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The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

NHL Season Preview: Pacific

NHL Season Preview: Pacific

Photo courtesy of .sanden. via flickr

This division is categorized by two storylines: The Anaheim Ducks’ might, and Connor McDavid. Anaheim is arguably the best team in the league on paper; both offensively and defensively, they have it all. The Edmonton Oilers breakdown is: Connor McDavid, Connor McDavid and more Connor McDavid. The Vancouver Canucks are a solid team, but they have shown cracks of decline from the Stanley Cup team from 2012 (Boston fans rejoice). The Calgary Flames are a young team that is only going to get better and contend for the playoffs very soon. The Los Angeles Kings are another team on the decline. Players have been arrested for using drugs (including Jarret Stoll), and Jonathan Quick just isn’t as good as he once was. The San Jose Sharks are getting older, plus they always choke in the playoffs. Arizona (Formerly Phoenix) Coyotes should have landed one of the prospects of the generation (Jack Eichel or McDavid), but they got shafted and didn’t end up with either of them. Plus they are fighting a re-location battle, which they might (probably) lose.

  1. Anaheim Ducks

They had Chicago on the ropes last year, let them hang around, and lost. That’s been the theme with this team for the last two years: they can’t finish. The GM brought in a number of players (most notably Kevin Bieksa and Carl Hagelin) to change the culture and to continue destroying weaker teams associated with this division. The Ducks are loaded all around, and if they can just get consistent postseason production from their goalies, they will be the team to beat for the Cup.

  1. Calgary Flames

Led by a young defensive core, the Flames were the surprise team to sneak into the playoffs in the Western Conference. Plus, they beat archrival Vancouver in the playoffs. They brought in Dougie Hamilton for draft picks, and on paper it seems as if this team is making the right moves to improve. If they can repeat the success they had last year, then they could be a spoiler come playoff time.

  1. Los Angeles Kings

The darlings of the NHL are not so anymore. Having three players arrested in one off-season will do that to you (Stoll takes the crown for stupidity here). Jonathan Quick needs to show the greatness he had when they won the Cup, while Drew Doughty, Marian Gaborik, and Anze Kopitar are entering years where they will be looked upon to solidify this team in every aspect of the game (especially off the ice).

  1. San Jose Sharks

The biggest acquisitions for this team might not even be on the ice. Instead, the hype surrounding this team is that they have an entirely new coaching staff, led by Peter DeBoer. Goalie Martin Jones is the biggest on-ice acquisition. Joe Thornton is still kicking around, while Joe Pavelski is emerging as a leader offensively and defensively. This team might be able to sneak into the playoffs or they might end up being the worst team in the league.

  1. Vancouver Canucks

This is a team that is falling from glory, and fast. Their veterans are slowing down, and the youngsters they have are not quite NHL ready. This season could be a struggle for Ryan Miller, and the Sedin twin sisters (Bruins 2012 represent). The Canucks will have a bright future if they fully commit to a rebuild, but overall, there are more teams that are getting better right now.

  1. Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers landed the “next great one” in Connor McDavid. Look him up — he’s a human highlight reel every night. He has the all the potential, and has all the hype on his shoulders. He’s carrying the pressure of avoiding a bust like the last three Edmonton picks (They haven’t been “busts” per say, they just simply underperform in every game). Can McDavid pull this team out of the basement of the NHL? Only time will tell.

  1. Arizona Coyotes

The future in Arizona is bright with young guns coming up and a new energy that is being brought to the team. Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson is developing nicely for this team that was terrible last year. They added a bunch of new guys in an effort to get better (they can’t be worse). The energy is centered on the futures of 3rd-overall pick Dylan Strome, Henrik Samuelsson, Brendan Perlini, and Max Domi. The future might be good, but currently the outlook isn’t as positive. Plus they might move out of Arizona, because why is there hockey in Arizona in the first place?

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NHL Season Preview: Pacific