The final part of my 2012-2013 NHL season preview examines what I think will happen in the Pacific Division:
Key Additions: Sheldon Souray, Bryan Allen, Dan Winnik, Brad Staubitz
Key Losses: George Parros, Sheldon Brookbank, J-F Jacques
This could be the last ride in Anaheim for Teemu Selanne, Ryan Getzlaf, and Bobby Ryan, because all of them become unresricted free agents at the end of the season. Can Bruce Boudreau, in his first full season as bench boss of the Ducks, bring the success be made in Washington out here to the west coast?
Key Additions: Jaromir Jagr, Ray Whitney, Derek Roy, Aaron Rome
Key Losses: Mike Ribeiro, Steve Ott, Sheldon Souray, Adam Burish, Adam Pardy
The magic words in the offseason for the Dallas Stars was “veteran experience” and the Stars got some veteran experience in two 40-somethings in Jaromir Jagr AND Ray Whitney. Unfortunately, I just don’t think there’s enough gas in the tank for both Jagr and Whitney to give the Stars a chance to make it to the playoffs.
Los Angeles Kings
Key Addition: Anthony Stewart
Key Loss: Kevim Westgarth
I admit it: I did see the potential for the Kings to make it to the Playoffs, but I, like many others, didn’t give them their due not just to go deep in the playoffs, but to win the Stanley Cup. Even though the Kings traded Kevin Westgarth for Anthony Stewart (most likely to be near family [father-in-law is NFL on CBS studio analyst Bill Cowher]), the Kings improved by just a little bit. The Kings are not just the team to beat in the Western Conference, they’re the team to beat in the entire league. I honestly believe the Kings have a legitimate shot at repeating as Stanley Cup Champions this year.
Prediction: Pacific Division Champions
Key Additions: Zbynek Michalek, David Moss, Steve Sullivan, Nick Johnson
Key Losses: Ray Whitney, Adrian Aucoin, Michal Rozsival
The Coyotes surprised a lot of folks last season, especially with the emergence of goaltender Mike Smith. But if the Coyotes have a chance on repeating success, Smith needs to repeat what he did last year this year.
San Jose Sharks
Key Additions: Brad Stuart, Adam Burish
Key Losses: Torrey Mitchell, Dan Winnik
The window for a championship is starting to shrink in San Jose. After making back-to-back appearances in the Western Conference Finals in 2010 and 2011, the Sharks lost to the Blues in 5 games in the first round last year. This year, the Sharks brought back Brad Stuart and brought in “superpest” Adam Burish to bring Energy to the Sharks, but I don’t know if that’ll be enough to put San Jose in a playoff spot this year.