Pacific Division Preview

October 4th is just around the bend, which means so is the start of the new NHL season. Let’s go over the Pacific division and rank the teams, comparing them with their Las Vegas and offshore odds to win the division and the cup. Review sites like Bodog to find all the odds.

The Ducks

The Ducks were at 14 to 1 to win the Cup and are the odds-on favorites to win the Pacific division at +205 or 2.05 to 1. It’s understandable why the offshore oddsmakers and the sportsbooks in Las Vegas would put the Anaheim Ducks at the top of the pack in the Pacific. They fought their way deep into the playoffs only to lose in six games to the Nashville Predators in the Western Conference Finals.

One of my biggest questions concerning the Ducks moving into the 2017/18 season is regarding the defensemen. Are they going to be able to have another year like they did last year? And as always with the Ducks … offensive productivity … will it be present?

LA Kings

Can the Los Angeles Kings return to form and for that matter, the playoffs? At 22-1 to win the Stanley Cup and 7.75 to 1 to win the Pacific, the Kings have been pegged as a wildcard team at very best. Drew Doughty, Johnathan Quick, and Anze Kopitar have to not only stay healthy but have an excellent season if this Kings team wants to be competitive in this division.

Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers just barely missed the 1st place Zamboni ride into the playoffs. three points … just three points. Leon Draisaitl just signed a monster contract, so I am curious to see if this affects his play at all. Can Cam Talbot be called upon game after game again this season and still produce at the same level? These two things are pretty much my only concerns with the Edmonton Oilers. Connor McDavid is a rare talent. Perhaps a once-in-a-generation-type player. A team can rally around such raw talent and this will be the year that the Oilers stand atop of the Pacific Division and make a deep run into the playoffs.

The Sharks


San Jose is +475 to win the Pacific and 22 to 1 on the Cup. The Sharks have one of the best defensive cores and one of the best defensemen (Brent Burns) in the league.
Their blueline play and defense should breed confidence that the Sharks can overcome any of their offensive deficiencies. The Sharks have a good chance at being right in the mix.


Arizona Coyotes


The Yotes made tons of offseason moves
but that didn’t seem to install any confidence from the guys in Vegas because the Coyotes are +6000 (60-1) just to win the division … when talking about their chances to hoist the cup, the odds get really long. They brought in Antti Raanta to help mind the net and Derek Stepen and Niklas Hjalmarsson. I don’t see the ‘losing franchise’ brand getting shaken off by the Coyotes just yet.


The Flames


Calgary is in flux. Mike Smith
will be taking over net duties and They recently announced that the team has ended talks with the city regarding a new building. It seems the Flames want to be competitive with the Oilers at more than just the game of hockey, but on the arena front as well. It looks like the city isn’t working very hard at this and we could see some franchise and fan blow-back. The defense core should remain this team’s strength and I peg them to finish 4th in the Pacific division, which is right in line with their odds, fourth in line at +525.


Vancouver Canucks

Canucks have been in full rebuild modethey just added a 50-point scorer to the team in Thomas Vanek. But will this really matter? Probably not. That’s why the Canucks are uber-longshots to win the division at +12500 or 125 to 1.

 

The Golden Knights

The first professional sports franchise in Vegas will be able to ride on exactly that fact for the inaugural season, at least. The Knights ate 180 to 1 just to win the division so basically, the expectations are very low. And being the first pro sports team to ever grace the city of Las Vegas, if the team plays hard and looks pretty while losing –because lose, they will—the fans will be happy and the franchise will improve. Just play hard Knights..

 

Pacific Division Standings Prediction

  1. Oilers
  2. Ducks
  3. Sharks
  4. Flames
  5. Kings
  6. Coyotes
  7. Canucks
  8. Golden Knights

 

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34 Responses to "Pacific Division Preview"

  1. digger50 says:

    Nice. Bonus Lowetide.

    I hope Arizona surprises “a little”

    Hope the Ducks take so many penalties due to thier style that they drop down to fourth.

  2. Lowetide says:

    I fear Arizona is going to surprise ‘a lot’ to be honest. 🙂

  3. SwedishPoster says:

    Filip Berglund played 16 minutes on the third pairing in Skellefteås first SHL game of the season. They won 2-1 and he was -1, not his doing though. Didn’t see th game but the consensus seems to be that while last season he looked like a young player trying to keep up with the big boys, this season he looks like an actual real live SHL player, not dominant but looking like he belongs. Which is progress and a good point to start, hopefully we can see some in season developement when he feels more comfortable.

  4. GMB3 says:

    Lowetide:
    I fear Arizona is going to surprise ‘a lot’ to be honest.

    Me too! Chayka has made some astute moves. Not sure how their forward depth shakes up compared to the rest of the division but they have a nice looking top 4 and I think Raanta could be their Cam Talbot

  5. druds1 says:

    San Jose is eventually going to collapse just like LA did ….When is the only question.

  6. GMB3 says:

    What is everyone’s take on the faceoff violation penalty? I didn’t really understand it.

  7. Lowetide says:

    SwedishPoster:
    Filip Berglund played 16 minutes on the third pairing in Skellefteås first SHL game of the season. They won 2-1 and he was -1, not his doing though. Didn’t see th game but the consensus seems to be that while last season he looked like a young player trying to keep up with the big boys, this season he looks like an actual real live SHL player, not dominant but looking like he belongs. Which is progress and a good point to start, hopefully we can see some in season developement when he feels more comfortable.

    This is gold, and I thank you.

  8. SwedishPoster says:

    Lowetide,

    My pleasure. Had a chance to watch the highlights and I’d argue he could have done a better job on the GA. My buddy was a little kind to him when claiming he was without blame. Did well defending a zone entry with a Larssonesque hip check but ended up on the wrong side of the guy scoring the goal on a lucky bounce, not a big mistake but he should have gotten back in a better position after his first hit. Still a minor thing.

  9. Georges says:

    Wow. The Pacific Division, excluding EDM, is terrible.

  10. Mariusz Czerkawski says:

    In my opinion the ducks could be a team that gets off to a slow start if they aren’t careful. Trying to recall all the injuries they have to start the year but i believe both kesler and vatanen are out until christmas, and theodore who seemed to be the primary call up is in Vegas. Lindholm is hurt too no?

    They draft so well and are a deep team, but still something that’ll be interesting to follow.

  11. linkfromhyrule says:

    digger50: Hope the Ducks take so many penalties due to thier style that they drop down to fourth.

    Yeah the Ducks will suffer greatly if the league actually continues to call penalties the way they have been. Past history says this likely won’t happen, but we can dream.

  12. jtblack says:

    Mariusz Czerkawski,

    You are right. All out til Mid Nov at best. Kesler til Christmas. Big holes to fill.

    I think Calgary could be a bit higher. But Edm is now in prime position to win the Division ….. for years to come

  13. linkfromhyrule says:

    Georges:
    Wow. The Pacific Division, excluding EDM, is terrible.

    Yep. Oilers and Flames are the only teams which will definitely be decent for the next 5 years.

    The Ducks are teetering on the edge but will likely be near the top for the next season or two. They have some ugly contracts once players start getting old.

    The Sharks and LA are already headed downhill to join Vancouver, Arizona, and now Vegas in the basement.

    We have the benefit of good timing with our division!

  14. Jethro Tull says:

    Hoping the ‘Yotes make the playoffs at the expense of the Ducks.

    I miss the Boobs Behind Tippett. (Google it)

    We want the Rockets Behind Tocchet.

    Joking aside, Arizona could join the Oilers atop the division if the wheels fall off another team.

  15. McSorley33 says:

    Regarding the Ducks -Kesler is 33.

    Getzlaf 32

    Perry 32

    Corey played the full 82 games last year and scored 19 goals.

    IMO, both Perry and Kesler are slowing down speed wise. Of course, the young deep D
    can carry them far still…..but the decline has started Kesler and Perry.

    Lots of hard miles on Perry and Getzlaf international and playoff …

  16. Georges says:

    Jethro Tull:
    Hoping the ‘Yotes make the playoffs at the expense of the Ducks.

    I miss the Boobs Behind Tippett. (Google it)

    We want the Rockets Behind Tocchet.

    Joking aside, Arizona could join the Oilers atop the division if the wheels fall off another team.

    I Googled Arizona Coyotes roster instead.

    Who are those forwards? Is that group better than Vegas?

  17. leadfarmer says:

    Lowetide:
    I fear Arizona is going to surprise ‘a lot’ to be honest.

    Curious what you mean by a lot. They will take a small step forward but they have a whole lot of youth and inexperience in a lot of key areas of their forward corps. They will have some growing pains this year

  18. leadfarmer says:

    What the LA Kings have managed to do is pretty impressive. It’s hard to have a #1 C, 1 D and #1 G and be a noncontender.

  19. Jethro Tull says:

    Georges: I Googled Arizona Coyotes roster instead.

    Who are those forwards? Is that group better than Vegas?

    Are you kidding? With adding big summer signing Jason Demers, this team is legit.

    LOL, granted they don’t have any superstars, so whereas some teams do defense by committee, this team will do offense by committee.

    You could actually make a pretty competitive team mixing the two together. I wonder if it ever crossed Gary’s mind to move the Dogs to Vegas……….

  20. Professor Q says:

    GMB3:
    What is everyone’s take on the faceoff violation penalty? I didn’t really understand it.

    Hopefully this means no more Kesler Tackles.

  21. Professor Q says:

    Jethro Tull: Are you kidding?With adding big summer signing Jason Demers, this team is legit.

    LOL, granted they don’t have any superstars, so whereas some teams do defense by committee, this team will do offense by committee.

    You could actually make a pretty competitive team mixing the two together.I wonder if it ever crossed Gary’s mind to move the Dogs to Vegas……….

    I think Domi, Dvorak, and Strome are going to surprise you.

  22. OriginalPouzar says:

    What the heck? Mid-day entry?

    I don’t like change. I like routine and regimen.

  23. OriginalPouzar says:

    Oilers should battle the Ducks for the division title although I think they are on the outside of the race to start – with that said, the Ducks have three material injuries to start the season (Vatanen, Lindolm and Kessler) – if they weather that storm, the division is likely theirs.

    I can see the Oilers finishing ahead of the Ducks if they stay as healthy as last year (which they are already aren’t). On the other hand, one injury to the top pairing D and I can see a fight for a wild card spot.

    They need a good start – the schedule at the beginning of the year is favorable, not easy, favorable – if they are reading their own press clippings, and get off to a slow start, I fear they will be fighting for their playoff lives.

    On that other hand, this team could win the conference.

  24. geowal says:

    Lt: you gave us the Vegas odds of everyone but the Oil it seems? Thx

  25. leadfarmer says:

    Professor Q: I think Domi, Dvorak, and Strome are going to surprise you.

    You missed the best of the bunch in Keller. Their problem is not that they have those players, their problem is breaking them all in at the same time
    The coyotes team has way more offensive firepower than Vegas. I don’t think scoring will be their issue. They’re going to have the same issues that a lot of young teams have. Missed defensive assignments and inconsistency.

  26. Bank Shot says:

    Professor Q: I think Domi, Dvorak, and Strome are going to surprise you.

    They have 7 forwards 22 and younger on their starting roster. None of these kids are of the superstar variety either.

    Where is the shelter?

    Their only veteran of any quality is Stepan.

    I think that is a recipe for disaster.

    IMO they will be worse than Vancouver.

  27. godot10 says:

    Lowetide:
    I fear Arizona is going to surprise ‘a lot’ to be honest.

    Would have surprised more if Nelson were coach instead of Tocchet. They will still probably surprise.

    It looks like Nelson will have to settle for an cap-mismanaged undermanned Red Wings squad a year from now.

  28. godot10 says:

    GMB3:
    What is everyone’s take on the faceoff violation penalty? I didn’t really understand it.

    We have McDavid and Draisaitl on the power play. The more penalties the better. Call the damn rulebook. Been saying this for years. Don’t need to change the rules, just call the existing ones.

  29. godot10 says:

    Mariusz Czerkawski:
    In my opinion the ducks could be a team that gets off to a slow start if they aren’t careful. Trying to recall all the injuries they have to start the year but i believe both kesler and vatanen are out until christmas, and theodore who seemed to be the primary call up is in Vegas. Lindholm is hurt too no?

    They draft so well and are a deep team, but still something that’ll be interesting to follow.

    Vatanen, Lindholm, and Kesler are all out, with only Vatanen likely to return before January. They will be a late arriving team this year.

  30. PokeCheck says:

    godot10: We have McDavid and Draisaitl on the power play.The more penalties the better.Call the damn rulebook.Been saying this for years.Don’t need to change the rules, just call the existing ones.

    I’m pretty sure that he’s asking what the actual infraction is that’s being called. It was a total mystery call to me in last night’s webcast, and I imagine it is for most other people.

  31. John Chambers says:

    Bank Shot,

    AZ’s d-corps is better than Edmonton’s and arguably one of the better ones in the div:

    OEL – Hjalmarsson
    Googlioski- Demers
    Chykrn – Shenn

    Their problem (in the short term) will be scoring as only Stepan and Domi have put up quality NHL seasons, but they do have Dylan Strome and Clayton Keller who I think will both be quality scorers … in time.

    Ranta is a goalie I’ve liked for a while now too.

  32. godot10 says:

    PokeCheck: I’m pretty sure that he’s asking what the actual infraction is that’s being called. It was a total mystery call to me in last night’s webcast, and I imagine it is for most other people.

    They have lines on the ice and in the face off circle for a reason.

  33. digger50 says:

    If the refs actually call the rule book, Kessler might as well stay on the bench.

  34. russ99 says:

    I wouldn’t count out the Ducks, Carlyle is a crafty bastard and their injured players will be back in time for the refs to forget about the rule changes

    I’ll go with:

    Oilers
    Ducks
    Kings
    Flames
    Sharks
    Coyotes
    Knights
    Canucks

    Good possibility for three teams to make the playoffs from the Pacific this year.

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