2012 Free Agency: Pacific Division Winners & Losers

Mar 20, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) stops a shot by Phoenix Coyotes left wing Ray Whitney (13) during the overtime shootout at the American Airlines Center. The Stars defeated the Coyotes 4-3 in the overtime shootout. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

We're a month into free agency and while there are still a few free agents of note out there as well as a few trade dominoes that have yet to fall, it doesn't hurt to review what the rest of the Pacific Division has been up to so far this summer, much like our friends at On the Forecheck did yesterday with the Central, and what the implications might be for the Sharks' chances next season. After the jump, we'll take a look at key moves made by each of San Jose's four division rivals, what their current depth charts look like as a result and what we can expect out of them in the coming year.

Anaheim Ducks

Key Additions: Sheldon Souray (UFA, Dallas); Bryan Allen (UFA, Carolina); Daniel Winnik (UFA, San Jose); Brad Staubitz (UFA, Montreal)

Key Subtractions: Lubomir Visnovsky (Trade, Long Island); Jason Blake (UFA); George Parros (UFA, Florida); Sheldon Brookbank (UFA, Chicago)

Depth Chart:

Bobby Ryan - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Andrew Cogliano - Saku Koivu - Teemu Selanne
Daniel Winnik - Nick Bonino - Devante Smith-Pelly
Matt Beleskey - Peter Holland - Kyle Palmieri
Extras: Brandon McMillan, Dan Sexton, Brad Staubitz

Francois Beauchemin - Cam Fowler
Toni Lydman - Sheldon Souray
Bryan Allen - Luca Sbisa
Extras: Nate Guenin, Matt Smaby, Jordan Hendry

Jonas Hiller
Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers

Despite the fact that they finished 4th in the West in 2010-11, it was fairly easy to predict the Ducks would miss the playoffs going into last season. Only the Oilers and Wild were worse possession teams than Anaheim in 10-11 and the Ducks continued to struggle at keeping the play out of their own end at the start of last year, only this time the pendulum swung in the complete opposite direction as far as their shooting luck and the play of Hiller in goal went. Replacing Randy Carlyle with Bruce Boudreau helped immensely as the Ducks went from a 43.6% Fenwick Close team under Carlyle to a 49.5% team under Boudreau but a lack of forward depth continues to plague the team and has done so since Dustin Penner, Chris Kunitz and Andy McDonald left town and the Nothing Line was dismantled. That shouldn't be an issue for much longer with talented young forwards like Emerson Etem, Kyle Palmieri, Rickard Rakell and Peter Holland in the pipeline but it remains to be seen how many of them are capable of making the team out of training camp and what kind of impact they'll have. Bob Murray has received a lot of criticism this summer and while the 3-year, NMC-laden contract he gave 36-year-old Sheldon Souray rightfully raised eyebrows, Souray is coming off a very solid season in Dallas where he took on the toughs and won. Bryan Allen should also provide some value, especially if he plays with the youngster Sbisa who's been saddled with some awful defense partners during his career. Of course, the biggest story of the Ducks offseason is one that has yet to be written with Bobby Ryan likely to be traded at some point. Between retooling their defense, potentially shoring up the bottom six with an influx of young talent and having a full year of Boudreau behind the bench, the Ducks should be a bubble team competing for one of the final playoff spots in the West but I'd be surprised if they made the cut.

Dallas Stars

Key Additions: Ray Whitney (UFA, Phoenix); Jaromir Jagr (UFA, Philadelphia); Derek Roy (Trade, Buffalo); Cody Eakin (Trade, Washington); Aaron Rome (UFA, Vancouver); Tyler Sloan (UFA, Nashville)

Key Subtractions: Mike Ribeiro (Trade, Washington); Steve Ott (Trade, Buffalo); Adam Pardy (Trade, Buffalo); Jake Dowell (UFA, Minnesota); Adam Burish (UFA, San Jose)

Ray Whitney - Jamie Benn - Jaromir Jagr
Loui Eriksson - Derek Roy - Michael Ryder
Brenden Morrow - Cody Eakin - Tomas Vincour
Tom Wandell - Vernon Fiddler - Ryan Garbutt
Extras: Eric Nystrom, Toby Petersen, Reilly Smith

Alex Goligoski - Stephane Robidas
Aaron Rome - Philip Larsen
Mark Fistric - Trevor Daley
Extras: Brenden Dillon, Jordie Benn, Tyler Sloan

Kari Lehtonen
Richard Bachman


No team in the division has had a busier offseason than the Stars who have revamped their entire forward corps by signing AARP members Whitney and Jagr while flipping Ribeiro for Roy in separate deals. Josh Lile of Defending Big D, one of the best writers in the blogosphere, has discussed their moves extensively by examining both the blueprint for Dallas' miniature rebuild-on-the-fly and why trading Ribeiro, who was porous defensively and needed protection, was necessary. For a team that often dressed both Ott and Burish in their top six when injuries hit last season, forward depth should no longer be an issue as they now have the capability to roll four extremely solid lines. The biggest area of concern remaining on their roster is the blueline. The Stars will bring back a downgraded (via swapping Souray for Rome) version of a defense that gave up more 5v5 shots per 60 minutes last season in score-close situations than all but seven teams. Worse news for Dallas is that it's pretty slim pickings out there in terms of adding impact d-men but it's possible they could swing a deal with Calgary for Jay Bouwmeester. If Joe Nieuwendyk can pull that off without giving up anything of consequence, I think they're definitely a playoff team. Otherwise, they should at the very least remain in familiar territory as one of the better bubble teams in the conference.

Los Angeles Kings

Key Additions:
Stanley Cup

Key Subtractions:
N/A

Dustin Brown - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams
Dustin Penner - Mike Richards - Jeff Carter
Simon Gagne - Jarret Stoll - Trevor Lewis
Brad Richardson - Colin Fraser - Jordan Nolan
Extras: Dwight King, Kyle Clifford, Andrei Loktionov

Rob Scuderi - Drew Doughty
Willie Mitchell - Slava Voynov
Alec Martinez - Matt Greene
Extras: Davis Drewiske

Jonathan Quick
Jonathan Bernier


Apart from re-signing players like Stoll and Penner, Dean Lombardi hasn't touched his roster this offseason but why should he? After all, this is a team that outshot the final 13 teams they faced in the 2011-12 regular season by a combined total of 451-302, posted the best post-deadline score-adjusted Fenwick in the league and the fourth best for the year as a whole and, oh yeah, knocked out the 1st, 2nd and 3rd seeds in the West en route to winning the Stanley Cup. The Kings are the class of the division and very likely the class of the conference without changing a thing. After the trade deadline and into the playoffs, the 11-12 Kings were probably the most dominant team the NHL has seen since the 09-10 Blackhawks and, unlike those guys, L.A. will be keeping the band together.

Phoenix Coyotes

Key Additions:
Zbynek Michalek (Trade, Pittsburgh); Steve Sullivan (UFA, Pittsburgh); David Moss (UFA, Calgary); Nick Johnson (UFA, Minnesota)

Key Subtractions:
Ray Whitney (UFA, Dallas); Shane Doan (UFA); Adrian Aucoin (UFA, Columbus); Michal Rozsival (UFA); Taylor Pyatt (UFA, New York)

Steve Sullivan - Martin Hanzal - Radim Vrbata
Lauri Korpikoski - Antoine Vermette - David Moss
Raffi Torres - Boyd Gordon - Mikkel Boedker
Paul Bissonnette - Kyle Chipchura - Nick Johnson
Extras: Alexander Bolduc, Andy Miele, Rob Klinkhammer

Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Zbynek Michalek
Keith Yandle - Rostislav Klesla
David Schlemko - Derek Morris
Extras: Michael Stone, Chris Summers, David Rundblad

Mike Smith
Jason Labarbera


Against the backdrop of continued ownership instability (so what else is new?) Phoenix GM Don Maloney, who might be the smartest general manager in hockey, has had himself a terrific under-the-radar summer. Re-acquiring Michalek for essentially nothing was one of the best trades anyone made this offseason and should cement the Coyotes defense corps as one of the best in the conference as well as help the phenomenal Oliver Ekman-Larsson in his continued development into a Norris-caliber stud. I wrote about Moss previously as a potential free agent target for the Sharks and the big winger should help the Coyotes' possession game which has steadily declined over the past two seasons. Sullivan will be a boon for the woeful Phoenix power play that had serious issues gaining the blueline all season long and finished dead last in the league in shots on goal per 60 minutes. Only 11 forwards in the league were on the ice for more 5v4 shots per 60 minutes than Sullivan last season and if you think that was mostly a product of sharing the ice with Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, it's worth noting Sullivan ranked 35th in that category playing for Nashville the season before. Are Maloney's moves enough to compensate for the loss of Whitney, potential loss of Doan and the extreme likelihood Mike Smith's sparkling SV% will regress? It's difficult to say. I find it hard to believe Phoenix will win another division championship but with the final two spots in the conference pretty much up for grabs, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Coyotes make the dance for the fourth consecutive season.

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