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Comparing Canucks' Depth To Western Conference Teams

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Tom Pennington

OK, so we've analyzed and armchair GM'd the living hell out of what the Canucks' roster will look like at the beginning of the regular season and it should look something like this:

Sedin - Sedin - Vrbata

Burrows - Bonino - Kassian

Higgins - Matthias - Hansen / Jensen

Dorsett - Richardson - Vey / Sestito

Edler - Bieksa

Hamhuis - Tanev

Sbisa - Weber / Stanton

Miller

Lack

Vancouver finished with a 36-35-11 record and ended up 12th in the West, 1 point behind Winterpeg and 9 points out of a playoff spot.

Let's quickly look at what the other teams in the Pacific and Central Divisions have done this offseason and draw a comparison of roster depth. These rosters will not have any / many rookies on them because camp just started and I don't have a crystal ball.

The Canucks will play the Anaheim Ducks 5 times, the San Jose Sharks 5 times, the LA Kings 5 times, the Arizona Coyotes 5 times, the Calgary Flames 4 times and the Edmonton Oilers 5 times. That is a grand total of 29 games against teams in their own division (35.3% of total games). They play against Western Conference teams 50 times (61% of their total games).

PACIFIC DIVISION

ANAHEIM DUCKS

Last season: 54 wins, 116 wins, 1st in West

OUT: Nick Bonino, Luca Sbisa, Saku Koivu, Teemu Selanne, Danniel Winnik, Jonas Hiller, Matthieu Perrault

IN: Ryan Kesler, Dany Heatley, Clayton Stoner, Jason Labarbera, Michael Haley

Belesky - Getzlaf - Perry

Maroon - Kesler - Silferberg

Cogliano - Rackell - Heatley

Palmieri - Nate Thompson - Smith-Pelly

Beauchemin - Lindholm

Fowler - Lovejoy

Stoner - Vatanen

Gibson

Andersen

Conclusion: Better? To be determined. A lot of changes made here to "put them over the top". These guys really have to stay healthy and now rely on young goaltending, who they chose to go with by letting Jonas Hiller go. Dany Heatley? Really? Nice price tag though ($1 million). Oh, and eat sh*t, Kesler.

SAN JOSE SHARKS

Last season: 51 wins, 111 points, 4th in the West

OUT: Dan Boyle, Martin Havlat, Brad Stuart

IN: John Scott (hahaha...sigh), Michael Haley and a bunch of threats to change leadership of the team by GM Wilson which he retracted.

Hertl - Thornton - Pavelski

Marleau - Couture - Nieto

Sheppard - Wingels - Kennedy

Torres - Desjardins - Brown

Vlasic - Burns

Braun - Demers

Irwin - Tennyson

Niemi

Stalock

Conclusion: Basically the same and can still be a team that can kick ass in the regular season (and crap the bed in the playoffs).

LOS ANGELES KINGS

Last season: 46 wins, 100 points, 6th in the West

OUT: Willie Mitchell, Andrew Campbell

IN: Adam Cracknell, David Van Der Gulik

Gaborik - Kopitar - Brown

Pearson - Carter - Toffoli

King - Stoll - Williams

Clifford - Richards - Lewis

Muzzin - Doughty

Regehr - Voynov

Martinez - Greene

Quick

Martin Jones

Obviously still a powerhouse and likely Stanley Cup favorite again this year. They chill out in the regular season and ten open up a can of whoop ass in the playoffs.

ARIZONA COYOTES

Last season: 37 wins, 89 points, 9th in the West

IN: Sam Gagner, Joe Vitale, Devan Dubnyk, BJ Crombeen

OUT: Radim Vrbata, Mike Ribeiro, Tim Kennedy, Derek Morris, Thomas Greiss, Paul Bissonnette

POSSIBLE LINES:

Boedker - Hanzal - Doan

Korpikoski - Gagner - Erat

Domi - Vermette - Brandon McMillan

Chipchura - Vitale - Crombeen

Ekman-Larsson - Michalek

Yandle - Connor Murphy

Schlemko - Michael Stone

Smith

Dubnyk

Quite a young team, but it isn't really any better on paper than last season. Will rely heavily on the defence and Mike Smith, as usual.

CALGARY FLAMES

Last season: 35 wins, 77 points, 13th in the West

OUT: Mike Cammalleri, Chris Butler, Blair Jones, Ben Street, Joey MacDonald

IN: Jonas Hiller, Mason Raymond, Derek Engelland (what did they pay for him again?)

POSSIBLE LINES:

Glencross - Stajan - Hudler

Johnny Gaudreau - Monahan - Raymond

Byron - Backlund - Jones

Bollig - Colborne - Bouma

Giordano - Brodie

Smid - Russell

Wideman - Engelland

Hiller

Ramo

Five years in a row not making the playoffs, about to make it 6. To me, it seems like they are on the right track to rebuilding, finally. They really needed the bonafide goalie that's been lacking since Kiprusoff's retirement.

EDMONTON OILERS

Last season: 29 wins, 67 points, last in the West

OUT: Sam Gagner, Taylor Fedun

IN: Teddy Purcell, Benoit Pouliot, Mark Fayne, Nikita Nikitin, Keith Aulie

POSSIBLE LINES:

Hall - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle

Pouliot - Gordon - Perron

Yakupov - Lander - Purcell

Gazdic - Hendricks - Joensuu

Ference - Schultz

Marincyn - Fayne

Nikitin - Petry

Scrivens

Fasth

Is this Oilers team any better? The defence is a bit deeper, but they don't have a horse back there unless Schultz emerges. I like the forward corps generally. A little more depth to compliment the small but super skilled top line.

CENTRAL DIVISION

COLORADO AVALANCHE

Last season: 52 wins, 112 points, 2nd in the West

OUT: Paul Stastny, PA Parenteau, Andre Benoit, Matt Hunwick

IN: Jarome Iginla, Danny Briere, Brad Stuart, Jesse Winchester, Zach Redmond, Ben Street

POSSIBLE LINES:

Landeskog - Duchene - Iginla

O'Reilly - Mackinnon - Tanguay

McGinn - Mitchell - Briere

McLeod - Marc-Andre Cliche - Talbot

Hejda - Johnson

Stuart - Barrie

Wilson - Holden

Varlamov

Reto Berra

Yikes. This team is freaky up front. They had so much youth there that they dealt some of it away and added some cagey vets like Iglinla and Briere, Stuart on the back end. Tanguay missed 66 games to injury last season. If there is any regression to be had I don't forecast much of it. This team kicks ass.

ST. LOUIS BLUES

LAST SEASON: 52 wins, 111 points, 3rd in the West

OUT: Ryan Miller (thank you very much), Vladmir Sobotka, Derek Roy, Roman Polak, Brendan Morrow, Adam Cracknell

IN: Paul Stastny, Carl Gunnarson, Nate Prosser, Peter Mueller, Chris Butler, John McCarthy

POSSIBLE LINES:

Steen - Backes - Oshie

Schwartz - Stastny - Dmitrij Jaskin

Paajarvi - Jori Lehtera - Tarasenko

Lapierre - Berglund - Ott

Bouwmeester - Pietrangelo

Gunnarson - Shattenkirk

Cole - Jackman

Elliot

Allen

This is a top tier team that is shuffling the deck a bit to try find post season success. I'd say a job well done by management here.

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS

LAST SEASON: 46 wins, 107 points, 5th in the West

OUT: Jason Labarbera, Michal Handzus

IN: Brad Richards, Cody Bass, Pierre-Cedric Labrie

POSSIBLE LINES:

Saad - Toews - Hossa

Sharp - Richards - Kane

Bickell - Shaw - Versteeg

Morin - Kruger - Ben Smith

Keith - Seabrook

Oduya - Hjalmarsson

Leddy - Roszival

Crawford

Raanta

The Hawks are over $2 million over the cap maximum at this point, which has led to rampant speculation as to who they are going to trade away to get under the cap ceiling. Sharp and Versteeg are the two names most mentioned. The Hawks will have great success this season but they had better enjoy it, because the new contracts for Toews and Kane kick in next season, complicating cap matters even further, and making me happy.

MINNESOTA WILD

LAST SEASON: 43 wins, 98 points, 7th in the West

OUT: Matt Moulson, Dany Heatley, Nate Prosser, Clayton Stoner, Ilya Bryzgalov, Cody McCormick

IN: Thomas Vanek, Stu Bickel, Brett Sutter

POSSIBLE LINES:

Parise - Koivu - Pominville

Vanek - Granlund - Coyle

Cooke - Haula - Niederrreiter

Veilleux - Brodziak - Fontaine

Suter - Brodin

Scandella - Spurgeon

Blum - Christian Folin

Backstrom

Harding

If there was ever a team decimated by injuries.....Yeesh. They look solid if they can stay healthy, especially between the pipes.

DALLAS STARS

LAST SEASON: 40 wins, 91 points, 8th in the West.

OUT: Ray Whitney, Alex Chiasson, Derek Mackenzie, Tim Thomas, Chris Mueller, Aaron Rome (FOOLS!)

IN: Jason Spezza, Ales Hemsky, Anders Lindback, Patrick Eaves

POSSIBLE LINES

Benn - Seguin - Nichushkin

Colton Sceviour - Spezza - Hemsky

Roussel - Eakin - Garbutt

Horcoff - Peverley - Cole

Goligoski - Daley

Dillon - Benn

Connauton - Gonchar

Lehtonen

Lindback

Yep, on paper the Stars are far better now than last season. They look at little weak down the left side...

But so what?! They added Spezza and Hemsky! Here come the Champs!

NASHVILLE PREDATORS

LAST SEASON: 38 wins, 88 points, 10th in the West.

OUT: Patric Hornqvist, Nick Spaling, Michael Del Zotto, Patrick Eaves

IN: James Neal, Derek Roy, Anton Volchenkov, Olli Jokinen, Mike Ribeiro

POSSIBLE LINES:

Wilson - Ribeiro - Neal

Bourque - Jokinen - Craig Smith

Stalberg - Roy - Cullen

Clune - Calle Jarnkrok - Nystrom

Josi - Weber

Volchenkov - Seth Jones

Victor Bartley - Ryan Ellis

Rinne

Carter Hutton

Damn you, Preds. You are so deceiving! Wait! What? You got rid of Barry Trotz? You will pay for this atrocity!

BTW, Mike Fischer will miss the first 2 months of the season after rupturing his achilles tendon in Saloian style. When he returns, the Preds are deep up the middle. I don't give a crap about what Ribeiro's personal problems were..he was a solid addition. These guys could improve with a new style. I would put these guys, the Coyotes and the Canucks all in the same pile.

WINNIPEG JETS

LAST SEASON: 37 wins, 84 points, 12th in the West.

OUT: Devin Setoguchi, Olli Jokinen, Al Montoya, Zach Redmond, Edward Pasquale, Jerome Samson, Andrew Gordon

IN: T.J. Galiardi, Mathieu Perreault

POSSIBLE LINES:

Ladd - Little - Kane

Frolik - Schefele - Wheeler

Tangradi - Perreault - Byfuglien

Peluso - Slater - Thorburn

Stuart - Trouba

Bogosian - Enstrom

Pardy - Postma

Pavelec

Michael Hutchinson

IN CLOSING

It appears I have had my head up my Canuckle ass this summer. After looking at the depth charts of our division, I have to say, and call me a negative Nancy all you want to, but it looks to me, in the Pacific Division, like the Canucks are better than the Flames and Oilers, on about the same track as the Coyotes, and definitely not better than the Ducks, Sharks and Kings. Hell, most of the other teams in the West look better on paper, to me anyway. How's it going Dallas? Minnesota? All teams on the rise.

The Canucks are full of question marks. Sure, Willie Desjardins will bring an up tempo style back, but all the other teams do that too. And many of these teams, quite frankly, look deeper than we are. Now how they play as a team is anyone's guess. Dallas can load up on forwards but will they gel? Time will tell.

Believe in Blue!

Change is Coming!

What say you?