The Golden Knights are back at home in the Pacific Division where they have dominated the competition over the past four seasons. A lot has changed since 2019 though. The NHL’s newest team, the Seattle Kraken, are now in the Pacific, Arizona has left for the Central, the Canadian teams all look much different now, and the trio of California teams each ready to see if their rebuilds can start taking shape.
Everyone here already knows all about the Golden Knights and the Kraken are a complete wild card heading into this year, so let’s take a look at the key additions and subtractions from each of the other six teams in the Pacific.
Add: Greg Pateryn, Danny O’Regan
Subtract: Haydn Fleury, Danton Heinen, Andy Welinski
For a team that is supposed to be in the middle of a rebuild, this was a shockingly boring offseason for the Ducks. They still have a bevy of prospects that could break through at any moment, but looking at what we saw last year coupled with the mild offseason, Anaheim is probably the worst team not only in the Pacific but in the entire NHL.
Add: Blake Coleman, Nikita Zadorov, Tyler Pitlick, Trevor Lewis, Andy Welinski
Subtract: Mark Giordano, Josh Leivo, Derek Ryan, Dominik Simon
Losing Giordano hurts, a lot, but they did well to bring in usable players to replace what went out this offseason. Coleman will likely be an excellent option to play somewhere in their strong top-six and it will allow for a bit more depth through what has been a fairly weak 12-man forward group the last few years. One of these times Zadorov is going to find the right fit and become the player most believe he can become, and this certainly might be it. The rest of it is somewhat of a depth reshuffle which is always good for a team that struggled the year before. Calgary likely won’t challenge Vegas atop the division, but they could be a sneaky tough team and they are always a pain in the butt to play against.
Add: Zach Hyman, Derek Ryan, Warren Foegele, Duncan Keith, Cody Ceci
Subtract: Adam Larsson, Ethan Bear, Dimitry Kulikov, Jujhar Kharia, Caleb Jones
What a weird offseason Ken Holland had with the Oilers. Adding Hyman, Ryan, and Foegele will definitely make them better but losing Bear, Larsson, and Jones and replacing them with Keith and Ceci is befuddling. Their forward group will still strike fear in any opponent and they got stellar goaltending a year ago. In theory, this should be the Golden Knights’ biggest threat to the Pacific Division crown. In reality, this is a team that could easily finish anywhere from 1st to 6th.
Los Angeles Kings
Add: Viktor Ardivsson, Phillip Danault, Alex Edler
Subtract: Matt Luff, Kurtis MacDermid
Of all teams across the entire NHL, the Kings had the best offseason for me. All three additions listed here are brilliant for LA and if they get significant contributions out of a few of their very deep prospect pool, they could vault into the playoff picture easily.
San Jose Sharks
Add: Nick Bonino, Andrew Cogliano, Adin Hill, James Reimer
Subtract: Martin Jones, Patrick Marleau, Ryan Donato
The focus this offseason for San Jose was clearly between the pipes, and it’s pretty clear they improved in that area. The problem is their issues went so much deeper than that last season and as much as you can love Bonino and Cogliano, they aren’t fixing what was missing from San Jose in 2021. Competent goaltending likely puts them above Anaheim, but it’s still close. This team truly is still terrible.
Add: Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Conor Garland, Jason Dickinson, Philip di Giuseppe, Luke Schenn, Tucker Poolman, Jaroslav Halak, Brad Hunt
Subtract: Alex Edler, Nate Schmidt, Braden Holtby, Antoine Roussel, Loui Eriksson, Jay Beagle, Jalen Chatfield
What an overhaul the Canucks went through in the last few months. Looking at it as a whole it appears they improved quite a bit too. My love for Conor Garland is well documented so of course I love that move, but beyond that Ekman-Larsson could be a game-changer for them. The subtractions look much more significant in name than they do in performance (at least in Canuck jerseys). The depth adds are good too. If you had to pin me down to one team that scares me the most from a VGK perspective, it’s Vancouver.