This month articles have broken down the key players in the NHL’s Atlantic, Metropolitan and Central Divisions for the upcoming season. It’s time to tackle the key players in the Pacific division for 2016-17. These players performing to the best of their abilities will go a long way toward the success of their clubs.
Anaheim Ducks – John Gibson
John Gibson has been regarded the last number of seasons. The 23-year old goaltender has been one of the top prospects in hockey before he joined the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks are trying to compete for the Stanley Cup and are coming off a disappointing season, where they lost in the first round to the Nashville Predators. With Frederik Andersen traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs this off-season, it’s Gibson’s team now. Gibson a Pittsburgh native job to help Anaheim get to the promise land this season.
Arizona Coyotes – Mike Smith
The sleeper Western Conference pick by many this year will be the Arizona Coyotes. Arizona is loaded with young and exciting talent both on the main roster and knocking on the door from the pipeline. But for the Coyotes to push for one of the wild cards out West then the Yotes need 34-year old goalie Mike Smith to return his previous top form.
Calgary Flames – Brian Elliott
When you were as bad as the Calgary Flames were last season in terms of keeping the puck out of the net, there is only one place to go but up. Brian Elliott is coming off a sensational year with the St. Louis Blues. The big question for the 31-year old goalie is can he be counted on to start more games in net (most games played last 5 years has been 46) and how will he adjust going from the Blues defense to the Flames?
Edmonton Oilers – Connor McDavid
In all likelihood, the Edmonton Oilers are probably not good enough in net and on the blue line to be one of the eight playoff teams this season out West. However, if the Oilers do make it to the post-season this the main reason will probably be because of the play of Connor McDavid. McDavid had 48 points in 45 games last season.
— StatsCentre (@StatsCentre) August 22, 2016
Los Angeles Kings – Tyler Toffoli
For the Los Angeles Kings to become champions again they need to score more goals and they need to play better in front of Jonathan Quick. Tyler Toffoli is a key cog to the Kings lineup. The 24-year old forward is coming off a monster year scoring 31 goals along with 58 points. With LA losing Milan Lucic to the Oilers via free agency, the Kings need a big season from Toffoli more than ever.
San Jose Sharks – Brent Burns
Brent Burns does it all for the San Jose Sharks. He plays a ton of minutes on the blue line and is one of the team’s top scorers as well. Burns is such a unique player in the league. For the Sharks to make another run at the Cup a healthy Burns is a must. It is a bit surprising that San Jose did not ink Burns to an extension this summer. The 6’5 defenseman becomes an unrestricted free agent this coming off-season.
— #HockeyFightsCancer (@NHL) August 20, 2016
Vancouver Canucks – Loui Eriksson
The Vancouver Canucks desperately need scoring help. After the Sedin twins, the Canuck’s top scorer was Bo Horvat. Loui Eriksson the 31-year old winger is coming off a 30 goal season. For the Canucks to be somewhat competitive this coming season a big year is needed out of the Swedish forward.