Pacific Division Notebook: Golden Knights, Kings, and Canucks remain on top, Ducks start to slide

Photo credit:© Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
6 months ago
There has been some movement in the standings since the last Pacific Division Notebook.
The Vancouver Canucks remain surprisingly good, the Seattle Kraken and Calgary Flames have started to move up, the San Jose Sharks are still awful, the Anaheim Ducks have cooled off, and the Vegas Golden Knights and L.A. Kings both look like contenders. Let’s take a look at the Pacific Division.

Vegas Golden Knights:

14-5-2, 69 goals for, 50 goals against
The Vegas Golden Knights are leading the Pacific Division, but just barely. So far this season, they have 30 points, only one ahead of the following two teams.
William Karlsson and Jack Eichel are leading the team in points with 20, while Shea Theodore, Mark Stone, Jonathan Marchessault, Chandler Stephenson, and Mike Amadio all are in double digits. The leading goal scorer is the 2023 Conn Smythe winner Marchessault, who is also tied with Karlsson with nine goals.
On top of a pretty good skater core, Vegas benefits from two starting calibre goaltenders. Adin Hill has played in 12 games and has a .932 save percentage and a 1.97 goals-against average and is 9-2-1. Logan Thompson has played in nine games and has a .922 save percentage and a 2.32 goals-against average and is 5-3-1.
Although they had a hot start to their season, Vegas’ position at the top of the Pacific Division isn’t secured.

Los Angeles Kings:

13-3-3, 76 goals for, 47 goals against
Here’s a fun fact for you: The Los Angeles Kings have played in nine road games and haven’t lost one of them. Over their last 10, they are 8-1-1.
Like Vegas, Los Angeles has two 20-point getters, as Adrian Kempe and Kevin Fiala both have 20 points on the season. However, Trevor Moore and Anže Kopitar follow by just one point. Moreover, Quinton Byfield, Phillip Danault, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Arthur Kaliyev, and Drew Doughty all have double digit points. Moore leads the team in goals with 11, and Kopitar also has 10 goals.
Former Oiler Cam Talbot has had a terrific start to his season, posting a .931 save percentage and a 2.02 goals-against average in 14 games. Phoenix Copley has been good over his last two starts as well, saving 48 of 49 shots and picking up a shutout. His save percentage has now jumped to an .868.
If I had to put a wager on who’d be crowned the Pacific Division champs at the end of the season, it’d be Los Angeles.

Vancouver Canucks:

14-7-1, 88 goals for, 56 goals against
The three-way tie for the leader in points is over for the Canucks.
Despite that, the Canucks still have the highest-scoring team in the league with 88 goals, 10 more than the next leading team, Tampa Bay. Defenceman Quinn Hughes and forward J.T. Miller sits tied for second in points with 33, and Elias Pettersson has 29, which is tied for sixth in the league. If that’s not enough, Brock Boeser is looking like the player he was supposed to be as he’s tied with Nikita Kucherov in goals with 15. Defenceman Filip Hronek has two goals and 22 points in 22 games as well.
It feels as if the Canucks are taking over Edmonton’s role of being the high scoring Pacific Division team, but actually have an elite goaltender. Thatcher Demko has a .925 save percentage and a 2.18 goals-against average in 15 games played, along with a 10-5-0 record.
They may cool off, but the Canucks will be a problem for years to come.

Seattle Kraken:

8-9-5, 62 goals for, 78 goals against
Now we get to the sub-.500 teams of the Pacific Division, with the first one being the Seattle Kraken.
The Kraken’s two best players this season have been Oliver Bjorkstrand and defenceman Vince Dunn, both of whom have 19 points. Jarden McCann leads the team in goals with nine. Furthermore, the Kraken have a ton of former Oilers on the team: Jordan Eberle has three goals and 11 points, Justin Schultz has two goals and eight points, Kailer Yamamoto has three goals and six points, Adam Larsson has one goal and four points, and Devin Shore has a goal and an assist in nine games.
Like Edmonton, Seattle’s goaltending hasn’t been good this season. Joey Daccord has played in 12 games and has an .895 save percentage and a 2.99 goals-against average. Philipp Grubauer has played in the same amount of games, but has an .885 save percentage and a 3.36 goals-against average.
With 21 points on the season, the Kraken are the team the Oilers are currently chasing down for the final wild card position.

Calgary Flames:

8-10-3, 62 goals for, 74 goals against
Calgary has started to play better, which is rather unfortunate for Oiler fans.
Still, this team lacks a true superstar as Elias Lindholm leads the team in points with 15. They have quite a few players in double digit points, such as Andrew Mangiapane (13), Nazem kadri (13), Jonathan Huberdeau (13), Blake Coleman (12), Rasmus Andersson (11), Yegor Sharangovich (10), Mikael Backlund (10), MacKenzie Weegar (10), and Noah Hanifin (10). With that being said, the team still isn’t great.
Goaltending has also been a problem for the Flames this season. Jacob Markstrom has started 14 games for the Flames this year and has a .901 save percentage and a 2.93 goals-against average. Daniel Vladar has started six, and has an .869 save percentage and a 3.60 goals-against average.
They sit two points behind the Kraken for the final wild card spot.

Anaheim Ducks:

9-11-0, 56 goals for, 65 goals against
I mean this shouldn’t be a shock to anyone, but the Ducks have lost five straight and look to be heading down to the basement.
There are still some positives to the Ducks season, however. Mason McTavish has broken out to be one of the best players on the team, scoring 10 goals and 21 points in 20 games. Frank Vatrano leads the team in goals with 13 (two behind the NHL lead) and has 20 points. Former Oiler Ryan Strome has two goals and 15 points as well. They’re without Trevor Zegras as he’s out with an injury, but in 12 games this year he only has two points anyway.
John Gibson has fully taken over the crease, owning a .914 save percentage and 2.64 goals-against average in 13 games. Lukáš Dostál had a hot start to his season, but has allowed 13 goals on 73 shots over his last two games played. Prior to these two saves, Dostál has a .920 save percentage, but it now sits at .893.
This may not be the Ducks’ season, but they’re coming.

Edmonton Oilers:

6-12-1, 58 goals for, 72 goals against
Ah, now we move on to the protagonist of the story, the Edmonton Oilers.
Aside from like four Canucks players, Draisaitl is leading the Pacific Division in points with eight goals and 26 points in 19 games. Even though Connor McDavid is potentially hurt, he has six goals and 20 points in 17 games. Evander Kane (nine goals, 17 points) and Zach Hyman (10 goals, 19 points) have been incredibly useful in the top six, as too has Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (four goals, 17 points). Evan Bouchard has been killing it offensively with five goals and 19 points.
Still, the Oilers lack depth aside from their stars, as no one other player has 10 points. Warren Foegele is the closest with three goals and eight points, but he’s played quite a few minutes in the top six and only has eight points to show for it.
Goaltending as you know, has been awful. Stuart Skinner has played better over his last six games, posting a .904 save percentage even while allowing nine goals on 35 goals in two of those games. However, he has an .875 save percentage and a 3.37 goals-against average.
Fun fact, the Oilers have only two players with a positive plus/minus; Cody Cei (2), and Adam Erne (1).

San Jose Sharks:

4-15-2, 34 goals for, 89 goals against
And now we come to the Sharks.
The good news is that they beat the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday by the score of 4-3. Tomáš Hertl has four goals and 16 points and is the only double-digit point getter on the team. Get this man out off this team!
Somehow, the Sharks goaltending situation is better than Edmonton’s, as Mackenzie Blackwood has an .897 save percentage and a 3.80 goals-against average in 15 games played. Kaapo Kahkonen has an .889 save percentage and a 4.12 goals-against average in nine games.
I truly hope that they get the first overall pick this season.

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