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Pacific Division Power Rankings #6
Straight Shooting Edition
2/10/16 - By Ryan Hall -

There comes a time in any season where the blinders are removed, and you're simply left staring at reality. For some clubs this is a pleasant surprise, as it is evident that they are going to exceed expectations. Other teams though, well, they are left with the ugly truth that they just aren't very good. Even though the reasons for success and failure can be debated, argued about, and rehashed for hours, the inescapable truth is right there on the ice.

So, how do the teams of the Pacific Division stack up to a dose of hard reality? There doesn't appear to be any truly 'Great' teams, but that doesn't mean there aren't some 'Good' ones. Who would that be? It's time to find out!

#1 - Los Angeles Kings (Good)

Their grip on the top spot has been slipping the past few weeks, but nonetheless it's clear that the Kings are a solid team. They might not be flashy, and they still have moments when they struggle to score goals, however that shouldn't obscure the quality club Dean Lombardi has assembled. Whether they can keep tempers in check long enough to get deep into the playoffs remains to be seen though.

Last Ranking: 1

#2 - Anaheim Ducks (Good)

After starting slow, Anaheim has been red hot from Christmas onwards. They've managed to fill the net with more regularity, and that alone has been the reason why they've moved up the standings. It's unlikely they'll encounter another dry spell like they did in the first 1/3 of the season, which means the wins should continue to pile up.

Last Ranking: 7

#3 - San Jose Sharks (Almost Good)

The last month has really belonged to the California Teams, with the Sharks also finding their stride. Perhaps this should have been anticipated, as during an early season interview Peter DeBoer said he expected San Jose to struggle in 2015, before showing their true colours in the second half of the season. So far he's been right, with consistency finally seeping into the clubs game. If they can maintain it, that 'Almost' will disappear and the Sharks will officially be a good team.

Last Ranking: 3

#4 - Arizona Coyotes (Average)

Starting out strong, the Coyotes were able to surge up the standings, much to the surprise of most fans. However, their inexperience has been showing lately, and they've started to play to their actual abilities, which is decidedly average. If we were grading on potential Arizona would score much higher, but that'll have to wait for another Power Rankings.

Last Ranking: 2

#5 - Calgary Flames (Below Average)

Blessed with a sublimely talented first line, and a clutch top D pairing, Calgary boasts little else of note. The depth on the club remains mostly non-existent, with checkers and grinders relied upon to step up when their stars get shut down. Add in sub-par goaltending, and Calgary is not a very good team. Not terrible, just not very good.

Last Ranking: 5

#6 - Vancouver Canucks (Below Average)

While there is more top end talent in Vancouver then in Calgary, the Canucks are in the same boat: good enough to compete, not good enough to win. While they might get hot and win a couple games in a row, they inevitably follow that with a stumble, which is why they're mired in the bottom half of the division. The question is: will the Canucks embrace being below average and sell at the deadline, or will they barter their future for a stab at the playoffs?

Last Ranking: 4

#7 - Edmonton Oilers (Below Average)

Last place is a familiar spot for the Oilers. Unlike previous seasons though they aren't last place by a mile, and in fact they are only a couple points out of 6th. Heady times for E-town indeed! The most important reason for this stride forward is that the Oilers finally are icing an NHL calibre team, with legitimate pros at every spot in the lineup. Plus, with Todd McClellan behind the bench, ice time is determined by effort and results, not granted like a privilege to under-performing youngsters. It's a small step, but it's why Edmonton is only 'Below Average' and not 'Awful'

Last Ranking: 6


Contact Ryan at at ryanhall@letsgosharks.com



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