Free Agency Preview: The "New Pacific" Division by @ToonsBrian


July 1st marks the beginning of NHL Free Agency and is akin to a national holiday for followers of hockey. Throughout the week, my Toons/ToonSports cohost, @ToonsJack, and I will be looking at each team from all four of the NHL's new divisions and providing a brief snippet of what to expect from those teams. 

Click the links below (as they become active) to jump to each specific division:
     The New Pacific Division
     The New Central Division
     The New Atlantic Division


Anaheim Ducks

2013 Record: 
          30-12-6, 66 pts

          Pacific Division Champions

          2nd Seed Western Conference

2013 Team Leaders

          Goals: Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry (15)

          Assists: Ryan Getzlaf (34)

          Points: Ryan Getzlaf (49)

          Wins: Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth (15)



2014 Salary Cap Space (Projected): $8,590,833

2013 Roster Free Agents:

                Unrestricted: F Teemu Selanne ($4.5M), F Saku Koivu ($3.8M), F Matthew Lombardi ($3.5M), D Trevor Lyman ($3.5M), F Dave Steckel ($1.1M), F Radek Dvorak ($675K), D Matt Smaby ($650K), D Jordan Hendry ($600K), F Kyle Wilson ($550), F Troy Bodie ($550K),

                Restricted: F Kyle Palmieri ($1.03M), F Matt Beleskey ($737K)


2013 Draft Positions:
                Round 1 – 26th
                Round 2 – 45th (Traded Lubomir Visnovsky to Islanders for pick)
                Round 3 – 87th
                Round 4 – None (Traded conditional pick to Toronto for Francois Beauchemin)
                Round 5 – 147th
                Round 6 – 177th
                Round ­7 – None (Traded conditional pick to Avs for Kyle Cumiskey)

The Anaheim Ducks had, by all accounts, a successful season. Finishing 2nd in the Western Conference was a mere footnote as team leaders Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry were both locked up to long term deals, ensuring that they will remain the backbone of this team for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, Ducks GM Bob Murray has some tough decisions ahead as much of his veteran leadership stares free agency in the face. Look for the Ducks to possibly move either Jonas Hiller or Viktor Fasth to free up some cap space. We hear Minnesota is looking for some help in net.

Calgary Flames

2013 Record: 
          19-25-4, 42 pts

          4th Place Northwest Division

          Did Not Qualify for Playoffs

2013 Team Leaders

          Goals: Curtis Glenncross (15)

          Assists: Lee Stempniak (23)

          Points: Lee Stempniak and Mike Cammalleri (32)

          Wins: Miikka Kiprusoff and Joey MacDonald (8)



2014 Salary Cap Space (Projected): $19,171,667

2013 Roster Free Agents:

                Unrestricted: D Anton Babchuk ($2.5M), F Brian McGrattan ($600K), D Brett Carson ($575K), F Steve Begin ($525K)

                Restricted: D Chris Butler ($1.25M), D T.J. Brodie ($741K), F Mikael Backlund ($725), D Mark Cundari ($538K)


2013 Draft Positions:
                Round 1 – 6th, 22nd (Traded Jay Bouwmeester to the Blues for conditional pick), 28th (Traded Jarome Iginla to Pittsburgh for pick)
                Round 2 – None (Traded pick to Montreal for multiple players and a pick in 2012)
                Round 3 – 67th
                Round 4 – None (Traded pick to Florida for Corban Knight)
                Round 5 – 135th (Traded Blake Comeau to Columbus for pick)
                Round 6 – 157th
                Round ­7 – 187th, 211th (Traded Henrik Karlsson to Chicago for pick)

The Calgary Flames found themselves on the wrong end of one of the biggest regular season stories as they traded longtime captain Jarome Iginla to the Penguins. Prior to that trade, the Flames sent All-Star defenseman Jay Bouwmeester to the St. Louis Blues. The upside to those transactions will be that they have three first round picks and very little to lose at free agency this year. The big question for the team will be how much of that 19-plus million dollars of cap space will they be willing to spend. The team needs offense and defense and the city itself could use some sweet success as they recover from the flooding that they’re currently battling.



Edmonton Oilers

2013 Record:  
          19-22-7, 45 pts

          3rd Place Northwest Division

          Did Not Qualify for Playoffs

2013 Team Leaders

          Goals: Nail Yakupov (Rookie, 17)

          Assists: Taylor Hall (34)

          Points: Taylor Hall (50)

          Wins: Devan Dubnyk (14)



2014 Salary Cap Space (Projected): $14,935,833

2013 Roster Free Agents:

                Unrestricted: D Ryan Whitney ($4.0M), G Nikolai Khabibulin ($3.75M), F Ryan Jones ($1.5M), D Mark Fistric ($1.48M), F Lennart Petrell ($825K), F Jerred Smithson ($800K)

                Restricted: F Sam Gagner ($3.2M), F Magnus Paajarvi ($1.53M), D Theo Peckham ($1.08M)


 2013 Draft Positions:
                Round 1– 7th
                Round 2 – 37th, 56th (Traded Andrew Cogliano to Ducks for pick)
                Round 3 – None (Traded pick to Dallas for Mark Fistric)
                Round 4 – None (Traded pick to Florida for Jerred Smithson)
                Round 5 – 128th
                Round 6 – 158th
                Round ­7 – 188th

The Edmonton Oilers look to be an exciting team in the near future as budding stars Taylor Hall and sniper Nail Yakupov begin to come into their own. As this young offense grows, the team will probably look to acquire a veteran forward to offer guidance. And that’s if they re-sign Sam Gagner, the team’s second leading scorer. At the same time, the team needs to focus on defense in a bad way. Their special teams both offensively and defensively was top 10 in the league, but the inconsistent defense let some games get away that just shouldn’t have.



Los Angeles Kings

2013 Record: 
          27-16-5, 66 pts

          2nd Place Pacific Division

          5th Seed Western Conference

2013 Team Leaders

          Goals: Jeff Carter (26)

          Assists: Anze Kopitar (32)

          Points: Anze Kopitar (42)

          Wins: Jonathan Quick (18)



2014 Salary Cap Space (Projected): $7,675,606

2013 Roster Free Agents:

                Unrestricted: D Rob Scuderi ($3.4M), F Dustin Penner ($3.25M), F Brad Richardson ($1.18M)

                Restricted: G Jonathan Bernier ($1.25M), F Kyle Clifford ($870K), D Alec Martinez ($737K), F Trevor Lewis ($725K), D Keaton Ellerby ($700K), D Jake Muzzin ($577K), F Jordan Nolan ($532K)

2013 Draft Positions:
                Round 1 – None (Traded pick to Columbus for Jeff Carter)

                Round 257th

                Round 3 88th

                Round 4 96th (Traded Kevin Westgarth to Carolina for pick), 103rd (Traded Simon Gagne to Philadelphia for pick), 118th

                Round 5 146th (Traded Davis Drewiske to Montreal for pick), 148th

                Round 6 – 178th

                Round ­7 – 191st (Traded 2012 pick to Dallas for pick), 208th



It looks as though one of the few things that will be able to slow the Kings down for the next couple of years will be this year’s salary cap. With Scuderi and Penner looking to make at least $3 million each this season, the $7M of clearance the team from LA has doesn’t look like such a great thing right about now. So what do you do if you’re the team that has everything? At this point, I would expect the Kings to salvage what they can by making some deals (possibly involving Jonathan Bernier) to replace Scuderi while keeping Dustin Penner in that lineup.

Update: On Sunday morning, the LA Kings sent Jonathan Bernier to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Forward Matt Frattin, Goaltender Ben Scrivens and a pick (either the Leafs' 2014 or 2015 2nd round pick, Leafs' choice). Both players are under contract through the 2014 Free Agency period, Frattin an RFA and Scrivens a UFA.




Phoenix Coyotes

2013 Record: 
          21-18-9, 51 pts

          4th Place Pacific Division

          Did Not Qualify for Playoffs

2013 Team Leaders

          Goals: Shane Doan (13)

          Assists: Oliver Ekman-Larsson (21)

          Points: Keith Yandle (30)

          Wins: Mike Smith (15)



2014 Salary Cap Space (Projected): $24,025,000

2013 Roster Free Agents:

                Unrestricted: G Mike Smith ($2.0M), F Boyd Gordon ($1.33M), G Jason Labarbera ($1.25M), F Kyle Chipchura ($675K), F Alexandre Bolduc ($650K), F Chris Connor ($650K)

                Restricted: F Lauri Korpikoski ($1.8M), F Mikkel Boedker ($1.1M), D Michael Stone ($845K)

2013 Draft Positions:
                Round 1 – 12th
                Round 2 – 42nd
                Round 3 – 62nd (Traded Raffi Torres to Sharks for pick), 73rd
                Round 4 – None (Traded pick to Columbus for Antoine Vermette)
                Round 5 – 133rd
                Round 6 – 163rd
                Round ­7 – 193rd

Phoenix has a funny team. Any conversation in the offseason concerning the Coyotes usually centers around what city should they move to and this offseason is no exception. Despite all of the off-the-ice drama surrounding the team, they consistently put up a decent performance for the money they spend. Last year, Shane Doan was the focal point of the Coyotes free agency tightrope. This year, goaltender Mike Smith could walk away. Doan stayed. Will Smith? In a worst case scenario for the Coyotes, he walks and they find yet another way to remain the pesky team nobody in the West wants a part of.




San Jose Sharks

2013 Record: 
          25-16-7, 57 pts

          3rd Place Pacific Division

          6th Seed Western Conference

2013 Team Leaders

          Goals: Logan Couture (21)

          Assists: Joe Thornton (33)

          Points: Joe Thornton (40)

          Wins: Antti Niemi (24)



2014 Salary Cap Space (Projected): $6,648,333

2013 Roster Free Agents:

                Unrestricted: D Scott Hannan ($1.0M), F Scott Gomez ($700K), F Tim Kennedy ($675K), G Thomas Greiss ($588K)

                Restricted: D Jason Demers ($1.25M), F T.J. Galiardi ($950K), F James Sheppard ($825K), F Andrew Desjardins ($640K)


2013 Draft Positions
                Round 1 – 20th
                Round 2 – 49th (Traded Ryan Clowe to the Rangers for pick), 50th, 58th (Traded Douglas Murray to Pittsburgh for pick)
                Round 3 – None (Traded pick to Minnesota for James Sheppard)
                Round 4 – 111th (Traded Michael Handzus to Chicago for pick)
                Round 5 – 141st
                Round 6 – None (Traded pick to Nashville for Scott Hannan)
                Round ­7 – 201st, 207th (Traded 3 players to Colorado for pick)

Failure. No word better describes San Jose’s playoff history than failure. For the last 9 seasons, the Sharks have clawed their way into the playoffs. 16 of their 21 seasons in existence, they have done just that, a feat in the modern era paling only in comparison to the hated Red Wings. This free agency, they’re not looking at any potentially huge losses and with a little over $6 million to play with and Raffi Torres already re-signed, expect this team to go after a player that excels at both ends of the ice. More importantly, they’ll look to acquire a free agent that’s had that success in the playoffs. Expect them to make a move for a player like Pascal Dupuis. A lot like Dupuis.




Vancouver Canucks

2013 Record:  
          26-15-7, 59 pts

          Northwest Division Champions

          3rd Seed Western Conference

2013 Team Leaders

          Goals: Alexandre Burrows (13)

          Assists: Henrik Sedin (34)

          Points: Henrik Sedin (45)

          Wins: Corey Schneider (17)



2014 Salary Cap Space (Projected): $47,222

2013 Roster Free Agents

                Unrestricted: F Derek Roy ($4M), F Manny Malhotra ($2.5M), F Mason Raymond ($2.275M), D Andrew Alberts ($1.225M), F Maxim Lapierre ($1M), D Cam Barker ($700K), F Steve Pinizzotto ($600K)

                Restricted: D Chris Tanev ($900K), D Derek Joslin ($700K), F Dale Weiss ($615K)


2013 Draft Positions:

                Round 1 – 24th

                Round 2 – None (Traded to Dallas for F Derek Roy)

                Round 3 – 85th

                Round 4 – 115th

                Round 5 – 145th

                Round 6 – 175th

                Round ­7 – 205th



The Vancouver Canucks have several questions that must be answered before their 2014 campaign begins. They are looking for a new coach (John Tortorella looks to be the man, but nothing is official as of this writing). They have limited cap space. Their regular season success has them sitting in the bottom third of the draft order.  Then there’s Roberto Luongo. Many teams are in need of a goaltending fix that the former Canucks’ captain could attend to. And, of course, shedding his $5.3M cap hit would also allow the Orcas a little more freedom to retain the services of a pretty solid unrestricted free agent class.

               
All cap information, including projected amounts for players, are taken from capgeek.com.
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About Brian Blystone

Now living in Youngstown, OH. Podcasting/Writing from ToonsStudios East for PensInitiative.com, 1-Up.club and whoever else wants to listen. Mistakenly left in charge of visual/web design for PI and owning/operating The 1-Up Club video game site.
Spends free time playing video games, watching hockey, playing hacky sack with son while daughter is warming up for whatever activity she's doing next and wondering how he got such a hot wife.
Some mysteries are meant to remain unsolved.
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