I apologize for the long break between predictions, but I am back! With the last division to do, the Pacific division! As always I will be breaking it up into 3 categories, Out of playoffs, Wild Card Hunt, and Division title hunt. Again as always follow me on twitter (@nhlsensandstuff) or let me know what you think here! If you haven’t read my other 3 divisions from August you can do that too! Hope you enjoy.
Out of Playoffs
8. Las Vegas Golden Knights
7. Vancouver Canucks
Safe to say these teams will both be pretty bad this year. The Knights have chosen the route of tanking for the first couple of years and outside of Fleury they have no real stars to rely on this year. They have some decent pieces like James Neal and Theodore however I would be shocked if they are not in the hunt for a Rasmus Dahlin this year. Same said with Vancouver, they actually made some solid additions in the offseason adding Gagne and Del Zotto and Vanek. Unfortunately they added them for the wrong reasons, those pieces would be good on 1 year deals to flip at the deadline to a contending team. Vancouver still seems to think they are said contending team. Either way, other than Tanev that defense is a mess, the Sedins can’t drag this team any longer, and their rookies are not going to be good enough to pick up the slack.. These guys will probably be a bottom feeder.
Wild Card Hunt
6. Arizona Coyotes
5. LA Kings
4. San Jose Sharks
I don’t really see Arizona making playoffs this year, but MAN are they ever going to be better. Probably the winners of the offseason (maybe 2nd after Dallas). Stealing Hjalmarsson from the Hawks for almost nothing, along with Stephan and Raanta from the Rangers, ALONG with Demers from the Panthers. Add some good looking rookies into the mix and you have what should be a legit competitive team, I for once don’t think they will be a lottery favourite this year, and may actually surprise a couple teams. As for LA, they are the advanced stats god's, problem is they don’t have anyone who can really score. I don’t think they really did anywhere near enough to fix that this year, and they have some bad contracts on that team wow. However guys like Doughty and Kopitar are more than good enough to carry this team to a wildcard spot, but i would be surprised if they got more than that. As for San Jose, they continue their slow decline, signing Thornton for another year is massive he still probably the best playmaker in the game. Losing Marleau is a stinger, but not the worst thing in the world, overall I just don’t see these guys being a top 3 in this strong division, but they will definitely compete for a wildcard.
Division Title Hunt
3. Calgary Flames
2. Anaheim Ducks
1. Edmonton Oilers
Calgary would be sick, if they could find a legit goalie. I am not very confident with Smith and Lack, but this D core is one of the best in the league, and the forward core isn’t too shabby either. Overall I think these guys should probably be the #3 team in this division, but it all really depends on goaltending. Anaheim I would have had as #1, but to start the year they have, Getzlaf, Kesler, Vatanen, Lindholm, Eaves and Miller all hurt. Some shouldn’t be out for long, others will be longer so this team will not be at full strength for a while. This is why I see them coming 2nd, however come playoffs if they are healthy they should be a legit threat for the Cup in my opinion. As for the 1 seed, it goes to Connor McDavid, errr I mean… The Edmonton Oilers. With McDavid (who has a hattrick already after one game) it’s impossible not to be near the top of the division. Add in some real good goaltending from Talbot and some help up front from RNH and Draisaitl and they should win this division. I hated the Strome trade, I think they lost that but literally just another year of the already 100 point scorer McDavid probably getting BETTER is all you really need. The d core is not great but it’ll do, Klefbom is very good and even though I still don’t think he was worth Hall, Larsson is solid as well. They will need some help from guys like Nurse to strengthen it but for the regular season I think they should be fine.
Those are my picks for the Pacific this year, what do you think? Send me a tweet or leave a comment! Hope you enjoy and check back soon for more content. Now lets watch some hockey!
My name is Alex, this is my page, all thoughts are mine and feel free to comment on what you think! Enjoy!