NBCSN’s coverage of the 2020-21 NHL season begins with Wednesday triple header featuring Flyers-Penguins, Blackhawks-Lightning, and Blues-Avalanche.
NBCSN LIVESTREAM: Penguins vs. Flyers – coverage begins at 5:15 p.m. ET
NBCSN LIVESTREAM: Blackhawks vs. Lightning – coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET
NBCSN LIVESTREAM: Blues vs. Avalanche – coverage begins at 10:30 p.m. ET
It might be easier to see how the bottom half of the West Division will end up than the top.
The Golden Knights, Avalanche and Blues are expected to be your top three, in some order. Adding Marco Rossi and Kirill Kaprizov give the Wild a bit of excitement and hope for this season. Can they end up the final four mix?
Speaking of the favorites, it’s not hard to imagine the Avalanche or Golden Knights representing the West in the Stanley Cup Final. Colorado took a big step forward last season and GM Joe Sakic made their roster even stronger for 2021. Kelly McCrimmon did the same in Vegas.
As we get ready for the season to begin, here’s how the PHT staff think the West Division will shake out.
Be sure to give us your picks in the comments!
Sean Leahy, NHL writer: This will be the funnest division race to watch. One of Vegas, Colorado, or St. Louis could lay claim to the crown. It will be even better when we get to the playoffs and how that ends up.
James O’Brien, NHL writer: Phew, is it ever going to be a battle for that division crown. The Avalanche and Golden Knights are loaded, and their games could be appointment viewing. Despite some losses, the Blues could also push for the top spot. Beyond those three, there’s room for movement, including a Sharks redemption. But I think the Wild can grind their way to a playoff spot, even if it could be ugly at times.
Adam Gretz, NHL writer: The top-three here seems pretty set and it would be a stunner if those three teams did not finish there in some order. The interesting thing is that fourth spot where there is no clear favorite. All of those teams are significantly flawed, and it opens the door for a team that may not have otherwise been in the playoffs in the normal division and conference alignment and playoff format. Minnesota can take that spot.
Marisa Ingemi, NHL writer: The best three teams in the west might be the three most dangerous teams in the league overall. After that? I feel like the Sharks could make a push, but the Wild might be a safer bet. The Sharks redemption arc would sure be fun, though.
Jake Abrahams, Managing Editor, NHL content: I would be absolutely shocked if the Golden Knights, Avs, or Blues missed the playoffs. For me the intrigue in this division is the battle for the 4th seed. The Kings are on nobody’s radar but they closed last season strong and actually have a quality group on defense and in goal.
Michael Finewax, Rotoworld Senior Hockey Writer/Editor: Colorado is the class of the West and should win the division with Vegas a close second. St. Louis lost Alex Pietrangelo and replaced him with Torey Krug but that should only be good enough for third. Minnesota and Arizona will battle it out for the final playoff spot with the California teams bringing up the rear.