The Hockey News' annual projections for the Eastern and Western conference standings are slowly materializing one day at a time, and today the number 5 spot was revealed. With the Flames occupying this lofty perch amongst the league's best, it seems safe to assume that they will either equal or improve upon their performance from last season, depending on the quality of competition they face from their Western conference rivals. With only four spots left, the projected standings of all but one of the Northwest division teams have been unveiled, and it's looking like another ugly season for the Avalanche, Wild, and Oilers. Stock up on the Prozac now before it's too late.
The Canucks finishing any higher than 3rd in the conference seems unrealistic with teams like Detroit, Chicago, and San Jose in the mix. It is impossible to accurately project the performances of teams and players due to factors such as injury, scheduling, personnel changes, and let's face it--luck; but if the Flames can stay healthy and their top-end players perform as such with help from an adequate supporting cast, they should be more than capable of contending for the Northwest division crown.