By: Jeff Lingard
The draft and free agent signing period is almost here and we here at the Daily Shootout have decided to prepare a 4 point offseason plan for each team, organized by division. Today we look at the Pacific division:
1. Trade or keep Bobby Ryan - I think Anaheim should sit tight and wait until Rick Nash is dealt and then try to trade Ryan to the two or three teams that missed out. The question is what Anaheim should look for in return for Ryan. There are rumors of a Ryan plus others for Ryan Miller from Buffalo which would be a blockbuster trade and would be a good fit for both teams. I also think a trade to Toronto built around Toronto's 5th overall pick would be an option so that the Ducks would have the 5th and 6th picks in the draft.
2. Either re-sign Teemu Selanne or replace him - There are reports out of Finland that Selanne has decided to return but he has not confirmed it yet. If Teemu does not come back then the Ducks have to find a way to replace his 26 goals and 66 points. The Ducks will have some cap space and could be a dark horse candidate to make a run at a forward like Zach Parise.
3. Upgrade defensive depth - The Ducks have a relatively cheap top 4 in Fowler, Visnovsky, Beauchemin and Sbisa. The Ducks need a bounce back season from Visnovsky and for Fowler to continue his development into a good two-way defenseman. I see the Ducks signing a depth defenseman or two on the free agent market. Possible targets would include Dennis Wideman, Jason Garrison, Filip Kuba or Matt Carle.
4. Re-stock the forward lines - If Selanne doesn't come back and Ryan is traded then the Ducks will only have 7 forwards under contract, plus anybody received in the Ryan trade. Saku Koivu can be counted on in a support role but is not a front line player anymore. The Ducks do not have any impact prospects that are ready to step in as a top 6 forward so they likely have to sign a free agent forward or two if they want to make a playoff push this year.
1. Re-sign Jamie Benn - Benn and Loui Eriksson are the foundation on which the Stars attack is built. Benn will command a large raise from his $821,000 salary, but with new ownership and a boatload of cap room, the Stars can meet his demands.
2. Shore up the D in Big D - It seems like Sheldon Souray is going to test the market and Robidas and Daley are closer to 2nd pair and not top pair defensemen. Ryan Suter would be an awesome addition for the Stars, but I don't think the Stars can beat out Detroit, Carolina or Nashville for his services. A defenseman like Matt Carle would be a perfect addition to the Stars top 4.
3. Be patient - Just because Dallas has a large amount of cap room doesn't mean they have to tie up veteran players right away to long term deals. I think the Stars are best suited to keeping their cap space, keep developing their young players and build around their core. In a year or two when they are closer to contending for a Cup they can make a splash.
4. Add one more top 6 forward - The Stars could use one more top 6 forward and can look at players like Olli Jokinen, PA Parenteau or even Alexander Semin to fill that role.
Los Angeles Kings:
1. Figure out what to do with Jonathan Bernier - Bernier is blocked by Jonathan Quick but LA may want to keep him since it is better to have two goalies that can start and neither Quick nor Bernier have high salaries in 2012-13. Bernier will be subject to trade rumors and the Kings probably could trade him if the price is right, i.e., a top 4 defenseman.
2. Re-sign or replace DustinPenner - Penner had a bad regular season but a strong playoff. The Kings have the cap space to make a run at Parise and he would be a good fit with the Kings and their style of play.
3. Add one more top 4 defenseman - Willie Mitchell and Rob Scuderi are getting old and are better as depth players at this stage of their careers. The Kings need another top 4 D to take pressure off Drew Doughty and Viatcheslav Voynov. A player like Dennis Wideman would be a good fit to play with Mitchell or Scuderi.
4. Add one more scoring winger - The Kings only had four 20-goal scorers at forward last year. If they could pry Shane Doan from Phoenix he would be a perfect fit but that is unlikely. Ray Whitney would be a good fit as well.
1. Fix the ownership situation - Duh.
2. Re-sign Shane Doan - Doan is the heart and soul of the Coyotes franchise and is not easily replaceable.
3. Add some offense - The Coyotes can help with this by re-signing Doan and Ray Whitney, their leading scorer last year. Phoenix could use at least one more top 6 forward and an additional top 9 forward. If anybody can redeem Alexander Semin it would be Dave Tippett.
4. Round out the D - Phoenix has a solid top 2 in Yandle and Ekman-Larsson and has good depth with Derek Morris and Rostislav Klesla. The Coyotes could add another 2nd or 3rd pair D to add to their depth and insure against injuries.
San Jose Sharks:
1. Decide to go for it or rebuild - The Sharks need to determine if the Thornton/Marleau/Boyle core is still the core to build around or should they cut bait (no pun intended) and build around Couture and Pavelski. If the Sharks go for it then they do not have a lot of holes and need to rely on their current talent to gel and finally put everything together.
2. Trade for Rick Nash - I think that if the price is Pavelski plus a younger player or two then the Sharks should trade for Rick Nash. He would be a great fit for this team and would create a second elite scoring line.
3. Consider trading Marleau or Thornton - Philadelphia traded Richards and Carter and had an excellent regular season and beat Pittsburgh in round 1. San Jose can trade Marleau and/or Thornton and receive the correct package(s) in return and still be Cup contenders.
4. Add one more bottom six forward - The Sharks could use another bottom six forward for depth, especially if they are aiming for a long playoff run. Jay McClement, Jason Arnott or Jamie Langenbrunner would be great fits for this spot.
Thank you to capgeek.com for their help with this preview.