How are things going to go in the Wild West?
The Pacific Division actually produced the Western Conference champion last season with the surprising San Jose Sharks. The team that was struggling to find an identity not long ago is apparently good with where it’s at now.
Meanwhile, the Ducks and Kings continue to be in contention mode. The rest of the division is either in rebuilding status or just straight up dumpster fire status.
Anaheim Ducks — Added: F Antoine Vermette, F Mason Raymond, G Jonathan Bernier, F Jared Boll; Lost: G Frederik Andersen, F David Perron, F Brandon Pirri, F Mike Santorelli, F Chris Stewart, coach Bruce Boudreau
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A decent bit of in-division movement among players this offseason in the Pacific, which was also a landing ground for some former Central Division athletes. San Jose went with the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” strategy, and it should serve them well.
Los Angeles got stronger by losing guys like Lucic and Versteeg and made some solid, if not major, improvements at forward. Anaheim had a really turbulent offseason following another early playoff exit. They went back to Randy Carlyle at coach, which … hasn’t worked that well in the past.
Edmonton made two baffling moves in moving former first-overall picks Hall and Yakupov for essentially nothing. The Flames and Coyotes made some nice little improvements, but seem focused on their youth as well. Why Vancouver signed Eriksson is anyone’s guess, considering how bad the Canucks are going to be for the entirety of his six-year deal.
x-Los Angeles Kings, 102 points
x-San Jose Sharks, 100 points
x-Anaheim Ducks, 97 points
Calgary Flames, 85 points
Arizona Coyotes, 84 points
Edmonton Oilers, 82 points
Vancouver Canucks, 55 points
x-qualifies for playoffs
I see the Pacific shaking out as a battle of “meh” again this season. But don’t be surprised if these teams make noise in the postseason, as they always seem to. There’s just no reason to go from the same three playoff teams as came out of the Pacific last year, and there’s also no reason to assume one or two of the others will snag wild-card spots.
Calgary, Arizona and even Edmonton (despite it’s desire to purge Hall) are on the slow rise. Vancouver, meanwhile, is going to be horrible. Maybe the Canucks will actually shop the Sedin brothers this season. Or maybe they’ll just opt to retire, if they don’t want to be split up and can’t take anymore of the team’s mediocrity. I wouldn’t blame them.