2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Predictions: Western Conference and Stanley Cup Final

Stanley Cup Playoffs

Now that the Eastern Conference path has been predicted, it’s time to take a look at the West. Certainly a new-look west without Los Angeles or San Jose, but an intriguing one nonetheless.

Western Conference

2015 Western Conference

Central Division:

#1 St. Louis Blues vs. #4 Minnesota Wild
Sporting Charts: Blues vs. Wild

The St. Louis Blues had some question marks in net entering this series (as in who was going to be the starter) and have decided to go with the youngster Jake Allen because he has the hot hand. And speaking of hot hands, Devan Dubnyk has been resurrected since being traded to Minnesota and helped carry this team to the playoffs. The Blues score more goals per game and give up fewer per game than the Wild and when you pair that with a 22.3% powerplay, the Wild will have their work cut out for them.

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2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Predictions: Eastern Conference

Stanley Cup Playoffs

I haven’t written on here in a while but with the playoffs and draft season coming along, it’s about that time of year again. I’m excited for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, obviously, but every time I look at the format I still can’t get past how terrible it is. Copying the AHL format to save money and “create rivalries” is such an NHL thing to do. Nevermind giving the bad divisions an advantage by playing against each other until the Conference Final while they good ones beat up on each other. But ANYWAYS, on to the playoffs.

Definitely going to be a weird/different look with no Los Angeles, Boston or San Jose. Those three have seemingly been mainstays in the NHL playoffs the last 6-7 years and it’s going to be strange to not see them in the mix. There is also a heavy dose of Canadian teams this year that should offer a different change of pace. The best part though? This is probably the most wide-open the playoffs have been. There is no clear-cut favorite and that obviously makes trying to predict what is going to happen quite difficult, but here goes nothing.

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Lions Trade For Haloti Ngata To Replace Ndamukong Suh

Haloti Ngata

Okay, so forget about what I said about the Lions not having a backup plan/not having a good one. Martin Mayhew sure gave me the finger on this one and clearly knows what he is doing. In case you didn’t know the details, the Lions traded a 2015 4th round pick and a 2015 5th round pick to the Baltimore Ravens for Haloti Ngata and a 7th round pick.

I thought that if the Ravens cut Ngata that the Lions could target him, but I never imagined they would go out and trade for him. This was one helluva power move by Mayhew and the Lions. They still have $8.5 million in cap space, so they can still address other positions of need, with defensive tackle still being one of them. And Ngata, while older than Ndamukong Suh, is still more productive than anything you would have gotten in the 4th or 5th round. Ngata is currently 31 years old and is in the last year of his current deal, so I would expect the Lions would look to sign him to a 3-4 year extension; with most of that money coming in the first two years. Hats off to Martin Mayhew here, honestly. I was totally wrong about him.

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Detroit Lions Offseason Plan: Positions Of Need

First, let me start this off by discussing Ndamukong Suh. He’s agreed to a 6-year deal worth up to $114 million and $60 million guaranteed with the Miami Dolphins. The worst of all of this is that the Lions were very close in their offer. They gave him 6 years for $17 million per year and $58 million guaranteed. Now obviously the lack of a state income tax in Florida is huge, but the bottom line is,┬áSuh is a mercenary. I’ve always felt that he will show up and work his heart out and always wants to win, but at the end of the day he will follow the money. No matter what.

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2015 NFL Scouting Combine Winners And Losers

Ali Marpet

Since I flooded everyone with Combine recaps for almost a full week, I decide to take a bit of a break before posting the “winners” and “losers.” Now we all know that no one can inherently lose the Combine, but they can hurt their stock with bad performances that don’t match what they did on tape. Working out poorly and causing yourself to fall in the draft is a loss to me.

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2015 NFL Scouting Combine Recap Day 4: Defensive Backs

Senquez Golson

This was probably the most disappointing day in terms of coverage from NFL Network. They spent a lot of time talking about anything but the guys on the field and showing commercials instead of actual drills on the field. There was almost no video of the second group of DBs outside of the 40-yard-dash times.

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2015 NFL Scouting Combine Recap Day 3: Defensive Linemen and Linebackers

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The last two recap posts are a bit delayed because of my schedule, but hopefully I’ll have day 4 done sooner rather than later.

The linebackers turned out to be an extremely disappointing group when it comes to the drills, while the edge rushers showed just how strong of a class it is going to be. For those that don’t know, an edge rusher is a pass rusher. Usually a lighter defensive end that either plays DE in a 4-3 or stands up in a 3-4 as an OLB, either way, they’re getting after the quarterback.

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