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Pacific Division Power Rankings
By the Numbers Edition
2/5/17 - By Ryan Hall -

With the All-Star Game now in the rear view mirror, the NHL is heading into frantic Trade Deadline season, before the final stretch run to the postseason. Right now, teams have to decide if they are buyers or sellers, which means digging deep into the numbers to find the truth. While it has been said that stats can lie, they do offer an unique insight into the actual performance of a club, and provide the cold, hard truth that a Front Office needs to know in order to decide the best path forward. So, buckle up, as we go into the numbers to see how the Pacific Division stacks up internally, and with the rest of the league.

NOTE: Stats as of 8am, Feb 3/17

To start with, let's look at the Division as a whole, just to provide some context. As you can see below, the Pacific boasts the 2nd best winning percentage, while maintaining its reputation for low-scoring, defense-first style of play. While the Metro is far ahead of everyone, it appears that the Pacific is best positioned to give them a run come the post-season, when offense traditionally dries up and defense rules the day.

2nd in Winning Percentage 4th in Goals For 2nd in Goals Against
PACIFIC: 180-144-38 (.497) PACIFIC: 935 (Avg. 134/team) PACIFIC: 963 (Avg. 138/team)
CENTRAL: 173-147-39 (.482) CENTRAL: 998 (Avg. 143/team) CENTRAL: 1043 (Avg. 149/team)
ATLANTIC: 190-154-63 (.467) ATLANTIC: 1090 (Avg. 136/team) ATLANTIC: 1135 (Avg. 142/team)
METRO: 221-132-47 (.553) Metro: 1212 (Avg. 152/team) Metro: 1096 (Avg. 137/team)
But enough of the big picture, let's get down to the teams themselves:

#1) San Jose Sharks - 68 Points (4th in the NHL)

After 52 games the Sharks are the cream of the Pacific Division. Not only do the boast the best differential (+24), but they are also the hottest team, currently sporting an 8-2 record in their last 10 games. While the offense has struggled at times (2nd in the Pacific, but 18th overall), San Jose has locked down their own end allowing a paltry 118 goals against, good for tops in the division (3rd overall). Finally, the Sharks are currently on pace for 107 points (+9 compared to last season), and have done so while only collecting 2 OT loser points. In other words, this club is for real.

Last Ranking: #1

#2) Edmonton Oilers - 64 Points (10th in the NHL)

For more than a decade the Oilers wandered in the wilderness, before finally re-emerging onto the scene in a big way this season. While they've hit a rough patch since the All-star game, they remain the top scoring team in the division (8th overall), and have found a way to mask an improving, yet still average back-end (4th in GA in the Pacific, 12th overall). While they have collected 8 OT/SO losses, at this point it's hard to knock them, especially as they are on pace for a 29-point improvement over last season. If they hit their projected 99 points, this season can only be considered a success for the reborn Oilers.

Last Ranking: #2

#3) Anaheim Ducks - 65 Points (9th in the NHL)

The case could be made that the Ducks should be ranked higher than the Oilers as of today, by virtue of them currently have 1 more point and projected to finish 4 better (on pace for 103 points). However, if you look closer at the numbers, you see that Anaheim is holding things together by the skin of their teeth. The offense continues to sputter (3rd in the Pacific, 19th overall), and while their defensive zone play has been good (3rd in the division, 8th overall), they still only boast a +8 differential. This means it's been close games all year for the Ducks, who have also benefited from a whopping 9 OT loser points, tied for 2nd most in the league. The sum total is even though Anaheim is on pace to match last years 103 points, they aren't quite as threatening as they first appear.

Last Ranking: #3

#4) LA Kings - 56 Points (15th in the NHL)

For the better part of the season the Kings have bee a Jekyll and Hyde team. They'll win 3 games, then drop 4. Beat a top squad, before stumbling against inferior opponents. One excuse has been the injury to Jonathon Quick, yet surprisingly LA is still 2nd in the division in GA, and 5th overall. The more telling stat is the 131 goals scored, which is only good enough for 5th in the Pacific, and 22nd league wide. As a result, the Kings can't score their way out of trouble, and often find themselves struggling to put more than a single tally on the board. Unless that changes, they could be in danger as right now they project to finish with 90 points (-12 compared to last season), which is near the anticipated playoff cut-off point.

Last Ranking: #5

#5) Calgary Flames - 55 Points (18th in the NHL)

One word described the Flames: inconsistent. It seems like this club has never had its offense, defense, and goaltending all firing at the same time, which explains why they sit in the middle of the division, and league. Overall, Calgary has the 2nd best goal total in the Pacific (15th overall), is 6th in goals against (23rd overall), and finds themselves mired in the midst of a pedestrian 4-5-1 stretch. Nothing about them screams playoff contender, even though they do sit tied for the final Wildcard spot. In order to solidify themselves they'll need to play better all around, as their current 85 point pace simply won't be enough otherwise.

Last Ranking: #4

#6) Vancouver Canucks - 52 Points (22nd in the NHL)

For a while there it appeared that Vancouver was going to insert themselves into the playoff discussion. I'll admit that was also taken in by the hype, but when you look closely at the numbers you see that it just isn't going to happen for the Canucks. As a club they are -24, and sport the 6th best offense (27th overall) and 5th best (?) defense (15th overall) in the division; not hallmarks of sustainable success. While they are on pace to post 84 points (a 9-point improvement over last season), it simply isn't enough to make them a post-season qualifier.

Last Ranking: #6

#7 Arizona Coyotes - 38 Points (29th in the NHL)

I feel like I've taken just about every shot I can at the Desert Dogs this year. It's not hard as they rank dead last in the Pacific in goals for (29th overall), goals against (25th overall), differential (-46), and are in for a big drop off in points (-16 compared to last season). While their current pace of 62 points is abysmal, there is one thing they can hang their hat on: they aren't the Colorado Avalanche. The Avs are on pace for a whopping 48-point season, which would be the lowest 82 game total since the 1999-2000 Atlanta Thrashers. Rejoice Coyotes fans, it could always be worse!

Last Ranking: #7



Contact Ryan at at ryanhall@letsgosharks.com



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