As always the Cup is making it’s way around the world, who wouldn’t want to spend a summer the way Lord Stanley does? This past weekend the Cup made it’s first trip to Jesenice, Slovenia with Kings Captain Anze Kopitar.
The Kings can continue to enjoy their summer worry free of losing any of their star players since they signed all of their free agents. Instead of going after the big fish, they took care of the guys that brought LA it’s first Stanley Cup.
So here is a brief update on what is happening with the other teams in the Pacific Division.
The San Jose Sharks – Were the #7 Seed in the West, and lost to the St. Louis Blues in the 1st Round.
On July 1st they lost free agent Torrey Mitchell to Minnesota (It seems everyone is losing their best free agents to Minnesota). The Sharks have multiple unsigned free agents most of whom will not return to San Jose next year. After a pretty pathetic run in the Playoffs this year, it doesn’t look that they are going to make a better showing this coming season. The big question on everyone’s mind is what are the Sharks going to do about it? They have yet to make a splash in the off season, something that might do it would be trading veteran Patrick Marleau. This could be a possibility, we will see.
The Dallas Stars – A disappointing end of the season saw the Stars barely miss the Playoffs.
The Stars have made a couple of interesting moves, the 1st of which was signing Ray Whitney, after a great run in the playoffs with the Phoenix Coyotes it was an interesting move to leave. The 2nd was signing Jaromir Jagr to a 4.55 Million, 1 year deal at the age of 40 he is first in goals, assists and points among active. Not a terrible veteran to add to your roster. The Stars also traded Steve Ott to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for Derek Roy. They also added Defensemen Aaron Rome from the Vancouver Canucks as well.
Right now the Stars are making a lot of interesting changes adding a lot of veteran leadership to their line-up. Clearly someone doesn’t want the Stars to make the same mistakes as last year.
The Anaheim Ducks – Finished last in the Pacific and were out of the playoff race before it even started.
Right now it doesn’t look like the Ducks are going to be any better off next season. They are most likely going to lose Bobby Ryan, who made some not very encouraging comments during the Draft. They have acquired veteran (D) Sheldon Souray from Dallas, (RW) Brad Staubitz from Montreal, and (D) Bryan Allen from Carolina. Despite adding these talented defensemen, it just doesn’t seem like enough to pull them from the depths of the Pacific Division.
The Phoenix Coyotes – Were the #3 Seed in the West, and lost to the Kings in the Division Championship.
The big question for the Coyotes right now is Shane Doan, will he sign or will he leave? Doan is starting to look at his options and I think it is highly possible that he might not finish his career in Phoenix. In the mean time the Coyotes resigned Kyle Chipchura and acquired Steve Sullivan from Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, Ray Whitney signed with Dallas, so they lose a big part of the leadership of their team.
If Doan decides to leave Phoenix even with the great goaltending of Mike Smith the Coyotes will be in a bit of trouble.
I love saying it but right now it looks like the Kings are the clear front runner in the Pacific Division!