Pacific Division Notebook: The top three teams are pulling away, more Calgary Flames trade rumours, and more

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
6 months ago
A lot has changed since our last Pacific Division Notebook.
Edmonton’s win streak has ended, Vegas is hot again, and the top three teams in the division are starting to pull away from the rest of the pack. Let’s dive in.

Vegas Golden Knights:

21-6-5, 113 goals for, 81 goals against
I don’t know about you, but I miss the one season that Vegas missed the playoffs. The reigning champs are looking dominant this season.
Jack Eichel leads the way in scoring with 14 goals and 36 points in 32 games, while defensive forward Mark Stone has 10 goals and 32 points in the same amount of games. Reigning Conn Smythe Trophy Winner Jonathan Marchessault leads the team in goals with 15, while William Karlsson had 14 goals and 29 points.
Adin Hill has been the better of the two netminders, as he has a .933 save percentage and a 1.93 goals against average, as well a 10-2-2 record in 15 games. Logan Thompson has appeared in 18 games, and has a 10-4-3 record with a .911 save percentage and a 2.48 goals-against average.
Can they be stopped?

Vancouver Canucks:

21-9-2, 120 goals for, 79 goals against
What do you get when you mix Oiler-calibre offence with good goaltending? You get the Canucks start to the season.
At one point, there were three Canucks players at the top of the league in scoring. While that isn’t the case anymore, J.T. Miller is third in league scoring with 45 points, while both Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson are tied for ninth with 39 points each. If that’s not enough, Brock Boeser’s 23 goals are tied for the most in the league with Auston Matthews. He’s found another gear this season.
Vancouver’s goaltending has also been terrific this season. Thatcher Demko has played the majority of their games and has a 16-7-0 record with a .921 save percentage and a 2.34 goals-against average in 23 games played. Back-up netminder Casey DeSmith has a 5-2-2 record with a .923 save percentage and a 2.39 goals-against average in 10 games played.
They’ve made a competitive division even more competitive.

Los Angeles Kings:

17-6-4, 97 goals for, 67 goals against
The Kings might be a lot tougher to beat when the playoffs kick off in four months.
Unlike the Canucks (first in scoring) and the Golden Knights (second in scoring), they aren’t an offensive juggernaut as they only have 97 goals, tied for 11th in the league. Several players are tied for the team lead in points, with ageless wonder Anže Kopitar, Adrian Kempe, and Kevin Fiala leading the pack. Trevor Moore leads the team in scoring with 14 goals, while Kopitar is the only other double-digit goal-getter with 12.
Where the Kings have excelled this season is with not allowing goals, as their 67 goals against is the fewest in the league. Former Oiler Cam Talbot is a big part of this, as he has a 13-5-2 record with a .926 save percentage and a 2.02 goals-against average. He’s an early candidate for the Vezina Trophy.
Interestingly, the Kings are only 5-5-3 at home, but they are a force when they are away. So far this season, they are 12-1-1 when visiting other teams’ barns, which is an absolutely insane number.

Calgary Flames:

12-14-5, 93 goals for, 109 goals against
Now we get to the mediocre teams of the Pacific Division, starting with the Calgary Flames.
Calgary doesn’t have a true superstar, but they have a ton of guys with double-digit points. Nazem Kadri has eight goals and 22 points, Blake Coleman has nine goals and 21 points (how?!), Elias Lindholm has seven goals and 20 points. Yegor Sharangovich, the return for Tyler Toffoli, leads the team with 11 goals and has 19 points. MacKenzie Weegar, Rasmus Anderson, Connor Zary, Andrew Mangiapane, Noah Hanifin, Mikael Backlund, and Jonathan Huberdeau all have 15 points or more.
Goaltending has been rough for the Flames, though. Jacob Markström, who has recently returned from injury, has an .896 save percentage and a 2.94 goals-against average in 16 games played. Daniel Vladar started the majority of the games in his absence and has an .886 save percentage and a 3.40 goals-against average in 11 games played.
Although the Flames are ahead of the Oilers by two points, they have three games in hand. Speaking of games in hand…

Seattle Kraken:

10-14-8, 87 goals for, 105 goals against
Like the Flames, Seattle has numerous games in hand and are only a single point ahead of the Oilers in the standing.
Also like the Flames, it’s scoring by committee for the Kraken. Oliver Bjorkstrand and Vince Dunn each have 25 points. Jared McCann leads the team in goals with 14, and he’s tied with Eeli Tolvanen with 20 points. They have eight more players with 10 or more points, including former Oilers Kailer Yamamoto (six goals, 10 points) and Jordan Eberle (three goals, 14 points), with Justin Schultz and Adam Larsson sitting on nine points.
Joey Daccord has taken over the starting goaltender role, as he has a respectable .908 save percentage and 2.57 goals-against average in 18 games played. It’s not like Seattle has much of a choice, as netminder Philipp Grubauer was added to the injured reserve about a week ago.
I wouldn’t expect them to make the playoffs.

Edmonton Oilers:

13-14-1, 97 goals for and against
After an eight-game winning streak, Edmonton has lost back-to-back games to two Florida teams for the second time this season. In fact, out of their last five losses, the Panthers and the Lightning are responsible for four.
After a slow start, Connor McDavid has remembered that he’s the best player of all time and has 11 goals and 41 points in 26 games. He’s well off his 1.9 point-per-game pace he was at last season, but he’s just 11 points behind Nikita Kucherov for the lead in points. Leon Draisaitl has 12 goals and 33 points, and Evan Bouchard has eight goals and 32 points and looks like an elite defender. Zach Hyman leads the team in goals with 18, and has 30 points as well.
Since Campbell went down, Stuart Skinner has started all but two games and has a 10-3-0 record since November 11, with a .905 save percentage. Overall, he has an .885 save percentage and a 3.04 goals against average. Calvin Pickard has started the other two games and has a .901 save percentage and a 2.99 goals-against average.
Edmonton needs a backup goaltender to share the net with Skinner as soon as possible. However, they can also benefit from an Ekholm-type deal and a right wing in the top-six that isn’t Connor Brown.

Anaheim Ducks:

11-19–0, 80 goals for, 102 goals against
The Anaheim Ducks are going in the opposite direction of the Oilers, as they are 2-8-0 in their last 10.
Frank Vatrano leads the team in both goals (14) and points (23), and could get a significant haul if the Ducks decide to trade him. He has a season left on his deal where he’ll make $3.65 million. Mason McTavish, their third overall pick in 2021, is having a big breakout season with 10 goals and 21 points in 24 games. Former Oiler Ryan Strome has three goals and 17 points, while the Ducks have six other players with 10 or more points, including defenceman Pavel Mintyukov, who has a goal and 16 points.
It’s gone from bad to worse, as John Gibson left Sunday’s game with an apparent injury. He had a .906 save percentage and a 2.85 goals-against average in 21 games played. Lukáš Dostál will take over in net, and it’s been a rough one since November 10, as he has an .847 save percentage and a 0-5-0 record in his last six games.
The Ducks will be a good team… eventually. The same can’t be said for the next and final team.

San Jose Sharks:

9-19-3, 66 goals for, 124 goals against
The San Jose Sharks are not a good team. However, they have some fight in them, leading to a 9-9-2 record over their last 20 games after one of the worst starts in NHL history.
Tomáš Hertl (11 goals, 26 points) and Mikael Granlund (three goals, 21 points in 24 games) remind me of that picture with a Bugatti in the mobile home. The Sharks have a few other players with double-digit points, such as William Ekulund, Mike Hoffman, Fabian Zetterlund, and Anthony Duclair. They could get a good haul for pending UFAs like Granlund, Hoffman, and Duclair, though.
Despite allowing a league-high 124 goals, their goaltending actually isn’t that bad. Mackenzie Blackwood has an .897 save percentage, which sounds bad on paper, but paired with an insane 3.74 goals-against average, you can see he is getting peppered with shots in his 21 games. Kaapo Kähkönen is in the same boat with an .897 save percentage, but also has an extremely high 3.66 goals-against average.
It’s going to be a rough half-decade for the Sharkies and their fans.

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