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 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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Canucks have been in full rebuild mode … they 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
- Golden Knights