I would say our toughest playoff adversaries will definitely be in our own conference; if we can conquer them, we definitely have the ability to conquer whichever Eastern team we'd face in the Cup Final. I've grouped the bluelines in our conference into three groups: The elite/tough who will pose or can potentially be legitimate threat, the medium who have potential combined with some top-shelf guys, and the unproven/low who don't pose much of a threat or just have potential and may or may not show it this season.
Red Wings-We all very well know about Lidstrom, Stuart and Kronwall, while White may do in red what he did in teal. They are as always, a tough adversary.
Canucks-Bieksa and Hamhuis may very well build on the huge breakout they had last season and keep this blueline solidified. Rome is still a reasonable player but Salo’s age seemed to show during the playoffs.
Coyotes-Their blueline depth has greatly compensated for their lack of scoring depth over the past couple seasons, and is still fairly deadly. Rozsival, Aucoin, and Yandle have the stats to back themselves up, and Schlemko may be due for a breakout season. Put more scoring depth in front of them, and they are a beastly team.
Predators-Blum is a rookie and along with Klein, both show potential. Suter has definitely stood out and if Weber is given his arbitration award by the team he supposedly wants to remain with, this blueline is a definite threat.
Blues-With all the talent this roster is composed of, I find it rather hard to believe they are rebuilding, unless it is a matter of finding team chemistry. Polak may have a breakout year, while Jackman is an on/off type player. Nikitin and Colaiacovo are not young, but not veterans either; they still have potential and by the looks of it, are just entering their prime. Pietrangelo is young, but has potential too.
Flames-Babchuk and Sarich are both proven, while Butler and Giordano have potential like many others in the Western Conference.
Blackhawks-Hjalmarsson is still solid, Montador is new and can certainly stand out again, and Seabrook is still fairly solid but seemed to take a small decline after they won the Cup. Keith has declined a little too. Not sure if they will be as tough as many other WC teams this season.
Stars-Daley and Grossman may both be due for breakout years, and many of us may know that Goligoski is definitely proven. This is a team that has had most of the right pieces in place to make the playoffs the last couple seasons but have fallen just short; this can definitely change with their new bench boss.
Yet to be proven/Questionable:
Ducks- right now they only seem to have two legit D-men: Visnovsky and Lydman. With the retirement of Niedermayer last offseason, their blueline took a blow. But they still have scoring depth like the Sharks.
Kings- their real standouts are Martinez and if he is returning to LA next season, Doughty.
Avalanche-They lost Liles last season, so their blueline went down. However, Hejda and O’Brien are both new and will definitely improve a team that was hampered by injuries last season but not quite put them into contending mode just yet.
Blue Jackets-Clitsome seems a little iffy, but Russell seems to have some potential that just might show itself soon. Not much depth here.
Oilers-Sutton is new to them but age seems to have caught up with him, unless he gets a chance to shine again with a team that is not quite finished rebuilding. Whitney is solid but may be a liability.
Wild-Lundin is new, but like Stoner, he’s got potential. Schultz may still be well in his prime and should get a chance to stand out again. Other than that, Zanon has been on and off the past couple seasons so he is questionable as to whether he provides depth to his team’s backend.
How would you rank these bluelines?