7th: Calgary Flames
The Flames are starting over in their first full season without their former captain, Jarome Iginla, and their former goal, Miikka Kiprusoff. There’s just not a lot going on here and Calgary is in full rebuilding mode.
6th: Edmonton Oilers
There actually are a few nice things going on to Calgary’s north. They’ve got a new coach in Dallas Eakins and a new general manager (and a familiar face) in Craig MacTavish who are changing the tone, and there are a few talented young players. Problem is, Edmonton is starting the season without the best one, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. They’re also now short Sam Gagner. Otherwise, the Oilers don’t have the horses at this time to contend in this division.
5th: Phoenix Coyotes
The pre-lockout Coyotes made a nice stand in the playoffs, while the post-lockout Coyotes did not. It looks like this year, Phoenix will start getting back to being decent, especially given a few of the free agency moves they’ve made, but it’s hard to figure right now how far up the ladder they will move.
4th: Vancouver Canucks
The Canucks have lately had little trouble with regular seasons — it was what happened thereafter that defined their franchise under Alain Vigneault. Now, the Rangers and Canucks have swapped coaches and John Tortorella is in Vancouver. The Canucks have the talent to contend, and if they intend to, it will be up to Roberto Luongo to hold up his end of the bargain as the primary goalie in Vancouver once more.
View the NHL Pacific Division’s top three on the next page
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