Around the Pacific: What have the Calgary Flames divisional rivals been up to?
Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike4 months ago
Friends, the Calgary Flames will be hanging a banner from the rafters of the Scotiabank Saddledome in the fall. That banner will represent their impressive 2021-22 regular season, which saw them finish first in the Pacific Division – oddly enough, doing so for the second time in four seasons.
As the Flames search for find ways to fill the Johnny Gaudreau-sized hole in their roster, here’s what the other seven teams in the Pacific Division have done so far this off-season.
2021-22: 27-49-6, 60 points, 8th in Pacific
The Kraken made three significant additions in free agency. They added goaltender Martin Jones, blueliner Justin Schultz, and forward Andre Burakovsky. They also landed Shane Wright at fourth overall at the NHL Draft, giving them four pretty solid player additions. They might not be great next season, but they have a lot of interesting pieces now.
2021-22: 31-37-14, 76 points, 7th in Pacific
The Ducks have a really fun young core, but there’s gonna be growing pains (and we saw some of this last season). But they added a pair of really solid vets in Ryan Strome and Frank Vatrano who should help them insulate some of their exciting young forwards a bit. As the Ducks mature, they’re probably going to remain a fun team to watch but rapidly become a frustrating team to play against.
San Jose Sharks
2021-22: 32-37-13, 77 points, 6th in Pacific
New general manager Mike Grier has made a few savvy moves since joining the Sharks front office. The Sharks got out from under Brent Burns’ big clunky contract (retaining 34% of his salary) and got Steven Lorentz (who’s super underrated) back from Carolina. They also got Luke Kunin from Minnesota, and signed Oskar Lindblom and Nico Sturm in free agency. The Sharks feel like they’ll be largely the same team as this past season, albeit slightly younger, faster and cheaper.
2021-22: 40-30-12, 92 points, 5th in Pacific
The Canucks have largely kept the band together, and they’ve added some nice pieces in Andrei Kuzmenko and Ilya Mikheyev (as well as solid depth players in Dakota Joshua and Curtis Lazar). There’s optimism in Vancouver based on the success they had with Bruce Boudreau, but they’ve done a nice job locking down the players they’ve identified as their core group and building around them with these types of signings.
Vegas Golden Knights
2021-22: 43-31-8, 94 points, 4th in Pacific
On one hand, the Golden Knights found a way to lock up Reilly Smith long-term. On the other hand, the way they did that was jettisoning Max Pacioretty and Dylan Coghlan to Carolina for literally nothing, and sending Evgeni Dadonov to Montreal for Shea Weber’s LTIR contract. They’re really banking on their core group bouncing back under Bruce Cassidy after a rough, injury-plagued 2021-22 season.
Los Angeles Kings
2021-22: 44-27-11, 99 points, 3rd in Pacific – lost to Edmonton in first round
The big move the Kings made this off-season so far has been getting Kevin Fiala from Minnesota. They added goaltending depth with Pheonix Copley and forward depth with Brendan Lemieux, and otherwise they locked down Adrian Kempe and look primed to be a slightly more experienced (and better?) version of the 2021-22 Kings. They were a tough out last season, and a lot of their key players are young and well-positioned for improvement.
2021-22: 49-27-6, 104 points, 2nd in Pacific – beat Los Angeles in first round, beat Calgary in second round, lost to Colorado in Western Conference Final
How you feel about the Oilers’ off-season probably depends on how you feel about Jack Campbell. If he’s healthy, the Oilers could be trouble for a lot of teams. They held onto Evander Kane and Brett Kulak, and managed to get out from under Zack Kassian’s cap hit (at the cost of a couple draft picks) and benefited from Duncan Keith’s retirement. They’ve had a tidy off-season so far, I would say.
2021-22: 50-21-11, 111 points, 1st in Pacific – beat Dallas in first round, lost to Edmonton in second round
Arguably no team lost bigger in the free agency market than the Flames, and they haven’t really added anybody of any significance yet to fill in the gaps. We’ll see what happens as they try to re-up with their RFAs and try to add some scoring from elsewhere.
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