- This is not the year for the Kings. Their time is 2 or 3 years down the road. With the apparent contract dispute between the Kings and Patrick O'Sullivan, the Kings will be very weak in the scoring department.
- This team really solidified itself when they added Bryzgalov last year. They made a strong push for the playoffs, but their struggles at the begining of the season crushed that. They should be better this season having added Jokinen and Turris, along with a full season of Bryzgalov. This is a very conservative 4th place. They very well could finish higher. I think they will make the playoffs.
San Jose Sharks
Same team as last year, but this year they have a first time NHL head coach. I expect them to do well in the regular season and flop in the playoffs again. I am now convinced that Joe Thornton doesn't have what it takes to play in the playoffs. I hope he proves me wrong.
Last year after both Niedermayer and Selanne returned, the Ducks went 20-5-1. The Pacific division will be very tight at the top 3 spots. I expect them to rebound this year after not defending last year. I think they will make an appearance in the Conference Finals against this next team.
I'm going to say it, these guys are my early pick to win the Cup this year. They have the same team as last year and now they have learned how to lose. They now know what it takes to win as a group. They may stuggle out of the gate with Zubov being out to begin with. Also, Phillipe Boucher needs to get back into form after a tough season for him, one in which his dad died. That would give the Stars 3 top D-Men; Zubov, Robidas, and Boucher.