With the 2019 NHL preseason about to start in the next week, we dive into the positioning of the Pacific Division’s eight teams and predict where they will end up at the end of the season.
Is it October yet? Well, we are getting there. With the start of rookie camps and the preseason right around the corner, its time to examine where the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings will fit in the Pacific.
The Ducks were previously the gold standard of the division from 2013-2017, winning five straight Pacific Division titles. Though they reached two Western Conference Finals in 2015 & 2017, they were not able to get to that elusive Stanley Cup Final.
The Ducks took major strides last season by integrating some of their young talent into the lineup, showing a glimpse of what they could potentially be this season.
The Kings, who were winners of the Stanley Cup Final in 2012 and 2014, have since done relatively very little since hoisting the Cup. They have gotten old, slower, and have not been able to keep up with the rest of a quicker, faster NHL. The transition to play faster and get younger, is a work in progress, much like the Ducks.
The end of the season marked another disappointing season for the Kings, who finished at the bottom of the Pacific. Though like the Ducks, they used the last few weeks of the season to showcase some of their young talent as well. Names like Matt Luff, Austin Wagner, Matt Roy and Carl Grundstrom received starts and added some speed and youth to a team low on it.
Both the Kings and Ducks are teams looking to retool on the fly and get back into contention.
Let’s take a look at where they stand in the context of the rest of Pacific teams, ranking from the bottom to top. Here is what I see happening.