Los Angeles Kings: Did Offseason Moves Push Them Ahead of San Jose Sharks?

Over the past two months many of the NHL clubs have gone through different changes, via trade or free agency, all in efforts to improve their respective teams.

Perhaps the division that underwent the most change was the Pacific Division. Whether it be the Phoenix Coyotes losing star goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, the LA Kings acquiring Mike Richards, the Dallas Stars losing Brad Richards or the San Jose Sharks trading away star forward Dany Heatley, nobody can deny that the shape of teams in the Pacific has drastically changed.

But the real question here is whether the changes made have done anything to affect the placement of the teams compared to last year. You can most likely expect that the Phoenix Coyotes wont be making the playoffs after losing Bryzgalov, but will they really sink below Dallas in the standings?

The more important question is not who gets worse, but who gets better? Is this the year that the LA Kings surpass the Sharks? Could Anaheim shock everybody and surpass both?

Less than a month ago I wrote a controversial article predicting that the Kings would not only pass the Sharks for the division title, but that they would also win the President's trophy and see the Western Conference Finals.

Some agreed, most didn't, but the article served its purpose well by sparking a debate that led to the most commented article on Bleacher Report in July. That leads us here, to the continuation of the debate on the Sharks vs. Kings, and who will come out on top this season.

We'll start with the changes to the Kings' lineup. First and foremost has to be acquiring Mike Richards. This is a huge deal for the Kings, and Mike Richards probably wont mind the Los Angeles area too much either—especially at night. You Philadelphia fans know what I'm talking about.

But Richards' off-ice behavior aside, he really is an impact player and a great pickup to improve the Kings' offense. Richards pos...

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