PHT’s 2019-20 Western Conference predictions

NBCSN’s coverage of the 2019-20 NHL season begins with Wednesday’s matchup between the St. Louis Blues and Washington Capitals when the Blues raise their 2019 Stanley Cup banner. Coverage begins at 6:30p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

Will the West give us any surprises this year? The Central appears loaded yet again, but can the Blackhawks or Wild find their way in after watching the playoffs last season? What about the Pacific? Will the Coyotes finally stay healthy and take a step forward? Can the Canucks shock us this year?

There will be lots of ups and downs over the next six months and while we may not get a story like the Blues delivered to us last season, we’ll certainly be entertained. The Avalanche and Stars are two teams trending upward, while the Blues and Predators are loaded with veterans who know how to win. Winnipeg? Well, what do you make of the Jets this year? Was last season just a blip for the team and Patrik Laine? Are they going to recover and live up to the expectations we had for them at the start of last season?

The 2019-20 NHL season begins Wednesday night and we’ve already broken down who we think will come out the East. Here’s how we’re thinking the West will finish up.

[PHT PREDICTIONS: EASTERN CONFERENCE / STANLEY CUP]

Let us know in the comments how you see both Western Conference divisions shaping up.


WESTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPION

SEAN: They’ll certainly be motivated after how their season ended last April. The Golden Knights will have an entire season with Mark Stone and what should be a rebound season for Max Pacioretty. The blue line could use an upgrade, but that’s something that can be addressed at the trade deadline in February. 

JAMES: The Blues aren’t likely to stay on fire like they did once 2019 kicked off, but that talent and depth was always there, even when they were on the brink of collapse. The sheer balance in St. Louis is a thing to behold, with Justin Faulk adding to an embarrassment of riches on defense. Like with the Lightning, the Blues’ tough division gives me pause, but I trust them more than other favorites out in the Pacific (Marc-Andre Fleury‘s wear and tear makes Vegas risky).

JOEY: They won’t dominate the regular season, but the Avalanche will put it all together when it matters most. They have a top line that’s unstoppable and they have a star in Cale Makar that already made an impact at the NHL level. It’s bold, but I think the Avalanche can do something special this year.

ADAM: The Avalanche have the superstars, they addressed their forward depth, I love their young defense. They took a huge step a year ago and they look even better this season. They also have an absurd amount of salary cap space to address whatever issues they still may have in-season.

PHT’S SEASON PREVIEW:
2019-20 NHL Power Rankings
PHT’s 2019-20 season previews
Which 2019 NHL playoff teams are in danger of missing this season?
• NHL Awards, free agent busts, overhyped teams
Breakout players, bold predictions for 2019-20

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