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Sunday, September 24, 2006

Pacific Division Analysis

Dallas: They get ride of Guerin (which is a very good news) and lost Kapanen. Kapanen is the key here and I'm not sure that they will be able to replace his presence. They add a couple of players like Patrick Stefan (who was deceiving with Atlanta) and Jaroslav Modry, but nothing spectacular there. The resigning of Brendan Morrow is an excellent news for the fans. Their goaltending is solid and you can expect Dallas to contend for the #1 spot of the division.

San Jose: They made their biggest move, last year, acquiring Joe Thornton from Boston. From there, Jonathan Cheechoo become a dangerous sniper and JT made players around him better, which is funny, since he was never able to do so in Boston (expect for Glen Murray). They lost Brad Stuart in the JT trade and let go Tom Pressing in the Mark Bell deal. The net is in good hands but everybody knows that your goaltending is good as your defense. San Jose will be an offensive threat with a good PP unit. The 100$ question: Do this fire power cover for their defensive mistakes?

Anaheim: The Ducks will have the best one-two punch in the league at the blue line with Pronger and Niedermayer. Last year, they had a good surprise with Selanne but the offense could be their biggest problem. They have two very good goaltenders but the controversy between the two keepers could affect the team and destroy the lockeroom atmosphere. With his huge contract, Giguere will be tough to move but, because goaltending could be an issue for a couples of teams, Burke will be able to find a suitor for him. Still, the Ducks will compete but they are like the Thrashers; you never know what kind of team will show up in a particular night.

Los Angeles: The Kings will be the same team as last year and they will have to find an answer for their tremedous collapse of last year. Maybe the answer will come with the arrival of Dean Lombardi who will replace Dave Taylor, who took all the blame for the team's collapse. The addition of Dan Cloutier may suggest that the front office was not satisfied with the goaltending situation but Cloutier never reached the expectations Vancouver had for him. I don't expect Cloutier to be a factor for the Kings this year. They added veterans like Scott Thornton and Rob Blake, who will help them on the PP, but Blake is on the verge of retirement so his impact will be limited.

Phoenix: The addition of Ed Jovanovski and Nick Boynton should help them a lot on the defensive side but their goaltending is a huge question mark. Curtis Joseph did well last year, but the teams around the league made their adjustments to the new rules and the game will become quicker and quicker. I don't expect Cujo to have the same season as last year. I don't think that David Le Neveu or Phillipe Sauve can take the slak here. In this very competitive division, having premium goaltending will be the key. Phoenix gave big contract to Jovanovski and Boynton and it remains to be seen if the team will be able to land an impact goaltender if something goes wrong with Cujo.

1- Dallas
2- San Jose
3- Anaheim
4- Los Angeles
5- Phoenix


Blogger Matt said...

STRONGLY Disagree Latrappe.

How is Dallas first? SJ and Anaheim are a lot better IMO, and I think you are underrating Phoenix.

Mine predictions go as this.

San Jose
Los Angeles

8:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about

San Jose
Los Angeles

8:15 PM  
Blogger Latrappe said...

I think Dallas have the best the goaltender of all of those teams. Anaheim have a good 1-2 puch on defense and San Jose have questions marks in their defensive squad. Let me add that Anaheim and San Jose have two unproven goaltending in Toskala and Bryzgalov and that's those two who stole the starting job for Giguere and Nabokov. Until they prove that thye can deliver all season long, i will go with Turko...

9:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"JT made players around him better, which is funny, since he was never able to do so in Boston (expect for Glen Murray)."

And Knuble etc. No way! The only time Thornton had trouble setting up wingers in Boston was at the beginning of last season, when he basically never showed up.

The beef with Thornton is that he was not a leader and dissapeared come playoff time. I noted with some satisfaction that, even with all the hoopla with regard to points in the regular season, he basically disaapeared in the playoffs yet again!

3:52 PM  

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