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Pacific Division Power Rankings #5
Mid-season Report Cards Edition
1/19/16 - By Ryan Hall -

The time when high school students are frantically preparing for semester change over, and the NHL reaches its midway point. While everyone has 'room for improvement' the hard work of several clubs is starting to pay dividends, even as others are regretting some of their life choices. There's still time to make up lost ground though, even as the dividing line between valedictorian and dropout is coming into clearer focus.

#1 - Los Angeles Kings (A)

Like the rich kid who keeps getting new toys, the Kings added two pieces to their roster when they acquired Luke Schenn and Vincent Lecavalier. These players add depth to the roster, essentially are luxury items, because LA simply doesn't any holes. Whether you love 'em or loath 'em it's impossible to give the Kings anything but top marks so far.

Last Ranking: 1

#2 - Arizona Coyotes (A+)

I nearly put the Coyotes at the top of this list as their success has in many ways been the most astounding and impressive. No matter what adversity comes their way, Arizona has found a way to overcome; such as through the emergence of goaltender Louis Domingue who's more then held the fort in place of the inured Mike Smith. No one knows where this ride is going to end, but for now, come up to the front of the class Arizona, you've earned it!

Last Ranking: 4

#3 - San Jose Sharks (C+)

You know, it's been said the majority of classrooms have one or two great students, one or two struggling learners, and everyone else is just middle of the pack. Well, that certainly describes the Pacific Division as there really isn't anything to choose between the Sharks, Canucks, and Flames. San Jose gets the nod at #3 simply due to better play as of late. The team is still Jekyll and Hyde, with question marks all over the place: the biggest one being "what the heck is up on home ice?"

Last Ranking: 5

#4 - Vancouver Canucks (C)

You could make a case that the Canucks are exactly where they are supposed to be based on the make-up of their roster. A middle of the pack club who can surprise a top team every once in a while, there's nothing special about the game they play. Surprisingly, it's hard to pin-point what exactly is holding them back, leaving the nagging suspicion that they're just a middling squad.

Last Ranking: 6

#5 - Calgary Flames (C)

Okay, by this point we know what the Flames are: a team that relies far too much on Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau. Even worse, they can't seem to keep the puck out of their net, meaning it's close games every night. While you can pass classes getting 50-60% on every assignment, it's hard to make the NHL playoffs when you're just barely skating along with a .500 winning percentage. Time to shape up Calgary, or else you'll never amount to anything.

Last Ranking: 2

#6 - Edmonton Oilers (C-)

I've put the Oilers here because improvement needs to count for something, right? From where they were last season, to where they are today, is like night and day. Sure, they still lose too many games, but at last there are signs that this young squad is starting to 'get it'. Right now, they're focused on learning to play team defense, but once this foundational skill is mastered Edmonton will officially graduate from remedial coursework and join the general Pacific population.

Last Ranking: 3

#7 - Anaheim Ducks (D+)

Believe it or not, the Ducks are actually trending upwards! By points alone they could be higher in the rankings, but with the talent on their roster they are still underachieving. Don't believe me? Through 41 games Anaheim has scored 78 goals. 78. Also known as 1.9 per game. You can't win requiring your goaltender to allow 1 or fewer goals per game. If that isn't mind boggling enough, they've only allowed 99 so far, which is 2nd in the league. That's right, the 2nd best defensive club in the NHL is -21 in goal differential. Maybe it's time the Ducks started taking this hockey thing seriously instead of spending all their time making advanced analytics people cry.

Last Ranking: 7


Contact Ryan at at ryanhall@letsgosharks.com



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