Northwest Division Breakout Candidates

The less than Pucking Awesome Northwest Division breakout candidates are here:

Calgary Flames – Mark Giordano

48 hours ago, this pick would have been Mikael Backlund…easily. The Flames` top three centres are all currently nursing injuries, yet they still don`t have enough faith in Backlund to take over the centre spot on Iginla`s line. So much so that they had to go out and sign Brendan Morrison to fill in for Langkow and Stajan. So that leaves my pick at Mark Giordano, who really stepped up his game last season after the Flames realize Bouwemeester wasn`t who they thought he was.

Colorado Avalanche – David Jones

David Jones has played three injury filled seasons with the Colorado Avalanche, but they have a gaping hole at left wing with Peter Mueller`s injury trouble so if Jones can stay healthy then he could have a major season. The reason for my optimism is that he racked up 16 points in 23 games last season before getting hurt and making way for Mueller to dominate. It`s pretty hard to pick a brekout candidate when the entire roster overachieved last season.

Edmonton Oilers – Tom Gilbert

Ya ya Hall and Eberle will be great, but everyone knows that. One will probably be nominated for the  Calder, but I think Gilbert will be just as good of a story for the Oilers in 2010-11. He does have competition in Ryan Whitney and Kurtis Foster, but Sheldon Souray probably won`t be in the picture for them this year. Gilbert was expected to do big things last season after 45 points in 2008-09, but was quite a big disappointment. That is until he has an absolutely huge finish notching almost 52% of his total points for the season (16 of 31 pts) in his final 11 games!

Minnesota Wild – Brent Burns

This is your last chance Brent Burns. While in his last full season (2007-08) he had 43 points, including 15 goals, Burns hasn`t been able to build on that success in subsequent years. Minnesota doesn`t look like they`ll be very good in 2010, but Burns still has the potential to lead a decent powerplay with Latendresse, Koivu and Havlat.

Vancouver Canucks – Alexander Edler

After a great regular season and a postseason in which he showed a very encouraging physical side, Edler hopes to take some time away from Christian Ehrhoff on the top powerplay unit. This is one could be a hit or miss because the Canucks have brought in Keith Ballard and Dan Hamhuis in the offseason, but I think they will stay in a more defensive role, especially Hamhuis.

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