|SAN JOSE: |
LAST SEASON: 42-27-13, 97 points. Lost to Los Angeles Kings 4-1 in Western Conference Finals.
COACH: Dave Tippett, 4th season with Coyotes, 125-78-33; 9th overall, 406-234-98 in NHL.
ADDED: LW Steve Sullivan, D Zbynek Michalek, RW David Moss.
LOST: LW Ray Whitney, LW Taylor Pyatt, D Adrian Aucoin, C Daymond Langkow, D Michal Rozsival.
PLAYER TO WATCH: G Mike Smith. The shaggy-haired goalie known as Smitty proved to be a more-than-capable No. 1 goalie in his first full season on the job, winning 28 games with eight shutouts and a 2.21 goals-against average. With the confidence of last season's deep playoff run, he could be a Vezina Trophy candidate.
OUTLOOK: The Coyotes should be brimming with confidence after winning their first division title and reaching the conference finals for the first time in 33 years as an NHL franchise. With the core of last year's roster back, they should be position to get the lockout-shortened season off to a good start and be able to sustain it toward another possible deep run in the playoffs.
SAN JOSE SHARKS
LAST SEASON: 43-29-10, 96 points. Lost to St. Louis 4-1 in first round.
COACH: Todd McLellan, 5th season, 195-92-41.
ADDED: D Brad Stuart, F Adam Burish.
LOST: F Torrey Mitchell, F Daniel Winnik, F Dominic Moore, F Brad Winchester, F Andrew Murray, D Colin White, D Jim Vandermeer.
PLAYER TO WATCH: D Brent Burns. The big acquisition before last season, Burns struggled in his first season with the Sharks as he tried to figure out how to fit in. His points and assists were down from his final year in Minnesota and he was not nearly the aggressive, hard-hitting defenseman the Sharks had been expecting. The Sharks hope that an increased comfort level will lead to better results in year two for Burns.
OUTLOOK: The Sharks hope to be a faster, more aggressive team after the disappointing finish a year ago. They brought back most of the key players from that squad led by captain Joe Thornton but hope Hall of Famer Larry Robinson's impact on the struggling penalty kill unit as a new assistant will help return San Jose near the top of the conference.