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Pacific Division Power Rankings #3
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)

I'll be 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.

Last Ranking: 2

#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.

Last Ranking: 1

#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.

Last Ranking: 3

#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)

We're in 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


Contact Ryan at at ryanhall@letsgosharks.com



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