2016-17 Pacific Division Preview

This is the final part of my NHL season preview. Here’s my preview of the Pacific Division:

Anaheim Ducks

Key Additions: Antoine Vermette, Jonathan Bernier, Nate Guenin, Jared Boll, Jeff Schultz

Key Losses: Jamie McGinn, Anton Khudobin, David Perron, Chris Stewart

Out of all the teams in the NHL, the Anaheim Ducks have a lot of questions to answer.this season. The biggest one being out of all the prople you could think of to replace Bruce Boudreau as your head coach,you selected…Randy Carlyle? Sure he lead the Ducks to a Stanley Cup 10 years ago, but the last time he coached the Ducks, they had one of the worst seasons ever. Will doing back to the old syle of play lead to a better future and a second chance in Anaheim?

Prediction: Third

Arizona Coyotes

Key Additions: Alex Goligoski, Jamie McGinn, Radim VrBata, Dave Bolland, Luke Schenn

Key Losses: Antoine Vermette

The Arizona Coyotes are celebrating their 20th season in the American Southwest, and believe me, this team should be more improved after last season. First, they signed a top defenseman in Alex Goligoski. Second, the Killer Ds, Anthony Duclair and Max Domi, are building off of breakout first seasons. And third, 2015 first-round draft pick Dylan Strome could have a shot to make the opening night roster. They might not be contending for a playoff spot this season, but the future has never been brighter for the Yotes.

Prediction: Sixth

Calgary Flames

Key Additions: Troy Brouwer, Brian Elliott, Alex Chiasson

Key Losses: None

The Calgary Flames just might be the NHL’s dark horse team this season. After a step-back season that resulted in head coach Bob Hartley being fired, a new head coach, Glen Gulutzan, and two former Blues that had a major impact last season, forward Troy Brouwer and goaltender Brian Elliott, could give the boost the Flames needed last season. Add the contract extension of Sean Monahan, and the Flames could potentially be the best non-California team in the Pacific Division.

Prediction: Fourth

Edmonton Oilers

Key Additions: Milan Lucic, Adam Larsson

Key Loss: Taylor Hall

The Edmonton Oilers begin a new era at Rogers Place, and there should be a lot of cause for optimism. Connor McDavid is hoping to play a full season, and his new linemate, Milan Lucic, wants to be a part of it. After all, the biggest reason why Lucic wanted to play in Edmonton was #97 himself. Also, the Oilers also got a big-name defenseman when they traded away Taylor Hall to New Jersey for Dam Larsson. Larsson is a pure defensive defenseman,;a key position that has been filled in.

Prediction: Fifth

Los Angeles Kings

Key Additions: Teddy Purcell, Tom Gilbert

Key Losses: Milan Lucic, Luke Schenn

Not a lot of change happened in L.A. during the offsesaon, but there was change nonetheless. The Kings demoted Dustin Brown and promoted Anze Kopitar to team captain. But beyond that, the major question for the Kings this season is are they truly deep enough to contend in the Pacific Division?

Prediction: Second

San Jose Sharks

Key Additions: Mikkel Boedker, David Schlemko

Key Losses: James Reimer, Roman Polak

With the exception of the ending last season, the 2015-16 San Jose Sharks had the best season ever. They finally got through the playoff hump and advanced to their first Stanley Cup Final appearance in franchise history. What looked to be the championship window closing is now open for a little while longer. Now, the Sharks have to build upon last season if they want the window to say open for a little more longer. They have all the tools there. It’s up to them to create what the next chapter will look like.

Prediction: Pacific Division Champions

Vancouver Canucks

Key Additions: Erik Gudbranson, Loui Eriksson

Key Losses: Radim Vrbata, Dan Hamhuis

The Vancouver Canucks are in the middle of a transitional phase – the dreaded treadmill effect. The treadmill effect happens when the team isn’t that good, but technically isn’t that bad. If they somehow make the playoffs, they’re not gonna make a deep run. If they miss the playoffs, the probably won’t get a difference-maker. But they did just that in the Draft, when they selected defenseman Olli Juolevi with the fifth-overall pick. Juolevi is one of the building blocks to the Canucks’ future, but as for the present, the only major name that joined the Canucks during the offseason is Loui Eriksson. Eriksson will most likely play with Daniel and Henrik Sedin as the Canucks’ top line this season. But after that, the forecast for the Canucks 2016-17 season looks pretty cloudy.

Prediction: Seventh

And there you have it! Those are my previews for the 2016-17 NHL season. In the words of legendary Chick Hearn, this one’s finally in the fridge; the door is closed, the lights are out, the eggs are cooling, the butter’s getting hard, and the jello is jiggling. The next time I’ll write will be the day after Opening Night. Stay tuned!

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