The robust winger had just nine goals in 75 career games before scoring five in the playoffs last spring. Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau is a notorious line-shuffler, but Smith-Pelly, 22, played well enough on the top line next to All-Stars Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry to stay there.
His record in six seasons (271-130-57) is one of the league's best, but San Jose has yet to reach the Cup finals. The Sharks blew a 3--0 series lead against the Kings in the first round last spring, and McLellan may be gone soon if San Jose gets off to a slow start.
Vancouver landed the 26-year-old two-way center from the Ducks in the trade that sent Ryan Kesler to Anaheim. Bonino scored 22 goals last season while shuttling between the second and third lines. He should see top six duty with the Canucks, and that will be good for everybody but Vancouver's opponents.
IN THE CREASE
BY PIERRE MCGUIRE
Nobody is faster than the Ducks, who led the league in scoring last year, but their power play ranked 22nd. Former 50-goal scorer Dany Heatley, 33, has struggled in recent stints with the Sharks and the Wild, but Anaheim thinks the declining sniper can help on special teams.... The Sharks are moving power forward BRENT BURNS back to defense, where they value his size (6'5", 219 pounds) and creativity.... The Canucks will be greatly improved. Goalie Ryan Miller will steady the defense, and center Nick Bonino (22 goals, 27 assists), who came to Vancouver in the trade that sent Ryan Kesler to the Ducks, is one of the best-kept secrets in the league. The Canucks needed a face-lift and they got one.
DEBORA ROBINSON/NHLI/GETTY IMAGES (SMITH-PELLY)
DON SMITH/NHLI/GETTY IMAGES (BURNS)