James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Dose: Be More Pacific

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Hey look, it’s time to finish the division-by-division outlooks with the Pacific! Hopefully it won’t be as weirdly disappointing as HBO’s “The Pacific,” although that would require me to write anything on the level of “Band of Brothers.”*

 

Before we do that, let me make a quick set of observations on the trade that sent Michael Del Zotto to the Nashville Predators and Kevin Klein to the New York Rangers:

 

-- Klein doesn’t really hold fantasy value. Good for "Fish Called Wanda" jokes, though.

 

-- At first, I couldn’t stop giggling regarding the thought of Barry Trotz dealing with a man that Rangers fans derisively called “Del Zaster.” And let there be no doubt about it, assuming Trotz doesn’t get canned sometime soon, the two will butt heads. It’s like one of those buddy cop movies, which I guess means that they’ll eventually get called into the beleaguered police chief (David Poile)’s office.

 

(I kinda wanna watch that movie, actually.)

 

-- That being said, Del Zotto could be an interesting fringe option, especially if he serves as a left-handed shot alongside Shea Weber’s booming right on the power play. For all his warts defensively, not many 23-year-old blueliners have a 41 and 37-point season to their name (or, bizarrely, both a -20 and +20 campaign).

 

-- When you break it down a bit, Phil Housely must be delighted with the offensive potential from the blueline: Weber, Del Zotto, Roman Josi and Seth Jones could be one of the most dangerous foursomes for the power play (and Ryan Ellis can squeeze in if someone's hurt) in the future and maybe even for the rest of this season.

 

So, maybe the Preds can "coach him up" and get some good work from him. Watch list him just in case.

 

OK, let’s get onto the Pacific outlook.

 

For everything NHL, check out Rotoworld's Player News and follow @Rotoworld_ HK+@cyclelikesedins on Twitter.

 

ANAHEIM DUCKS

 

18 home games remaining, 12 road games remaining

 

Toughest stretches: The Ducks may very well be able to wrap up the division, if not the conference, thanks to their lucrative schedule. Surviving mid-to-late March is the key, though.

 

To start things off, they play three straight road games from March 12-15.

 

After playing two of three contests at home, they'll play three more in a row on the road. Overall, that's seven of nine games on the road.

 

Aside from that, three of four games on the road from April 9-12 could be tough, as one game is against Vancouver and two are against their California rivals.

 

Lucrative stretches: The Ducks began a nice run on Tuesday that will take them through and beyond the Olympic break.

 

Tonight - Feb. 5: Home-and-home with Los Angeles followed by five straight home games. They then go into the break with an away game on Feb. 8.

 

Feb. 28 - March 10: Five straight home games, mostly against the East.

 

Olympic factor: Seven players

 

Pretty heavy workload for the Ducks, as Jonas Hiller will be a busy man in the Swiss net while Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry put on more mileage for Canada. Cam Fowler was a dark horse for the U.S., but at least he's young.

 

CALGARY FLAMES

 

16 home games remaining, 15 road games remaining

 

Toughest stretches: The Flames luck out in that what looks like a tougher run (five of six away games) is split by the Olympic break, so instead it's just three straight away games from Feb. 4-8.

 

The other big worry (or is it opportunity to lose their way into a better draft pick?) involves five straight road contests from March 30 - April 7.

 

Lucrative stretches: They just began a five-game homestand with a win against Phoenix.

 

After that, they enjoy four of five games at home from March 5-12. Finally, they play five of six in Calgary from March 18-28.

 

Again, "tough" and "lucrative" mean different things in fantasy vs. tanking.

 

Olympic factor: Two players

 

Assuming Mark Giordano doesn't get the call for Canada due to injuries ...

 

EDMONTON OILERS

 

18 home games remaining, 12 road games remaining

 

Toughest stretches: Pretty simple stuff for the Oil.

 

Monday - Feb. 7: Five of six on the road, including four in a row.

 

March 11-16: four in a row away.

 

April 1-4: Three straight road games.

 

Lucrative stretches: They began a run of four out of five in Edmonton with a loss against Vancouver on Tuesday.

 

Feb. 27 - March 9: Five straight at home.

 

March 18-30: Six straight home games.

 

April 6-12: They close the season with four in a row at home.

 

Olympic factor: Three guys, assuming Ales Hemsky can play.

 

LOS ANGELES KINGS

 

16 home games remaining, 15 road games remaining

 

Toughest stretch: The Kings are having a little trouble with their current run, which is probably their biggest hurdle. After winning in St. Louis on Jan. 16, they've lost three straight road games from the 18th to the 21st. Now they face a home-and-home against Anaheim before two road Pacific Division games.

 

The good news is that it's pretty reasonable after that. Just two three-game road trips in March and four in a row on the road from April 3-10.

 

Lucrative stretches: To start, they play four home games in a row from Jan. 30 - Feb. 6.

 

In Mid-March, they play five in a row at home. That's basically it aside from three straight at the Staples Center from March 29 - April 2.

 

Olympic factor: Six players

 

For a strong team, the workload isn't too bad, especially if Ryan Miller edges Jonathan Quick for the U.S. gig. Anze Kopitar shouldn't last too long, for one.

 

PHOENIX COYOTES

 

16 home games remaining, 16 road games remaining

 

Toughest stretches: The three-game road trip they began Wednesday isn't that far off from their biggest challenges.

 

March 8-13: Four road games in a row.

 

March 24-27: Three away games in a row.

 

March 24 - April 10: They plan seven out of 10 games on the road during this span.

 

Lucrative stretches: Five stretch home games span from Jan. 28 - Feb. 7

 

March 2-6: Three straight home contests.

 

Beyond that, they have two sets of games in which they play three of four at home.

 

Olympic factor: Five players, if you count Mike Smith.

 

Maybe a chance for Oliver Ekman-Larsson to highlight his place among the NHL's best?

 

SAN JOSE SHARKS

 

19 home games remaining, 13 road games remaining

 

Toughest stretches: Nothing too bad for the Sharks, who seem to have weathered the worst storms.

 

Feb. 27 - March 2: Three straight away games following the Olympics.

 

March 13-16: Three road games in a row.

 

March 24-29: Three out of four away games.

 

Lucrative stretches: Lots of good stuff for the Sharkies, as they began a four-game homestand on Monday.

 

Feb. 1-7: They finish their games before the Olympic break with four straight games at the Shark Tank.

 

March 4-11: Four home games in a row against Eastern Conference competition.

 

The Sharks also have two other three-game homestands to round out their season.

 

Olympic factor: Four players

 

Is there a better team with fewer players, especially since Antti Niemi may back up Tuukka Rask and Marc-Edouard Vlasic could be a healthy scratch? I doubt it, and it only makes the Sharks more of team to buy into.

 

VANCOUVER CANUCKS

 

17 home games remaining, 14 road games remaining

 

Toughest stretches: The Canucks' remaining schedule seems more uneven than John Tortorella's mood swings.

 

Jan. 31 - Feb. 8: Five straight road games.

 

March 12-17: Four consecutive away contests.

 

Lucrative stretches: The Canucks have some nice opportunities, including four straight home games beginning on Thursday.

 

Feb. 26 - March 2: Three straight games in Vancouver.

 

March 29 - April 13: The best stretch, perhaps just in time to clinch a playoff spot as the season ends? They play five straight games in Vancouver from March 29 - April 10. Extending it further, they play six of seven contests at home.

 

Olympic factor: Six players

 

Should Canucks owners root against Canada and Sweden? Roberto Luongo has fought injuries this season and could be Canada's starter. The Sedin twins and Alexander Edler (if healthy) could be significant for Sweden. Even Ryan Kesler may be a go-to guy for America.

 

For a full list of injuries and suspensions, click here.

 

Other divisional breakdowns:

 

Atlantic Division

Central Division

Metropolitan Division


* - Seriously though, I just couldn’t get past the first couple episodes of “The Pacific” and it bums me out.



James O'Brien is the Hockey Daily Dose's author and has been a contributor to NBC's Pro Hockey Talk for more than four years. Follow him on Twitter.
Email :James O'Brien



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