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Phoenix Coyotes: for Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s numbers to transfer from the AHL
Last year the Phoenix Coyotes asked for an elite goaltender—they got Mike Smith. Now, after seeing moments of brilliance from him, they want Oliver Ekman-Larsson to become the next Erik Karlsson.
Currently playing for the Coyotes’ AHL affiliate, the Portland Pirates, Ekman-Larsson is doing what any NHLer should do in the minor leagues—killing it. The 21-year-old has 19 points in 18 games.
The Coyotes want those same numbers in the NHL. Well, maybe they're not that greedy, but they have high hopes for Ekman-Larsson.
San Jose Sharks: a cup for Joe Thornton
Joe Thornton is a hard-hitting, playmaking center approaching free agency. To keep him, the San Jose Sharks will have to instill confidence in the versatile forward via a substantial playoff run.
Just shy of the 60-assist mark last season, Thornton has notched more career points (1078) than games played (1077). The Canadian has not had lower than a 70-point season in over a decade.
The 33-year-old still has many solid seasons in him. If his seven-year timespan with the Boston Bruins is indicative of his patience, then his time with the Sharks is nearly up.
Los Angeles Kings: a repeat performance
The Los Angeles Kings have done everything to keep their Stanley Cup team intact. Having picked up the Kings and brought them to the championship, Darryl Sutter is hoping to bring everyone back for a repeat performance.
Jonathan Quick has committed long-term to the Kings, agreeing to a 10-year $58 million contract. This is not surprising after his playoff performance, but teams have seen the long-term goalie contract backfire before—just ask the Canucks or the Islanders.
The Kings have all the same pieces for another Cup, but this time, the rest of the league has their number.
Dallas Stars: a machine that can deduct 10 years from one’s life
Over the summer the Dallas Stars acquired Jaromir Jagr and Ray Whitney. Either they've found the fountain of youth, or they're just really desperate.
Admittedly, both 40-year-olds have shown they still have a spring in their step. Whitney and Jagr should be strong offensive support for teammates Jamie Benn and Brenden Morrow.
However, if the Stars do get that minus-10-years-from-your-life machine, they could become a strong Western Conference contender.
Anaheim Ducks: to not lose their entire team
With contracts expiring on Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu, a misstep from the Anaheim Ducks could cost them their entire star power. Even with their top forwards, Anaheim fell short of the playoffs—imagine the Ducks without them.
Selanne is likely heading toward retirement and Koivu is not essential, but the Ducks will have to break out their wallets to keep Getzlaf and Perry. Many other teams will be looking to poach them.
This possibility, under the experimental leadership of Bruce Boudreau, could sink the Ducks completely.