2014-15 NHL Pacific Division preview: Ryan Kesler, kiddie corps have Anaheim Ducks primed for run at the Stanley Cup.

By Gabriel Baumgaertner
September 30, 2014

MORE PACIFIC PREVIEWS: Canucks | Sharks | Coyotes | Flames | Kings | Oilers

COACH: Bruce Boudreau

​2013-14 RECORD: 54-20-8, 116 points (First in Pacific, lost Kings, 4-3, in second round)

VITAL SIGNS: 3.21 goals-for per game (1st); 2.48 goals-against per game (9th); 16.0 power play pct. (22nd); 82.2 penalty kill pct (13th);  shootout record: 3-6 (27th)

NOTABLE ARRIVALS: C Ryan Kesler, C Nate Thompson, D Clayton Stoner, G Jason LaBarbera

NOTABLE DEPARTURES: RW Teemu Selanne (retired), C Saku Koivu (retired), C Nick Bonino, D Luca Sbisa, D Stephane Robidas, G Jonas Hiller, C Mathieu Perreault

NHL
Best case scenarios for Western Conference teams
PROJECTED DEPTH CHART:

Forwards
Andrew Cogliano — Ryan Getzlaf — Corey Perry
Dany Heatley — Ryan Kesler — Devante Smith-Pelly
Matt Beleskey — Rickard Rakell — Jakob Silfverberg
Patrick Maroon — Nate Thompson — Kyler Palmieri
Emerson Etem

Defensemen

Francois Beauchemin — Cam Fowler
Ben Lovejoy — Hampus Lindholm
Clayton Stoner — Sami Vatanen

Goalies

Frederik Andersen
John Gibson

 team that will almost surely finish in the top five of the Western Conference, but a second-round exit like last season’s will hardly be sufficient—especially with the reigning Stanley Cup champions playing a few miles away down Freeway 5.

• Ducks' preseason record no cause for worry

PLAYER TO WATCH: Ryan Kesler

This is an easy selection as Kesler moves from the crazed fishbowl of Vancouver to the relaxed confines of Orange County. Either his attitude issues will manifest themselves into laziness or he’ll shed the problems that hounded him as a Canuck and re-emerge as the offensive force who scored 41 goals in 2010-11. We're banking on the latter.

PREDICTION: 105 points (first in Pacific)

• CENTRAL PREVIEWS: Wild | Stars | Blackhawks | Avalanche | Jets | Predators | Blues

• ATLANTIC PREVIEWS: Canadiens | Bruins | Sabres | Panthers | Maple Leafs | Red Wings | Lightning | Senators

• METROPOLITAN PREVIEWS: Capitals | Penguins | Flyers | Devils | Islanders | Blue Jackets | Hurricanes | Rangers

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