Pacific Division Offseason Wrap-Up

The 2017 NHL Offseason has been rather hectic, however, the Expansion Draft, Entry Draft, and the bulk of Free Agency has come and gone. Some teams made a large splash, some added a few helpful pieces, and others spent this busy time tanning on the beach. Brought to you as a team effort from all three writers at Onside Access, here is the Pacific Division Wrap-Up.

Here is the scale of where we think teams will finish:

Bottom Feeder: A team that really has no shot at making the playoffs, and will remain relatively low in the standings

Not a Playoff Team: A team that isn’t quite low enough to be referred to as a Bottom Feeder, but they aren’t quite at a level to compete for a playoff spot either.

Playoff Contender: Teams that are at a level where a playoff spot is a reasonable goal. Go ahead, say you think the team will make the playoffs. It’s alright.

Playoff Team: A team that should make the postseason in some capacity. Even if it’s the 16th-seed, they’re still there.

Cup Contender: They don’t just make the playoffs, but they’re probably good enough to go all the way.

*Note: We didn’t include re-signings, because they weren’t necessarily “Additions”

We’ve finished 3 Wrap-Ups already, and here is the last one. Let’s get to it.

Anaheim Ducks

Written by Reebehl El-Hage

  • Key additions: Ryan Miller, Dennis Rasmussen, Reto Berra, Steve Olesky
  • Key subtractions: Clayton Stoner, Shea Theodore, Simon Despres, Jonathan Bernier, Nate Thompson
  • General thoughts: Led by veterans Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, the Ducks managed to make another deep run in the playoffs this past season, advancing as far as the Western Conference Finals before falling in 6 to the Nashville Predators. The Ducks will still have their core intact, with Perry, Getzlaf, and Kesler still under contract, and they managed to lock up Cam Fowler and Patrick Eaves with contract extensions this offseason. They have brought in veteran netminder Ryan Miller to give them a solid backup with the loss of Bernier, picked up further goalie depth by signing Reto Berra, and added a few grittier players in the form of Olesky and Rasmussen. They did lose a few players in the offseason, but were able to avoid losing anyone substantial in the expansion draft by working out a deal with Vegas that saw Stoner and Theodore get picked up by the Knights. Overall, the Ducks are still a force to reckon with in the West. Whether they can convert their regular season success into a Stanley Cup is yet to be seen, but do not take this team lightly.

Playoff Team

Arizona Coyotes

Written by Conor McGovern

  • Key Additions: Derek Stepan (C), Antti Raanta (G), Nick Cousins (C), Adam Clendening (D), Niklas Hjalmarsson (D)
  • Key Subtractions: Anthony DeAngelo (D), Connor Murphy (D), Lauren Dauphin (F), Mike Smith (G)
  • General Thoughts: A lot people seem to dislike GM John Chayka because they haven’t seen results yet, which is ridiculous. I, for one, like the job that Chayka has done so far. He has pulled off some solid trades this summer, and has definitely improved this team going into this season. He went out and filled the void left by the departure of Mike Smith and signed Antti Raanta. He also picked up some veterans (Stepan, Cousins, and Hjalmarsson) to shore up some young lines. While this team is little ways from a playoff spot, the future is indeed bright, and they could make some noise in the next few years.

Expectations: Misses Playoffs

Calgary Flames

Written by Brian Finlayson

  • Key Additions: Mike Smith (G), Travis Hamonic (D), Eddie Lack (G), Spencer Foo (RW)
  • Key Subtractions: Brian Elliott (G), Chad Johnson (G), Lance Bouma (C), Alex Chiasson (RW), Ryan Murphy (D)
  • General Thoughts: Calgary has struggled with inconsistencies in goal since the departure of Mikka Kiprusoff, so they are taking yet another stab at a working tandem. They went out and acquired Mike Smith from the Arizona Coyotes, hoping they found their starter. They didn’t stop there, picking up Eddie Lack from the Carolina Hurricanes. Could this be the pair that finally establishes some stability? Well, something that could help is the pickup of defenseman Travis Hamonic from the New York Islanders. Perhaps the full issue isn’t just goaltending, but also the players in front of them. It’ll be interesting to see if things gel for the Flames, because they could be an exciting team to watch.

Expectation: Playoff Contender

Edmonton Oilers

Written by Brian Finlayson

  • Key Additions: Ryan Strome (C, RW), Jussi Jokinen (LW)
  • Key Subtractions: Jordan Eberle (RW), Benoit Pouliot (LW), Tyler Pitlock (RW), David Desharnais (C), Andrew Ference (D), Anton Lander (C), Jordan Oesterle (D), Jonas Gustavsson (G)
  • General Thoughts: The Oilers were rather busy to start the offseason, both with outside signings, and re-signings within the organization. Obviously, the McDavid contract must be mentioned, but we all know how good he is so I’ll spare you the details. We’re also still awaiting the re-signing of Leon Draisaitl, but you have to think it’ll be resolved sometime soon. Along with that, they did make some other moves that are definitely worth talking about. They went player-for-player with the Islanders when they traded Eberle for Strome. I’m still not sure how I feel about the trade, but it could be one of those “Change of Scenery” things. I really like their signing of Jussi Jokinen. He’s still a solid player, and his metrics line up nicely along side 2nd and 3rd line wingers. Overall, I think their team is about the same level it was last season, but just more experienced.

Expectation: Playoff Team

Los Angeles Kings

Written by Reebehl El-Hage

  • Key additions: Mike Cammalleri, Darcy Kuemper, Cal Petersen, John Stevens (Head Coach), Rob Blake (GM)
  • Key subtractions: Darryl Sutter (Head Coach), Dean Lombardi (GM), Ben Bishop, Jerome Iginla, Devin Setoguchi, Rob Scuderi
  • General thoughts: There is no doubt that the Kings had a disappointing year in 2016-17. This is a team that has won 2 Stanley Cups since 2012, and yet, with the same core intact, failed to even make the playoffs last year, which forced the changes in the front office and behind the bench. The Kings are by far one of the biggest X-factors in the West and the NHL; we know they can win Cups, and we also know they can fall flat on their face, and who knows which team will take the ice this year. Can the change in coaching reignite the spark in LA, or will Kings fans have to put their 2007 Ducks jerseys back on? Only time will tell.

Playoff Contender

San Jose Sharks

Written by Reebehl El-Hage

  • Key additions: Brandon Bollig, Antoine Bibeau
  • Key subtractions: Patrick Marleau, David Schlemko, Michael Haley
  • General thoughts: In 2017, we saw the Red Wings streak of 25 consecutive playoff appearances finally come to an end, marking the end of an era in Detroit. Well, out in the Bay area, it is looking like the end of a different type of era with the departure of long-time Shark Patrick Marleau, a man who has been with the team since 1997. The Sharks were dispatched by the up-and-coming Edmonton Oilers in the first round of the playoffs last year, adding just another blemish to a long list of playoff disappointments. The Sharks still have the skill and depth to make some waves in the West, most notably in the form of Pavelski, Burns, and veteran Joe Thornton, but it looks as though the Sharks, who peaked with a finals appearance in 2016, are on the decline.

Playoff contender

Vancouver Canucks

Written by Brian Finlayson

  • Key Additions: Sam Gagner (C), Alex Burmistrov (C), Michael Del Zotto (D), Patrick Wiercioch (D), Anders Nilsson (G)
  • Key Subtractions: Ryan Miller (G)
  • General Thoughts: What happened in Vancouver last season was nothing short of ugly. After getting off to a good start, they fell off rather sharply, and ended up finishing the season on an 8-game losing streak while racking up a total of 69 points. They did manage to grab a handful of players on the opening day of free-agency to hopefully fill some holes. Do I’ll think they’ll be better than last year? Sure. Do I think they did enough to crawl out od the basement? I’m not too sure. Goaltending will be a question mark, as it seemingly has been in Vancouver since the Luongo/Schneider situation, and I’m not sure if a Markstrom/Nilsson tandem is the answer.

Expectation: Bottom Feeder

Vegas Golden Knights

Written by Conor McGovern

  • Key Additions: Literally everyone
  • Key Subtractions: (Do these count?) Marc Methot (D), David Schlemko (D), Trevor van Riemsdyk (D), Marcus Kruger (F), Alexei Emelin (D)
  • General Thoughts: Let’s get straight to the point here, this team is going to be bad. There was a lot of excitement around this team going into the expansion because they had a serious chance to get some pretty good players but McPhee seemingly ignored that fact and made some questionable choices and even trades to avoid taking certain players. Either way, there is a lot of work to still do before the season starts since they still have 11 NHL defensemen on the roster and a forward corps that is not deep at all. Having MAF in net should provide some relief for this team but bottom line is this team is bad and should probably look forward to a few seasons at the bottom of the standings to properly build their team.

Expectations: Bottom Feeder

Well, that does it for our “Offseason Wrap-Up” series. Let us know what you thought! Keep it locked here for some further preparation and insight into next season!

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