These are my power rankings for the Pacific Division for the 2015-2016 season
7. Arizona Coyotes
The Coyotes made a big offseason move, by signing long-time Coyote Antoine Vermette (was traded to Chicago at the trade deadline.), but I don’t think that will impact the ‘Yotes too much. They did draft Dylan Strome at third overall in the 2015 NHL entry draft, but he will need some time to develop. They don’t have very much defense after trading away Keith Yandle to the New York Rangers. The Coyotes will be a great team in a few years, with Strome, Domi, and Duclair, but for now, I rank them #7 on my power rankings.
6. Edmonton Oilers
The Oilers look like a very good, young team, but I don’t think that will put them any higher than #6 in the rankings for now. Yes, they have Taylor Hall, Connor McDavid, Jordan Eberle, ect., but they need more time to develop, especially McDavid. They traded for G Cam Talbot, and acquired veteran D-Man Andrej Sekera, but other than that, they don’t have any good veterans on their team. In a few years I might rank them #1, but for now, they are #6 in my rankings.
5. Vancouver Canucks
Many of you could argue that the Oilers will be better than the ‘Nucks next year, but here’s why I disagree. The Canucks have some great young players, in Horvat, and some great veteran players in the Sedin twins. However, trading away Lack and Kassian doesn’t make them any better. Ryan Miller is getting old and isn’t playing like he used to, so I don’t see why trading away Lack would solve anything. Did I mention that they don’t really have a great bottom 6? So to summarize, they have average offense, average defense, and average goaltending. Average won’t get you a playoff spot. That is why I rank them #5 in my rankings.
4. San Jose Sharks
San Jose quite possibly made the worst move this offseason trading Antti Niemi for a 7th round draft pick, so that leaves them with Alex Stalock, and Martin Jones. They have a star in Couture, Hertl, and Pavelski, but Marleau and Thornton are getting old. They did pick up D-Man Paul Martin in free agency so that will help out their back end a lot, already having Burns and Vlasic. Even though Thornton and Marleau can still produce at elite rates, they won’t be able to keep up with the energy and speed of their young guns (except for maybe speedster Marleau). They have good offense, good defense, and bad goaltending. If Jones can step it up, I’d say that they San Jose Sharks have a chance at a playoff spot.
3. Los Angles Kings
Even though the Kings lost Jones, Williams, and Voynov, they got enforcer, and scorer, Milan Lucic. They have one of the best defenseman in the world in Drew Doughty, and great Slovenian scorer, Anze Kopitar. Not to mention one of the best goalies in the game, Jonathan Quick. They won’t have a great year, with their torn blue line, but will have a bounce back year after missing the playoffs last year. They won’t be amazing in maybe 5 years, due to no amazing prospects, like Connor McDavid, or Mitch Marner.
2. Calgary Flames
As we saw last year, the Calgary Flames went through a one year rebuild. They have stellar offense, led by Gaudreau, Monahan, and Hudler, and pretty good defense, led by Hamilton and Giordano. A weak spot in the Flames game is their goaltending. They have to get a solid starter in either Hiller or Ramo; they can’t just keep rotating them. The Flames offense will only get better, as they have a young start in Sam Bennett. For defense, they have a veteran leader in Giordano and Wideman, and a young gun in Hamilton. I have a feeling they will rank #10 in the league next year.
1. Anaheim Ducks
The Ducks have one of the best – if not, the best – 1-2 punch down the middle, with Getzlaf and Kesler. They have a solid scorer in Corey Perry. They are strong on defense with Lindholm and Fowler, and goaltending with Gibson and Andersen. They have one of the fastest players in the world, with Andrew Cogliano, and amazing depth from line one to line four. The Ducks also acquired Carl Hagelin, again, one of the fastest players in the world. Imagine Hagelin and Cogliano against a third line defenseman… they’d embarrass him!
That’s my power rankings for the Pacific Division.