The west is a very intruiging mix this year. Because of how few teams there are in the west, the races will be very, very tight after the number two slot in each division.
The Pacific Division:
The Phoenix Coyotes:
Good news is there is no more ownership drama. The better news is the roster was filled out a little bit more with the addition of the fiesty Mike Ribiero and at least currently with David Rundblad on the backline.
Bad news is they are an above average roster on paper in a division with several teams who are on paper better.
Good news: Depth was added to the forward group over the summer, last years home grown young players are more developed as well.
Bad news: With the exile of Bobby Ryan, this team that was for so long Getzaf, Ryan, Perry, up front will have to recreate their on ice identity.
San Jose Sharks:
Good News: The teams core group is still intact.
Bad news: With the exception of Logan Couture and Marc-Edouard Vlasic, this group is aging rapidly, and prone to breaking down in the playoffs.
Los Angeles Kings:
Good News: The roster is changed very little since they won the cup. Tyler Toffoli is in, Dustin Penner is gone.
Bad News: They are bad news for their opponents.
Good news: No more “1a and 1b starters”, better depth at center.
Bad news: A backup that no one can name or recognize who hasn’t proven he’s NHL ready
Good news: The defense has finally been upgraded. Finally.
Bad news: They still need to learn how to play defense as a team.
Good news: Leadership finally acknowledged they need to rebuild.
Bad news: The job they are doing with that rebuild is still iffy.
Top three teams:
Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks.
If the Ducks can get solid performences from the guys after Getzlaf, Perry and Selanne, like Kyle Palmeri and Matthieu Perreault upfront, and on the backend Cam Fowler and Hampus Lindholm the division is there to be taken. If they can’t the Kings will grab it.