Will the Dallas Stars repeat as Western Conference champs after beating out three rivals with better records last season? Could 2019 Stanley Cup champion St. Louis get back on top after finishing with the best record in the west last season? Could either Colorado or perennially-powerful Vegas get it done in 2021 after coming up short of their Stanley Cup hopes last season? If you’re fired up about the quickly-approaching 2021 NHL season, then let’s get to my bold predictions for the Western Conference right now so can start getting ready to make your bets against their NHL odds.
Bold predictions for the NHL’s Western Conference
No Blues in St. Louis!
One year after winning it all in 2019, St. Louis had a fine season by going 42-19-10 to finish with the best record in the Western Conference. The Blues are back, mostly intact from their championship-winning season, but more importantly, this team excels at the defensive end of the ice. St. Louis has been elite defensive for a couple of years now and finished fifth in goals allowed last season (2.7 gpg). The Blues added star veteran defenseman Torey Krug to their already stingy unit and should challenge for the best defense in the league in 2021. I like St. Louis to reach the conference semis in 2021!
Vegas Rolls Dice – And Beats The House!
Vegas has been an elite title contender ever since their inaugural campaign in 2017-18. The Golden Knights reached the conference finals last season and I’m banking on them getting back there again in 2021. Vegas went all in on veteran defenseman Alex Pietrangelo to a team that finished an identical 13th in scoring (3.2 gpg) and goals allowed (2.9 gpg).
The Golden Knights finished third in the Western Conference (39-24-8) and reached the conference finals before suddenly going ice-cold en route to a 4-1 finals loss against Dallas. In 2021, I’m picking Vegas to win the Pacific Division again. Vegas has added some youth to give the club more depth than they had last season and I believe the Knights will reach the Western Conference Finals in 2021!
The Stars Are Aligned!
The Stars have an elite goalie in Ben Bishop. Better still, his backup, Anton Khudobin carried this team to the Stanley Cup finals last season with Bishop out. With a quartet of gifted goal scorers in Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, Joe Pavelski and Corey Perry, the Stars will contend again in 2021 after finishing second to St. Louis in the west last season. I’m picking the Stars to reach the conference semis at the very least in 2021.
I’m going with Edmonton and Vancouver as my two ‘upset special’ teams in the west in 2021. Point blank – it’s time for superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draistl to cash in with the Oilers. I’m about sick and tired of hearing comparisons to the game’s greatest duos when these two can barely win a playoff series. Vancouver finished eighth in scoring last season and only needs to improve defensively in 2021 to challenge.
Expect An Avalanche in Colorado
The Avalanche finished second to St. Louis in the regular season, but got bounced out of the playoffs in the conference semis by Dallas in seven thrilling games. In 2021, I’m expecting the Avs to win the Western Conference in 2021! This team is loaded with young talent and veteran leadership and will have a chip on their collective shoulders entering the upcoming campaign. The Avs added winger Brandon Sad and defenseman Devon Toews in the offseason and essentially improved their roster. After injuries – and a feisty Dallas team – cut their Stanley Cup plans short last season, I’m expecting Colorado to win the west in 2021!