| Pacific Division Power Rankings
Are you in or out?
|11/27/15 - By Ryan Hall -
Thanksgiving is upon us, and with it the time to
stop and reflect on all that we have to be grateful for. However, that doesn't
make for a very fun articles, so instead we're going to indulge in another
Turkey Day tradition - no, not camping out to get first dibs on the Black
Friday sales. I mean we're going to take a look forward and predict which teams
from the Pacific division are going to qualify for the postseason.
Conventional wisdom tells us that the majority of teams in a playoff spot on
Thanksgiving will end up making the postseason. While there is always some
teams that shock the hockey world (looking at you Ottawa), there is something
to be said for these early projections. So, without further ado, let's see what
the future holds.
#1 - San Jose Sharks (IN)
honest: I didn't see this coming. Over the course of 10 days the Sharks have
blindsided everyone with a perfect road trip which has vaulted them to the top
of Pacific standings. Contributions are starting to come from all over the
roster, but the biggest difference maker has been on the back-end where Martin
Jones has been rock solid, and Brent Burns has added 8 goals. Though I'm still
wary, at this point the Sharks look like a post-season squad.
#2 - Los Angeles King (IN)
The Kings are a
streaky team, starting the year cold, going on a tear, and now slowing down
again. Still, they appear to have enough horsepower to compete with anyone in
the division, and it's tough to make a case against LA that doesn't include an
unforeseen catastrophe. There is still some areas of the game that could be
cleaned up, plus Milan Lucic and Dustin Brown remain ticking time bombs, but
I'm satisfied enough to call it: LA will be in the playoffs.
#3 - Arizona Coyotes (OUT)
Even though they
are only 1 point behind Vancouver for 3rd in the Pacific, I just don't believe
the Coyotes have enough to stand the test of time. As good as they have played
so far, they still are a minus team, and I can't see them turning that stat
around. Until they do, I refuse to believe a squad that allows more than it
scores will nail down a playoff spot. Sorry Desert Dogs.
#4 - Vancouver Canucks (IN)
Let's make one thing
clear right off the bat: the Canucks haven't been playing great hockey as of
late. Sure, they had a nice comeback win over the Blackhawks, but otherwise
they have looked pedestrian at best. Still, unlike everyone below them in the
standings, Vancouver scores more than they allow, which tells me they'll do
just enough to sneak in to the post-season.
Last Ranking: 4
#5 - Edmonton Oilers (OUT)
pick'em territory now as Ducks, Flames, and Oilers are only 3 points apart.
Still, if you can believe it, the Oilers have been playing the best hockey of
the bunch if you look at work ethic, improvement, and goal differential. I'm
not sure if that's a compliment to Edmonton, or a damning indictment of the
other clubs, but right now the Oilers are the 5th best team in the division.
Sadly, the injury to McDavid has probably cost them a shot at the playoffs, but
at least there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Last Ranking: 5
#6 - Anaheim Ducks (OUT)
In hindsight, I should have
seen this coming. Last season the Ducks thrived in one goal games; so much so I
forgot that no squad can keep that up over the long haul. Still, who would have
thought the Ducks would trail Arizona in the Pacific division, and be tied with
Toronto and Buffalo in points. Even worse, the Leafs and Sabres both have
better offenses, and are a saw-off defensively. It's a dark time in Anaheim,
and baring a miracle they'll be watching the playoffs on TV come April.
Last Ranking: 7
#7 - Calgary Flames (OUT)
Technically, the Flames have been better than the Ducks and Oilers over the
past 10 games. Also, they've actually scored 12 more goals than Anaheim, and
sit middle of the pack in most offensive numbers. The problem has been on the
back-end, which was supposed to be a position of strength for Calgary, where
they've allowed a league worst 75 goals in 21 games. When you need to score 4
times each night to have a shot at winning, you're in for a long offseason.
Last Ranking: 6
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