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)
PROJECTED DEPTH CHART:
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
Francois Beauchemin — Cam Fowler
Ben Lovejoy — Hampus Lindholm
Clayton Stoner — Sami Vatanen
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.
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)