Who is San Jose Sharks rival

California nightmare: Sharks, Kings and Ducks have to watch

San Jose Sharks: First a lot of worry, then a lot of question marks

It was foreseeable that Kings and Ducks would only have outsider chances on the play-offs. But the fact that the Sharks, of all things, would fail as the worst team in the Western Conference (29-36-5, 45.0 percent points rate) was a big surprise and a bitter disappointment. The personal bloodletting in the summer, when top performers such as Captain Joe Pavelski (Dallas Stars), Joonas Donskoi (Colorado Avalanche), Gustav Nyquist (Columbus Blue Jackets) or Justin Braun (Philadelphia Flyers) were given up, turned out to be a mortgage. The hope that, as in the past, young talents from the AHL farm team San Jose Barracuda would step in and immediately convince at NHL level, was not fulfilled. In addition, regular goalkeeper Martin Jones (3.0 goals conceded / game, 89.6 percent catch rate) remained well below his possibilities and became the face of the crisis.

Anaheim Ducks - Club details

Club colors

Black-gold-orange

Anaheim Ducks - Club details

Club colors

Black-gold-orange

address

2695 East Katella Avenue, Anaheim, California, USA 92806

Los Angeles Kings - Club details

Club colors

Black-white-gray

Los Angeles Kings - Club details

Club colors

Black-white-gray

address

1111 South Figueroa Street, Suite 3100, Los Angeles, California, USA 90015

San Jose Sharks - Club details

Club colors

Turquoise-black-orange-white

San Jose Sharks - Club details

Club colors

Turquoise-black-orange-white

address

525 West Santa Clara Street, San Jose, California, USA 95113

San Jose never really got going in the 2019/20 season: Four defeats at the beginning and eleven defeats in the first 15 games meant a false start. When five games were lost in December, Peter DeBoer was sacked as coach. Bob Boughner took over as an interim solution, but he had to deal with enormous bad luck with injuries: With captain Logan Couture (broken ankle), striker Tomas Hertl (cruciate and inner ligament tear in the knee) and offensive defender Erik Karlsson (thumb surgery), three ultimate key players fell out for a long time and missed a total of 60 games. Too much: For the first time since 2015 and for the seventh time in their history, the Sharks missed the play-offs.

Now San Jose is facing not only a long, but also a challenging summer break: Despite the poor performance, the Sharks are not allowed to draft in the first round, because the corresponding pick was exchanged for Erik Karlsson at the Ottawa Senators. In addition, three well-earned players left the sinking ship before the trade deadline: Brenden Dillon (Washington Capitals), Barclay Goodrow (Tampa Bay Lightning) and Patrick Marleau (Pittsburgh Penguins). It will be exciting to see whether San Jose will acquire a new goalie. In the rumor mill, for example, caps-keeper Braden Holtby appears, who becomes a free agent. The coaching question has not yet been clarified either: Will Boughner be promoted to head coach or are the Sharks currently fishing for top coaches without clubs such as Peter Laviolette or Gerard Gallant, who would fit perfectly with Team Teal's hockey DNA?

Los Angeles Kings: Sturm's Plea for Supports?

Extended as assistant coach at the Los Angeles Kings: Marco Sturm. Getty Images

For a long time it looked as if the Kings would finish as last year in the Western Conference. In the last few weeks before the corona-related cancellation of the regular season, Los Angeles turned it up again: L.A. won all of the last seven games and got 17 out of 20 possible points from the last ten games (8-1-1). The late rebellion only ensured that the red lantern was passed on to the rival in San Jose. The bottom line is still a sobering season and the penultimate place in the west (29-35-6, 45.7 percent points rate). The Kings biggest construction site remains the offensive, which was the second worst in the league with 2.53 goals.

Now Los Angeles wants to position itself for a more successful future. After the departures of Ilya Kovalchuk (Montreal Canadiens), Jack Campbell, Kyle Clifford (both Toronto Maple Leafs), Tyler Toffoli (Vancouver Canucks), Alec Martinez (Vegas Golden Knights) and Derek Forbort (Calgary Flames), there was a lot of quality in LA Exchange for talents and draft picks. The draft lottery revealed that the Kings will be allowed to draw in second place in the 2020 draft. It is quite possible that the German top talent Tim Stützle (Adler Mannheim) will be selected. The 18-year-old striker is sure to have a powerful advocate: compatriot Marco Sturm. The assistant coach, whose contract was optionally extended by one year, should help with the change and can certainly convince those responsible of Stützle's advantages.

Anaheim Ducks: No constancy and too little offensive power

Big Sign: Talent Troy Terry extended at Anaheim Ducks through 2023. Getty Images

The Ducks, who also clearly missed participation in the Stanley Cup qualifying round (29-33-9, 47.2 percent points rate) are still in a state of upheaval. Anaheim didn't really get going this season. There was a lack of constancy across the board. Especially on the offensive, the shoe pinched, which underlines an average of 2.56 goals per game (29th) and a power play success rate of 14.7 percent (30th). And the team from Orange County also has to improve at the back: With 3.17 goals conceded per game (25th) and a shortfall rate of 77.0 percent (26th), the Ducks also landed in the lower third of the league.

The hunt for the 2020 Stanley Cup

It will be interesting to see how Anaheim will reorganize the squad up to the new season. Talent is present with players like Jacob Larsson (23), Max Jones (22), Sam Steel (22) or Troy Terry (22), who recently extended it by three years to 2023, but the basic structure seems too shaky: Behind Top performers like Adam Henrique, Rickard Rakell, Ryan Getzlaf and Jakob Silfverberg have a gap. Especially since the departures of Ondrej Kase, Nick Ritchie (both Boston Bruins), Derek Grant (Philadelphia Flyers), Devin Shore (Columbus Blue Jackets) and German defender Korbinian Holzer (Nashville Predators) lost a lot of depth. So the Ducks have to upgrade - especially on the offensive. Perhaps the sixth pick in the 2020 draft will bring new momentum.