Pacific Division Summer Report: Ducks, Kings Get New Looks For the Fall

Ken ArmerSenior Writer IJuly 28, 2009

MONTREAL- APRIL 22:  Saku Koivu #11 of the Montreal Canadiens prepares for a faceoff during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Boston Bruins at the Bell Centre on April 22, 2009 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Bruins defeated the Canadiens 4-1 winning the series 4-0.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

The Pacific Division has seen some good action, during this offseason's proceedings.

All teams seem poised to take the rosters they have, as of today, into the opening of the preseason games; taking into account any surprises in training camp.

Without a doubt the most improved team and one of the most changed is the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks added Saku Koivu, who captained the Montreal Canadiens last season. Koivu will get to play with long time friend and fellow FinnTeemu Selanne.

The Ducks also reacquired Joffrey Lupul from Philadelphia, along with Luca Sbisa in exchange for Chris Pronger. Pronger was in his contract year and was the odd man out with a deep Ducks blue-line.

The Ducks added Nick Boynton to a one-year contract, as well as Steve McCarthy. Both are experienced blue-liners that help make one of the best defensive teams even better.

The Ducks were a dangerous team in last years playoffs, and look improved in many aspects.

They freed up a lot of money in ditching bully Pronger and added some great talent in Sbisa, Lupul and Koivu. Losing Broad Street bully Pronger to Philadelphia will likely look like a good offseason move as the Ducks will not only fight in the playoffs, but maybe for a Stanley Cup this season.

The Los Angeles Kings are a new looking team as well.

With veteran forward Ryan Smyth added in exchange for defenseman Kyle Quincey and Tom Preissing, the Kings are more dangerous up front.

The other big name addition for the Kings is Rob Scuderi, who won the 2009 Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins. This addition at defense, adds veteran talent and a Stanley Cup ring, making the Kings a more dangerous team in the coming season.

Additionally, the Kings added prospect talent and resigned several young AHL-level players. A solid managerial decision for a team looking to improve consistently over the next couple of years.

The Kings got better at the cost of losing youthful defense. The Kings' new additions in most respects won't matter, but at least they tried. Until the Kings solve the gaping wound that is defense all the scoring talent in the world wont help. One addition of the talented Scuderi wont make much difference in the big picture.

With so much hockey news regarding the Phoenix Coyotes, they remained quiet in the offseason. The Coyotes' biggest additions are veteran Adrian Aucoin and goaltender Jason Labarbera.

The Coyotes also added veteran defenseman James Vandermeer, forward Stefan Meyer, and Vernon Fiddler. To be honest, from a team looking to make the playoffs and struggling to remain in Phoenix, the offseason doesn't look like an improvement, but rather an attempt to stay status quo.

The Coyotes should have money and cap room available to go after more players, in order to improve and fight for a playoff spot—and maybe even fan support—the team needs more talent than it currently has.

Youth is good for long term, but the Coyotes are on life support and need an infusion of young talent and veterans with big names, and stat sheets. Alex Tanguay or a veteran scoring defenseman would certainly shake things up in the desert.

The Dallas Stars look much the same as last year, and seem poised to not add any major pieces having learned a harsh lesson from Sean Avery last season. The Stars answered their goaltending woes trading for Alex Auld, a veteran netminder who can take some of the load off of Marty Turco.

With such young on defense, the Stars added veterans Karlis Skrastins and Jeff Woywitka. On the blueline the Stars seem committed not to resign veteran defenseman and long time Dallas Star, Sergei Zubov. Up front, the Stars added Warren Peters, who will likely occupy the third line for the Stars.

The Stars may look to add another veteran forward or defenseman, but the major dictator is money. Another question left unanswered is the approach new GM Joe Nieuwendyk and new coach Marc Crawford plan to take in building a winner in the Lone Star State. As a Stars fan, and as the usual subject of my work, the Stars offseason is a disappointment...aside from the adding of Alex Auld as a backup goaltender.

The Pacific Champion San Jose Sharks did little to improve, or get worse in the Northern California surfing months. The largest contract action was resigning veteran All-Star defenseman Rob Blake for one more year and adding veteran forward Scott Nichol. For a team struggling to shake bad playoff voodoo, the Sharks also could have done more and are bound by cap.

The Sharks take my "award" for laziest team in the offseason. Money is tight, but shaking up this team seems more than likely what will need to be done for a Cup to be raised in Northern California.

Ken Armer is a Senior Writer at Bleacher Report and a Community Leader for both the NHL and Dallas Stars. He can be reached at