Los Angeles Kings vs the NEW Pacific Division

los angeles kings trade rumors

A year after Los Angeles won their first Stanley Cup, the Kings were one series away from returning for a chance to repeat. The Chicago Blackhawks had other ideas as they ousted LA in five games in the Western Conference Finals. Unlike the 1993 Kings that went to the Stanley Cup Finals (and lost to Montreal), this team is not going wait nearly 20 years for another chance. This team is poised and ready to fight their way back to the top, all the while chanting, “WE WANT THE CUP…AGAIN!”

The road back to glory is not going to be an easy one, especially in the NEW Pacific Division. The Kings will be paired up with old rivals like Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, while maintaining more recent ones against Anaheim, Phoenix and San Jose. If the Kings want to get back to the cup, they will have to go through these six teams first. So let us explore this, shall we?

Anaheim Ducks
This battle is nothing to quack about. No matter where these teams are in the standings, you always get a fierce game between them. The only thing is, how do the Ducks look nothing like their great start of last season? An early exit from the playoffs at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings real put a damper on their post-season return and in this pre-season, it looks like their form has not returned.
Kings Predicted Record against: 3 wins – 2 losses

Calgary Flames
As much as they want to think they are not rebuilding, they are rebuilding. They do have fire though and this once proud hockey club is finally doing what it needs to get back to the top of the hockey world. Long-time Flame, Jerome Iginla, is no longer here and is, somewhere, back east. So what have the Flames going for them? The future.
Predicted Record: 5-0

Edmonton Oilers
The Oilers may have the same logo on their chest, but this is not the same as last year. Another Canadian team from yesteryear that wants to return to glory, but to do that, they have to get with the times. They have taken the appropriate steps as they have some pretty good guys on their top lines, but their defense is suspect, at best. Taylor Hall, Sam Gagner and Nail Yakupov are back to show the league what they have in store. They have definitely improved from last year, but still have a way to go.
Predicted Record: 4-1

Phoenix Coyotes
They fiiiiiiiiiiinally have owners, so solidarity can now be present from the front office to the coaching staff to the players and even down to the minors. What was a Conference Finals team two seasons ago, became a 10th place team and things look stable for the Coyotes. Phoenix still has some solidarity on the ice with captain Shane Doan and goalie Mike Smith, but they also picked up Mike Ribeiro from the Washington Capitals for $22 million. The new owners are not messing around. The confidence here will have them back to competing in the west in no time.
Predicted Record: 3-2

San Jose Sharks
Now this is the team that will battle the Kings for western supremacy. The Sharks look good. Period. They ran through the Vancouver Canucks and took the Kings to seven hard fought games, only to lose in the series decider. Patrick Marleau, Logan Couture and Brent Burns lead the lines that will smack around the west. They are a fierce bunch and will not be moved, except when it comes to taking the crown and the Kings have that secured atop their heads. When they face each other, both Kings and Sharks take their respective games at home.
Predicted Record: 2-3

Vancouver Canucks
I do not even think Vancouver knows what they are doing this year, but new head coach John Tortorella needs to figure it out in order to fight through this season. With JT as the new boss, fighting is probably something we will see a lot of from the fierce old New York Rangers leader. He will change the culture for the tougher, but is Van City ready for it? The Sedin twins will still lead this team with style, but a whole slew of problems face the Canucks, like some guy named Roberto Luongo, and not exiting the playoffs in the first round would help as well.
Predicted Record: 4-1

So, what we have here is a Kings team that will go 21-9 in division play. That is right, you heard it here first at Hockey Tracker!

And as a bonus, here is my predicted order of finish for the Pacific Division:

1. Los Angeles Kings*
2. San Jose Sharks*
3. Vancouver Canucks*
4. Anaheim Ducks*
5. Edmonton Oilers*
6. Phoenix Coyotes
7. Calgary Flames

*Playoff Berth

Enjoy the season folks!