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Examining the Pacific Division: Part 2 - The Desert

Key arrivals and departures for teams in the Pacific Division

Arizona Coyotes v Vegas Golden Knights Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The 2018-19 NHL season is starting to creep up as teams have wrapped up most of their offseason work, with the focus now shifting to training camp in September.

How have the Flames’ rivals in the Pacific Division changed since we last saw them take the ice? We’ll look at the additions and subtractions by each team as well as what their outlook looks like for 2018-19. Click Here to read Part 1 featuring the California teams.

Now we have the Desert teams.

Arizona Coyotes (8th in Pacific, 29-41-12, 70 pts, Missed Playoffs)

Vancouver Canucks v Arizona Coyotes Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Additions: Alex Galchenyuk (Trade), Michael Grabner (FA), Vinnie Hinostroza (Trade), Jordan Oesterle (Trade)

Departures: Jordan Martinook (Trade), Max Domi (Trade), Luke Schenn (FA)

Well game over, the Coyotes now have Marian Hossa, Pavel Datsyuk, and Chris Pronger. Wait what, it’s not 2008? Never mind.

The Coyotes got off to a horrendous start last season that virtually sunk any chance they had of being in playoff contention. In the first 20 games of the season, the Coyotes were an ugly 2-15-3 and everything was terrible.

The Coyotes ended up being a pretty decent team the rest of the year, including going 20-14-7 in the second half of the season, but the damage was done. Arizona also had no luck at the draft lottery, moving down from 3rd to 5th with Carolina and Montreal jumping up. They ended up using that pick on C Barrett Hayton.

One thing the Coyotes did have going for them last year was outstanding goaltending from Antti Raanta who had a 21-17-6 record and a .930 SV% which was the highest in the league among starting goalies. Arizona immediately locked up this offseason for a 3 year deal at $4.25M AAV which has the potential to be a steal for them.

Arizona also gave stud defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson an eight year extension at a very reasonable $8.25M.

As a whole the Coyotes are looking a lot better, can they continue their hot end to last season and find their way into playoff contention?

Poll

Will the Arizona Coyotes be in playoff contention next year?

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    Yes
    (126 votes)
  • 64%
    No
    (228 votes)
354 votes total Vote Now

Vegas Golden Knights (1st in Pacific, 51-24-7, 109 pts, Lost in SCF to WSH)

Vegas Golden Knights v Winnipeg Jets - Game Five Photo by Jason Halstead/Getty Images

Additions: Paul Statsny (FA), Nick Holden (FA), Daniel Carr (FA)

Departures: Luca Sbisa (FA), James Neal (FA), David Perron (FA), Jason Garrison (FA), Clayton Stoner (FA)

Okay, you guys had your fun. Are you ready to join the rest of the league in a sea of mediocrity which drives your fans insane for years to come?

Whether you’re a believer that Vegas got “gifted” a good team last year or you think they made a miraculous run, the Knights may have fallen somewhat back to reality during their first full offseason. They lost three key pieces of their team from last year in Luca Sbisa, James Neal. and David Perron.

They also ended up re-signing players like Ryan Reaves and Marc-Andre Fleury to contracts that seem to have been inflated by the playoff run. Just a reminder that Fleury will be 34 when his 3 year deal with a $7M AAV kicks in. Hey at least the Knights managed to keep Calgary from signing Reaves. They also signed William Karlssson to a 1yr/$5.25M deal which is reasonable and will make him prove it this year.

Was Vegas simply just lightning in a bottle last year? If that’s the case they could be in for a very rude awakening this year with a D core that looks suspect at best. However, if Vegas does struggle early they have the cap space and 7 picks in the first two rounds of the next two drafts to make moves with. Erik Karlsson??

Personally I wouldn’t be shocked to see Vegas come crashing down in 2018-19, but they’ve silenced everyone’s doubts before, why stop now?

Poll

Where will Vegas end up in the Pacific Division?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    1st
    (18 votes)
  • 32%
    2nd-3rd
    (132 votes)
  • 52%
    4th-5th
    (211 votes)
  • 10%
    6th-8th
    (42 votes)
403 votes total Vote Now