Fantasy Hockey

2013 NHL Division Previews: Pacific Division

The Pacific Division adds teams from Canada to compete against some of the best teams in hockey on the west coast. A team from the Pacific has made it to the Western Conference Finals each of the past four seasons.

Our Projected Division Rankings

1. San Jose Sharks

2. Anaheim Ducks

3. Los Angeles Kings

4. Vancouver Canucks

5. Phoenix Coyotes

6. Edmonton Oilers

7. Calgary Flames

Team Previews:

Anaheim Ducks:

 Key Losses: RW- Bobby Ryan

Key Additions: LW- Dustin Penner, LW- Jakob Silfverberg

Off-season: After a disappointing first-round playoff exit, the Ducks made arguably the biggest trade of the off-season by acquiring Jakob Silfverberg and prospects for Bobby Ryan. Additionally, to help shore up the perceived loss in immediate scoring on the left side, Anaheim signed veteran power forward Dustin Penner to a one-year $2-million dollar deal.

Notable 2012-13 Team Stats:

  • Fourth ranked Power-play: 21.5%
  • Eighth in NHL in goals per game: 2.79
  • Won 66.7% of games when outshot

2013-14 Outlook: As is a staple of a Bruce Beaudreau coached team, Anaheim finished the Regular Season with the best record in hockey, only to get bounced in the first round of the playoffs.  Can Beaudreau figure it out? Or will this continue to be the fate of his teams? Nevertheless, Anaheim is still very talented and they will continue to lean heavily on center Ryan Getzlaf and right winger Corey Perry for scoring. Youngsters such as Silfverberg, right wingers Emerson Etem and Kyle Palmieri, and center Peter Holland will have to help anchor the secondary scoring to keep the Ducks competitive. The Ducks special teams ranked in the top-15 of the league. The 13th ranked penalty kill was on the ice the second fewest in 2012-13, a credit to a disciplined team even with hot heads such as Perry. If Anaheim can keep the special in special teams, a run at first place in a loaded Pacific Division is not out of the question.

Calgary Flames:

 Key Losses: G Miikka Kiprusoff, D- Anton Babchuk, D- Cory Sarich, LW- Alex Tanguay, RW- Roman Cervenka

Key Additions: G- Karri Ramo, D- Shane O’Brien, D- Kris Russell, LW- T.J. Galiardi, C- Sean Monahan, RW- David Jones

Off-season: The Calgary Flames started the rebuilding process by cutting salary in trades and opening roster spots for their young talent. Trade acquisitions such as Shane O’Brien and Kris Russell won’t scare anyone, but they help fill open spots on a team desperate for proven NHL talent. The official retirement of goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff puts Calgary in bind in between the pipes, and signing KHL net-minder Karri Ramo is not the answer. Finally, Brian Burke became the head of hockey operations in Calgary, putting heat on GM- Jay Feaster. Burke, in an interview, claimed he and Feaster will co-exist, but Burke will most certainly be the one calling the shots from here on out. Burke is the former head of hockey operations/ GM for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Notable 2012-13 Team Stats:

  • Ninth ranked Power-play- 20%
  • 13th ranked Penalty Kill- 81.5%
  • 28th in face-off percentage- 46.6%

2013-14 Outlook: It is fair to say that the Calgary Flames will have low expectations. A full rebuild is on, and the young guns will be given every chance to make a name for themselves. Left wing Sven Baertschi, and centers Roman Horak and Sean Monahan should all get looks during the season for an offense that will need scoring from anyone who can shoot. Another kid, center Corban Knight, could be a welcome addition on an already successful penalty kill. Calgary has a nice mix of youth and veterans to work with, but unless wingers Jiri HudlerMike Cammalleri, and co. have career years, it will be tough for Calgary to stay in games. Goalie Karri Ramo is not a bell cow goalie, and the defense is lacking speed to keep up with the better offenses in the west. Drafting anyone from this team should be done at your own risk.

Edmonton Oilers

Key Losses: G- Nikolai Khabibulin, G- Yann Danis, D- Ryan Whitney, D- Theo Peckham, D- Andy Sutton, LW- Magnus Paajarvi, C- Shawn Horcoff, C- Eric Belanger

Key Additions: G- Jason LaBarbera, G- Richard Bachman, D- Philip Larsen, D- Andrew Ference, LW- David Perron, C- Boyd Gordon

Off-season: Edmonton did the most house cleaning during the summer. In doing so, the Oilers brass brought in some recognizable names that should push them in the right direction. Andrew Ference is a solid defenseman who leads by example on and off the ice. Philip Larsen was acquired from Dallas and will be another young defenseman who should contribute this year or next. The Oilers special teams, specifically the penalty kill got a boost with the additions of David Perron and Boyd Gordon. Perron will get a lot of minutes on special teams and on one of the top lines, and Gordon will instantly upgrade the Oilers’ weak face-off numbers.

Notable 2012-13 Team Stats:

  • Last in face-off percentage: 46.1%
  • Seventh best Power-play: 20.1%
  • Ninth best Penalty kill: 83.4%

2013-14 Outlook: Is this the season that youth finally serves in Edmonton? The top lines will be a mixture of Perron, Taylor HallRyan Nugent-HopkinsJordan EberleSam Gagne, and 2012-13 rookie scoring leader Nail Yakupov. The abundance of offense which that group could potentially unleash keep  the fans watching. The Oilers will need that six-pack to take at least one step forward if they expect to finish better than 18th in scoring. Goaltender Devan Dubnyk played well considering how inconsistent his defensemen were in front of him. Ference should help young rearguards such as Justin Schultz and Jeff Petry who add a defensive dimension to complement their scoring abilities. Edmonton has a chance to make the playoffs if all of those things fall in place.

Los Angeles Kings

Key Losses: G- Jonathan Bernier, D- Rob Scuderi, LW- Dustin Penner, C- Brad Richardson

Key Additions: G- Ben Scrivens, LW- Matt Frattin, LW- Dan Carcillo

Off-season: L.A. made a major trade by acquiring goalie Ben Scrivens, left wing Matt Frattin and a second round draft pick for prized goaltending prospect Jonathan Bernier. The immediate impact of losing Bernier won’t be felt until Jonathan Quick needs a breather.  It won’t be surprising to see him start 65 or so games in 2013-14. Frattin will compete for a spot in the top six even though he does not have a nose for the net. Dan Carcillo was brought in to continue the tradition that the Kings have by playing bruising forwards, although Carcillo is more of a goon than anything else.

Notable 2012-13 Team Stats:

  • 10th ranked Power-play and Penalty Kill
  • Third shots against/game: 25.0/game
  • Tied-fourth best face-off team: 52%

2013-14 Outlook: As silly as it sounds, as long as Quick is healthy, the Kings will be a threat to win the west. The Kings plays a consistent defensive game that leads to opportunistic offense. That being said, center Anze Kopitar, right winger Jeff Carter, rookie right winger Tyler Toffoli and more, must continue to find ways to make life easier for the defense. Give the offense credit though, the average goals scored per game jumped from 2.29 in 2011-12 to 2.73 in 2012-13. Once again, as long as Quick stays healthy and the power-forwards for the Kings aid in their ultimate goal of puck control, the Kings can make an extended playoff run.

Phoenix Coyotes

 Key Losses: G- Jason LaBarbera, C- Boyd Gordon

Key Additions: G- Thomas Greiss, LW- Brandon Yip, C- Mike Ribiero, C- Max Domi

Off-season: Phoenix’s ownership problems are a thing of the past thanks to the selling of the team this off-season. The benefit of this brings financial flexibility and a general sense of stability to the organization. Mike Ribiero was re-united with Head Coach Dave Tippet which will undoubtedly give the Coyotes an excellent veteran presence to anchor their first line.  Rookie first-round pick Max Domi should be a nice two-way center in a year or two.

2012-13 Notable Team Stats:

  • 25th ranked Power-play: 14.8%
  • Tied- fourth best face-off percentage: 52%
  • Won only 24 percent of games when trailing after the first period

2013-14 Outlook: Phoenix missed the playoffs in large part because of a lack of offense. Ribiero should help distribute the biscuit, but the sniper role is still open since Ribiero is mostly defensive-minded. Right wing Radim Vrbata is a streaky scorer but lacks consistency. Defensemen Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Keith Yandle may be the best defensive pairing no one talks about. Both log big minutes and can contribute on offense. Net-minder Mike Smith will need some help as the drop-off on the ‘D’ after Ekman-Larsson and Yandle can be quite pronounced most nights. Left wing Mikkel Boedker and center Martin Hanzal have to show some scoring touch, or else their leashes may be shortened. Do not be surprised if some of the young talent is traded at the deadline to stock up on more youth. Management has missed more than hit with their offensive draft picks in recent years.

San Jose Sharks

Key Losses: G- Thomas Greiss, LW- T.J. Galiardi, C- Tim Kennedy

Key Additions: RW- Tyler Kennedy

Off-season: Pretty much crickets. Tyler Kennedy will offer some scoring and defense to go with his speed.

2012-13 Notable Team Stats:

  • Sixth best defense: 2.33 goals against/game
  • 24th ranked offense: 2.42 goals/game
  • Sixth best Penalty kill: 85%

2013-14 Outlook: Center Logan Couture is locked in to a 5-year deal, meaning the offense will fall in line behind him. Wingers Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski will need to score in bunches to make up for the lack of scoring from proven players like right wing Martin Havlat. Pavelski was the best third line center in the NHL last year thanks to his scoring and rock-solid play in his own zone. For his efforts, he will likely be promoted to one of the top lines and play on the wing. The Sharks defense is young and good, and credit has to be given to the eldest defenseman Dan Boyle for mentoring the group while dipping into his own fountain of youth. Goalie Antti Niemi is in the conversation for best goal in the game. His 2.16 goals against average and 92.4 save percentage are enviable.

Vancouver Canucks

 Key Losses: G- Cory Schneider, D- Keith Ballard, C- Derek Roy, C- Andrew Ebbett, C- Maxim LaPierre

Key Additions: D- Yannick Weber, C- Brad Richardson

Off-season: Holy trade, Batman! Gone was perceived starting goalie Cory Schneider for a 2013 1st round pick that turned into center Bo Horvat. Horvat will forever be linked to the deal, but could be a great 3rd line center on a very good team in British Columbia.  Role players like Weber and Richardson will be expected to contribute on special teams.

Notable 2012-13 Team Stats:

  • Eighth ranked Penalty kill: 84%
  • 19th ranked offense: 2.54 goals/game
  • 25th ranked face-off percentage: 47.6%

2013-14 Outlook: New head coach John Tortorella will wake this team up, and it will be a rude one. His tough skin should keep everyone on their toes and keep Vancouver in the race for their first Stanley Cup in team history. But flame-out potential is high, as the players could rebel against a figure who is such a stark comparison to the former coach Alain Vigneault. In order to attain the former goal, center Ryan Kesler has to stay healthy and right wing Alexandre Burrows has to stay out of the penalty boxFellow winger Zack Kassian may never be the power forward he was billed as, but a 20-goal season could give his career a much-needed boost. Look for Tort’s coaching to boost the play of an already solid back line. The Rangers defenseman contributed often while under the tutelage of Tortorella.

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