Wrapping up predictions, with an exciting Pacific Division. Last year three out of the seven teams made the playoffs and one of those teams had a chance to compete for the Stanley Cup, but ended up falling short. This offseason has been pretty exciting for the Pacific Division as each team added some power to their roster.
This one is a bit more challenging to predict after Calgary, Arizona and Edmonton’s offseason so far, but staying atop the Pacific Division, the Anaheim Ducks. With Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, it’s tough to place this team anywhere else. Along with the talent of Ryan Kesler and a strong defensive team, whilst adding Jonathan Breiner for a real low price – who is a big transaction for Anaheim. Only concern going into the 2016/17 season for the Ducks is the hiring of new coach Randy Carlyle, it’s going to be tough to fill the position of Bruce Boudreau.
Coming in at two, the San Jose Sharks. After a successful playoff run and not losing much besides James Reimer, the Sharks are going to into the season with a chip on their shoulder. Losing in the Stanley Cup final is heartbreaking, especially when Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are amongst those players on their way out. The addition of young speedy forward Mikkel Boedker will be a good fit on the second line with Logan Couture. Also, if Martin Jones plays to the same ability as last year then San Jose has another great shot at a Stanley Cup run.
Now, number three and four are tough due to Los Angeles’ subpar offseason and Arizona and Calgary adding pieces to their roster that make them serious contenders for the three spot. Although the Kings had a tough offseason, they’re still the Los Angeles Kings and are always competitive. The Kings stay in the three spot but I can easily see them dropping this season. The only reason LA come in at three is because of new captain Anze Kopitar, everyone knows how dynamic and versatile Kopitar is, and now that he has the captaincy he will play that much better. They also have regular Vezina contender year after year Jonathan Quick, alongside Norris Trophy winner Drew Doughty, so it’s tough to see this team not having a successful season.
Four goes to the Arizona Coyotes, although the Coyotes only finished with 78 points last season, that will easily go up ten to fifteen points in this campaign after their very impressive offseason. Signing defensemen Alex Goligoski is a big step in the road forward for this Arizona defense, as well as forward Jamie McGinn. Arizona and Calgary will be battling for the four spot this year and may see a wild card playoff spot. Which leads me to number five, the Calgary Flames. Calgary’s addition of veteran forward Troy Brouwer is perfect for the young forwards like Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. Not a blockbuster signing, but acquiring Brian Elliott at the price Calgary got him leaves the question for a number one goalie answered.
Six and seven are tough as well, Vancouver having the Sedin brothers alongside veteran forward Loui Eriksson will add some offensive power to the Vancouver line-up. It’s a tough division and Vancouver isn’t going to exceed expectations this year. Now Edmonton coming in at seven is questionable but yet again, the Pacific is a tough division and being that Edmonton is more of a young team it’s going to be tough for them to be competitive right away. Although their first line of McDavid, Lucic, and Eberle looks promising, they still lack some talent on the defensive end of the puck, and Cam Talbot has not yet established himself as a solid starting goalie. Now, give this team two or three years and maybe we’re talking fifth, maybe fourth in the Pacific Division.
As of now, it looks as if everything will stay the same in the Pacific Division, although come February I would not be surprised if one the bottom three teams exceeds my prediction for the season.