the question isn't just about Gagne, it's about the Kings. Are the Kings better now than they were last year? The team that took the Sharks to game 6 without out Kopitar? So look at the Kings Additions and Subtractions
Richards > Zues
Now is Gagne > Smyth (I would hope so)
So is it safe to say Richards & Gagne > Zues & Smyth? (Add Simmer there if they don't add a RW3)
When looking at the Pacific division you have to look at the SJS. They have set the bar on what you need to contend for the Division.
Right now Down the Middle looks like this
San Jose - Thornton, Couture, Zues
Kings- Kopitar, Richards, Stoll
Probably advantage Kings down the middle
Wingers, probably advantage Sharks
Top 6 forwards - real close
Defense, probably advantage Kings
Goal tending - real Close
So "on paper" the Kings now match up real nice against the Sharks and "on paper" should contend for the Pacific.
Now we all know what "on paper" means compared to actually executing and winning. We also have to take in account if everyone can stay healthy, ect...
With a wealth of disappointment stacking high. On a foundation built on who's to blame. It's leveled when you find the victims. And the perpetrators are one in the same. And I'm standing on the edge of oblivion, Standing on the edge of oblivion. And I'll put my best foot forward, Put my best foot forward. - The Briggs