Welcome to the 2023-24 hockey season here at Isles Talk !!! Before we dive into the western conference, I want the readers to understand how I do previews because it is more of an out-of-the-box style than the traditional “who will be in the playoffs in 6 months.” I’m more of a “Live in the moment” kind of person and I take the first 10 games much more serious than others. So first, let’s start of with a picture. I want you to imagine any kind of race, whether it be a horse race, NASCAR, Formula One, whatever works for you. In this particular race you need a certain amount of “qualifying” points in order for your team to even have hopes of playoff aspirations. For me that Western Conference number is 90. Obviously things change as the season progresses and that’s why we have a regular season in the first place, but this number could move up as the season moves on (The Stars needed 86 to get in two seasons ago). So if you’re reading this before game 1 and you think your team can reach 90 points by the end of the regular season? Congratulations!!! So let’s take a deeper look at the Western Conference as I break them down into four different categories.
Playoffs: Not only should these teams surpass 90 points, they should be considered the favorites heading into the playoffs (in no particular order):
Bubble Teams: These are teams that should rack up 90 points but have some questions that cannot be answered until the regular season is under way:
Sophomores: These teams are like high school students in this grade, they’re just in school not really going anywhere, just hanging around for something to happen. Again, the regular season will determine if these teams will be buyers or sellers:
1 St. Louis
2 Arizona: I always pick a dark horse in the sophomore class that just maybe could surprise everyone and get in. I’m rooting for the Yotes this year.
Lottery: These two teams are not destined to be actual lottery teams, but they’re the least likeliest to even rack up 90 points this season:
2 San Jose
For a deeper look into the western conference check out our YouTube show for a full coverage of the western conference.