(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
With the new Stanley Cup Champion crowned in the Tampa Bay Lightning, it’s time to take a look ahead to the offseason and study the Pacific Division.
It is early, too early, but I am here to power rank the teams in the Pacific division. The Pacific Division was represented by five teams in the NHL bubble last season, with the Coyotes sneaking in from the round of 16 after defeating the Nashville Predators. The Vegas Golden Knights made quite a run to the Western Conference final before falling to the Dallas Stars in five games.
The Knights were the best team in the division last year and look to repeat again this year. With a couple of key additions in net, the Calgary Flames look like the team most poise to battle Vegas for the top spot in the division. I also wouldn’t sleep on the Edmonton Oilers after a couple of strong additions to a team that already has the best player in the league.
Look for the team to maybe shop him at the deadline this year. In a surprise move, the Ducks signed defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk to a three-year deal this offseason. Not sure of the reasoning seeing that the Ducks don’t seem to be in any position to compete for at least a couple of years.
The Ducks have quite a few top prospects that will get valuable playing time next year, and they hope it will help the development of the youngsters. But look for it to be another rough year in Anaheim.
Los Angeles Kings
The Los Angeles Kings boast possibly the best prospect pool in the entire league, but since their run of two cups in three years, it’s been a battle of mediocrity for LA.
Over the last two years, the Kings have finished seventh and eighth in the Pacific. The rebuild will continue this year as the Kings will continue to incorporate young guys into a lineup that still has Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar on the top line. The two stars play has been declining, Browns maybe more so over the past couple of years.
With that being said, the system they are building is going to pay off in a couple of years and make them a dangerous team for many years after that.