they play who ever comes out of the central, because they will be able to do it right back.

2. LA Kings

3. Anaheim Ducks

The Kings are just solid front to back, they have legit stars in every area. Its all about balance for LA and that bods well in the playoffs. The Ducks have an aging forward crew who knows when to step up, but the key to their success is the defense, they have arguably a top 5…at least top 10 crew on the blue line and a good goalie. Both these teams are built for long runs in the playoffs.