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Western Conference Notebook (Jan. 6)

Thursday, 01.6.2011 / 5:21 PM CT / Features
By Jay Levin  - Nashville Predators
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Western Conference Notebook (Jan. 6)
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The Holiday Season has passed and the calendar has moved into the 2011 portion of this season's schedule. As most teams move toward the midpoint of the schedule -- every team has played at least 38 games and four Western Conference teams have already played its 41st game of the season -- I figured it is time to take a stab at some mid-season All-Division Teams for the Central, Pacific, and Northwest.

Plenty of very worthy players were left out, so if you disagree with the selections shoot us a message with your choices.

Between now and the end of the season, opions will likely change -- there's a lot of the season left. But let the debates begin....


Central Division
Forwards: Rick Nash (CBJ), Patrick Sharp (CHI), Henrik Zetterberg (DET)
Defensemen: Nicklas Lidstrom (DET), Ryan Suter (NSH)
Goaltender: Jaroslav Halak (STL)
Top Rookie: Alex Pietrangelo (D, STL)

A loaded crop of defensemen to select from. Shea Weber may very well earn an All-Star Game invitation, Duncan Keith is the reigning Norris Trophy winner, etc. At the end of the day, Lidstrom has been outstanding (top three among NHL defensemen in goals, assists, and points while being, well, Nick Lidstrom on defense) and the difference in the Predators team play with and without Suter was eye-opening while he was injured earlier in the season. Nashville has the Western Conference's stingiest defense, so a strong case could be made for a Preds goaltender (and both Pekka Rinne and Anders Lindback have been impressive). 



Northwest Division
Forwards: Matt Duchene (COL), Daniel Sedin (VAN), Henrik Sedin (VAN)
Defensemen: Brent Burns (MIN), Ryan Whitney (EDM)
Goaltender: Roberto Luongo (VAN)
Top Rookie: Taylor Hall (F, EDM)

If not for an injury, Colorado forward Chris Stewart would have been in; Stewart had 11 goals and 25 points in 23 games before being sidelined. And Jarome Iginla could just as easily earn a spot at forward. It was tough to keep defenseman John-Michael Liles (Colorado) out, but just look at what Burns and Whitney have accomplished. Fellow Edmonton rookie Jordan Eberle is stride-for-stride with Hall.



Pacific Division
Forwards: Anze Kopitar (LA), Corey Perry (ANA), Brad Richards (DAL)
Defensemen: Toni Lydman (ANA), Keith Yandle (PHX)
Goaltender: Jonathan Quick (LA)
Top Rookie: Logan Couture (F, SJ)

Jon Quick or Jonas Hiller in net; tough to make a call -- Hiller's done an admirable job behind a banged-up (and very young) defensive corps and his 19 wins are second in the NHL. Maybe I should change my mind again? And some other real interesting options on defense. Dan Boyle in San Jose and Lubomir Visnovski in Anaheim could easily be included and LA's Drew Doughty was a Norris Trophy Finalist last season. But Yandle leads his team in scoring (playing over 24 minutes a game) and Lydman leads the Western Conference with a +21 plus/minus rating (and like Hiller has done it with a young banged up Ducks d-corps).

SCHEDULE
 

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STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 51 24 7 228 221 109
2 y - STL 82 51 24 7 239 197 109
3 x - NSH 82 47 25 10 226 202 104
4 x - CHI 82 48 28 6 220 186 102
5 x - VAN 82 48 29 5 236 220 101
6 x - MIN 82 46 28 8 227 198 100
7 x - WPG 82 43 26 13 223 204 99
8 x - CGY 82 45 30 7 237 213 97
9 LAK 82 40 27 15 218 197 95
10 DAL 82 41 31 10 257 257 92
11 COL 82 39 31 12 209 223 90
12 SJS 82 40 33 9 224 226 89
13 EDM 82 24 44 14 193 276 62
14 ARI 82 24 50 8 165 267 56

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
F. Forsberg 82 26 37 15 63
M. Ribeiro 82 15 47 11 62
R. Josi 81 15 40 15 55
S. Weber 78 15 30 15 45
C. Smith 82 23 21 11 44
C. Wilson 77 20 22 19 42
M. Fisher 59 19 20 4 39
J. Neal 67 23 14 12 37
R. Ellis 58 9 18 8 27
S. Jones 82 8 19 3 27
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 41 17 6 .923 2.18
C. Hutton 6 7 4 .902 2.61