Who is setting up for long-term success in the Pacific? With four teams getting 100 or more points, the Pacific Division is ultra-competitive. Below is a look at four teams and what their outlook is.
The Calgary Flames are not in a good place. Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau wanted out after the 2021-22 season. The Flames missed the playoffs in 2023, General Manager Brad Treliving and the Flames mutually agreed to part ways, and the team fired coach Darryl Sutter. Mikael Backlund, Elias Lindholm, Tyler Toffoli, Noah Hanifin, Christopher Tanev, and Nikita Zadorov are free agents come the 2024-25 season. The Flames must decide if they are going to start a rebuild by trading valuable assets or put the pieces in place to make a return to the playoffs.
Toffoli was a member of the Los Angeles Kings from 2013 – 2020. Could a reunion be in the works? Toffoli played all 82 games for the Flames in the 2022-23 season and logged 73 points. The window seems to be closing in the next couple of years for the Kings to make a deep playoff run as Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty are not getting any younger. Questions still loom in the net for the Kings as they will have to figure out if Pheonix Copley and Joonas Korpisalo will share the net for another season.
The Anaheim Ducks are looking to build around the young talent of Trevor Zegras, Mason McTavish, and Jamie Drysdale. With the second pick in the upcoming draft, all signs point to the Ducks selecting forward Adam Fantilli. The Ducks have just over $39 million of available cap space heading into the 2023-24 season. General Manager Pat Verbeek has time and money on his side. Verbeek just needs to find the right time to add complementary pieces.
The San Jose Sharks are on the ground floor of what will likely be a long rebuild. Erik Karlsson trade rumors have swirled since the playoffs ended. The Sharks have $14 million of cap space heading into the 2023-24 season. Karlsson carries a cap hit of $11.5 million. It will be interesting to see what a trade involving Karlsson would look like. Would the Sharks have to eat any of his salary? Is a third party needed to get the deal done? The Sharks finished seventh in the Pacific. The Shark’s AHL affiliate, San Jose Barracuda, finished eighth in the Pacific. There is not that much to be excited about in San Jose.