Pacific Division Notebook: Golden Knights having no Stanley Cup hangover, Sharks still winless, and more
Photo credit:© Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
25 days ago
After the first calendar month of the season has come to an end, it’s time to take a look at how the Pacific Division is looking. Who has been the best team in the division? Who are the biggest surprises? How are the tankers doing?
Vegas Golden Knights’ October: 9-0-1
The defending Stanley Cup champions have been the best team in the league through the first ten games this season.
They have yet to be defeated in regulation, finishing the month with a record of 9-0-1, with 38 goals for and 22 goals against. They are perfect on the road with four wins and no losses, while they are 5-0-1 at home.
Their leading point-getter is William Karlsson, who has three goals and 11 points in 10 games, with Shea Theodore (three goals, 10 points) and Jack Eichel (three goals, 10 points) just behind him. Goaltender Adin Hill has started 60% of their games, posting a 5-0-1 record with a .923 save percentage and a 2.11 goals-against average. Logan Thompson has started the other four games, going 4-0-0 with a .931 save percentage and a 2.21 goals-against average.
The Knights already have 19 points, which is 14 more than what the Oilers have through their first eight games.
Vancouver Canucks’ October: 6-2-1
Vancouver has been one of the biggest surprises in all of hockey through the first few weeks of play.
In those eight games, they are 6-2-1 with 38 goals for and 22 goals against for a +15 goal differential. They are 3-0-1 at home and 3-2-0 away. They beat the Oilers twice to open their season.
Their hot start has been led by Elias Pettersson, who has five goals and 16 points in nine games thus far. J.T. Miller is a close second with five goals and 13 points in those nine games, while Brock Boeser already has six goals and 10 points in nine games. However, four of these goals came on opening night, meaning he has just two goals in his last eight games.
As for goaltending, Thatcher Demko has been strong so far, posting a 4-2-0 record with a .935 save percentage and a 1.92 goals-against average. Casey DeSmith has had a solid start to his season, owning a 2-0-1 record with a .914 save percentage and a 2.76 goals-against average.
We’ll see if the Canucks can continue this throughout the season.
Los Angeles Kings’ October: 5-2-2
Los Angeles is in third place in the division, which has been where they’ve finished the past two seasons.
In nine games so far this season, Los Angeles has a 5-2-2 record with 39 goals for and 31 goals against. Their home record currently sits at 1-2-2, while they have a perfect 4-0-0 on the road.
Kevin Fiala is leading the team in points, only scoring one goal but assisting on 11 of them for 12 points in nine games. Anže Kopitar and Adrian Kempe are tied with nine points each, while their big acquisition, Pierre-Luc Dubois, has three goals and six points.
Former Oiler Cam Talbot has started the majority of the Kings’ games and has been the better goaltender. In his seven games, he has a 4-2-1 record with a .914 save percentage and a 2.47 goals-against average. Phoenix Copley has started their three other games and has a .788 save percentage and a 4.98 goals-against average.
It wouldn’t be surprising if the Oilers and the Kings have another first-round matchup come playoff time.
Anaheim Ducks’ October: 5-4-0
Are the Anaheim Ducks… good?
So far through nine games, the Ducks have a 5-4-0 record with 29 goals for and 27 goals against. They’ve only played three games at home and are 1-2-0, while their away record of 4-2-0 is significantly better.
It looks like it could be a breakout season for Mason McTavish, who has five goals and 11 points in nine games for the Ducks. Former Oiler Ryan Strome has also had a good start to his season, scoring two goals and 11 points in nine games. Defenceman Pavel Mintyukov has skipped the American Hockey League altogether, posting a goal and six points in nine games.
John Gibson and Lukas Dostal have split the playing time. The former has a 1-3-0 record with a .902 save percentage and a 2.82 goals-against average. While the latter, who is significantly younger, has a 4-1-0 record with a .921 save percentage and a 2.79 goals-against average. It wouldn’t be surprising if Dostal gets the lion’s share of games this season.
The Ducks may fade and end up near the bottom of the pack by season’s end, but they are coming.
Seattle Kraken’s October: 3-5-2
After making it to game seven of the Western Conference semifinals, the Kraken have had a tough start to the 2023-24 season. In their 10 games so far this season, they have a 3-5-2 record, allowing 34 goals and only scoring 24.
It seems to be scoring by committee once again for the Kraken, as Jaden Schwartz (four goals, eight points), Oliver Bjorkstrand (two goals, eight points) and Vince Dunn (one goal, eight points) lead the team in scoring. Matty Beniers has hit the sophomore slump, assisting on just three goals in 10 games. Furthermore, the Kraken have four former Oilers on their roster, Devin Shore has a goal in four games, Justin Schultz has a goal and an assist, Adam Larsson is pointless, and Jordan Eberle has a goal and three assists.
The Kraken have split goaltending duties 50/50 so far. Joey Daccord has been the better goaltender of the two tenders, owning a 2-1-2 record with a .912 save percentage and a 2.88 goals-against average. Philipp Grubauer has a 1-4-0 record with a .901 save percentage and a 3.00-goals-against average.
If the Kraken wishes to make it to the playoffs, goaltending is something that will have to improve.
Edmonton Oilers’ October: 2-5-1
This is an Oilers site, so you probably already know what’s happening.
Edmonton has a 2-5-1 record, with 22 goals for and 32 goals against. Their home record (1-2-1) is slightly better than the away record (1-3-0), but yikes nonetheless.
Leon Draisatil has been Edmonton’s best player so far this season, scoring four goals and 13 points in eight games. Connor McDavid missed a couple of games but still has two goals and nine points in six games. Zach Hyman and Evan Bouchard also have nine points, chipping in with three goals and six assists each.
Every team in the Pacific Division has at least one goaltender with a save percentage above .900… except for Edmonton. Jack Campbell has been the “better” of the two tendies, posting a 1-3-0 record with a .878 save percentage and a 4.35 goals against average. Stuart Skinner has a better record (1-2-1) and goals against average (3.51), but a worse save percentage (.863). They both need to be better.
There’s still plenty of time to figure it out, but Edmonton needs to get it going sooner rather than later if they want to think about the Pacific Division crown.
Calgary Flames’ October: 2-6-1
Things are even worse down the highway. The Calgary Flames have a 2-6-1 record, scoring only 19 goals and allowing 34 goals.
Andrew Mangiapane and Elias Lindholm lead the team in points, as both have six. Mangiapane leads the team in goals with six of them. Jonathan Huberdeau already has two goals on the season, meaning he needs just 13 more in the remaining 73 games to match the Calgary Flames high he set last season.
Although the Flames have a goaltender with a save percentage above .900, it’s been a weak spot for the team. Jacob Markstrom has started seven games and has a 1-5-1 record with a .901 save percentage and a 2.88 goals-against average. Daniel Vladar has started the other two games, going 1-1-0 with a .842 save percentage and a 4.51 goals-against average. Not great.
The Oilers may have had a rough start, but it’s nice to see the Flames struggling as well.
San Jose Sharks’ October: 0-8-1
The Sharks are in full tank mode, although it may be one season too late, as they missed out on Connor Bedard.
The Sharks are… finless… in their nine games played, finishing October with a record of 0-8-1 with just nine goals. Furthermore, they’ve allowed 35 goals, but goaltending has not been an issue.
Scoring evidently has, though. Tomáš Hertl leads the team in scoring with a goal and five points in nine games. Fabian Zetterlund has two goals and three points, while Filip Zadia is the only other multi-goal scorer. In terms of multi-point getters, Henry Thrun, Thomas Bordeleau, William Eklund, and Mario Ferraro all have two points on the season.
Edmonton’s goaltending has been awful, but San Jose’s has not been surprising. Mackenzie Blackwood has started six games, picking up five regulation losses and one overtime loss. Despite this, he has a .907 save percentage and a 3.83 goals-against average. Kaapo Kahkonen has played in four games, losing three of them, but still owns a .907 save percentage and a 3.16 goals-against average.
Will they ever win again? It’s hard to say. Buckle in Sharks fans, it’ll be a rough couple of seasons.
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