Pacific Division Preview: Outlook, Predictions For 2021-22 NHL Season

There's pretty much one certainty in the Pacific, which is that Vegas will be good


The NHL’s Pacific Division is an interesting one.

Other than the Vegas Golden Knights, no team in that division has proven they are a bona fide postseason contender, plus, there’s the addition of the expansion Seattle Kraken.

So, the Pacific could be a fun collection of teams to watch this season, if for no other reason than it’s near-impossible to peg how it all shakes out.

Here’s a preview of the Pacific with teams listed in predicted order of finish.

Vegas Golden Knights (Odds to win division: -150)
Notable additions: Laurent Brossoit, Evgenii Dadonov, Brett Howden, Nolan Patrick
Notable subtractions: Marc-Andre Fleury, Ryan Reaves, Nick Holden, Cody Glass, Tomas Nosek

Outlook: Obviously, the storyline of their offseason is the loss of Marc-Andre Fleury and how messy the ending was. But they got a capable backup in Laurent Brossoit, and did a good job in the margins with their offseason acquisitions — Nolan Patrick and Evgenii Dadonov could be two really good pickups. They should win the division with relative comfort.

Seattle Kraken (Odds to win division: +750)
Notable additions: Everyone
Notable subtractions: No one

Outlook: Let’s get nuts, shall we? This is in part because this division is so wide open, but they have the goaltending, and their defense should be good, too. The big question is: Who will score goals for them? Jordan Eberle looks like the leading candidate at this point, and that could be problematic, but they have a lot of high-upside guys that could catch fire (Morgan Geekie, anyone?).

Edmonton Oilers (Odds to win division: +380)
Notable additions: Warren Foegele, Duncan Keith, Brendan Perlini, Zach Hyman, Derek Ryan, Cody Ceci
Notable subtractions: Ethan Bear, Adam Larsson, Dmitry Kulikov, Jujhar Khaira

Outlook: It’s the goaltending for the Oilers that keeps us from putting them higher. They’ll be fine up front, especially with the Warren Foegele and Zach Hyman additions, but the defense, especially without Oskar Klefbom (LTIR) and Adam Larsson (Seattle) could be a mess, especially in front of Mikko Koskinen and Mike Smith.

Los Angeles Kings (Odds to win division: +5000)
Notable additions: Alexander Edler, Phillip Danault, Viktor Arvidsson
Notable subtractions: None, really

Outlook: The Kings seem to believe the rebuild is over. The Alex Edler move is fine, but going out and getting the best center on the market this offseason in Danault, plus the shrewd addition of Arvidsson, are moves you don’t generally make if you don’t think you’re ready to compete. They have some promising youngsters and even in their rebuild they were really tough to play against, so they might be ready to push.

Vancouver Canucks (Odds to win division: +1800)
Notable additions: Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Conor Garland, Jason Dickinson, Tucker Poolman, Nic Petan, Luke Schenn, Travis Hamonic, Jaroslav Halak
Notable subtractions: Nate Schmidt, Jay Beagle, Braden Holtby Loui Eriksson, Antoine Roussel, Alex Edler

Outlook: Talk about a team with a lot at stake. It cost them dearly, but they got some awful deals off their books while bringing in a suspect contract (Oliver Ekman-Larsson) but also an exciting young-ish player in Conor Garland. There’s way too much talent in Vancouver for them to be bad, but that hasn’t stopped them before from stinking, so we’re skeptical until they prove they can put it all together.

Calgary Flames (Odds to win division: +1000)
Notable additions: Erik Gudbranson, Brad Richardson, Blake Coleman, Trevor Lewis, Dan Vladar, Nikita Zadorov, Tyler Pitlick
Notable subtractions: Joakim Nordstrom, Derek Ryan, Dominik Simon

Outlook: The Blake Coleman addition was a good one, but the Flames seem well past the point of needing to rebuild. They haven’t been bad enough to convince Brad Treliving to blow it all up, but they haven’t been good enough to really go all-in on winning. We think they drift into “Nashville Predators of the last few seasons” territory.

San Jose Sharks (Odds to win division: +5000)
Notable additions: Adin Hill, Alexander Barbanov, Andrew Cogliano, James Reimer, Nick Bonino
Notable subtractions: Martin Jones, Kurtis Gabriel, Patrick Marleau, Maxim Letunov, Greg Pateryn, Christian Jaros, Antti Suomela, Ryan Donato

Outlook: They just seem so rudderless. Obviously, the big-money investments they’ve made have gone basically nowhere, and it feels like the first few weeks of their season are huge. If they get out to a hot start, then it will seem like the stable veteran additions of Cogliano and Bonino will have paid off and buy them some time if they start to slip. If they start slow, then they have a lot of guys they could trade and San Jose’s season would soon go south fast.

Anaheim Ducks (Odds to win division: +25000)
Notable additions: Daniel O’Regan, Greg Pateryn
Notable subtractions: Danton Heinen

Outlook: The Ducks aren’t there quite yet, which is why they basically have stood pat this offseason. Understandable. This seems like the type of season where they want to see what they have by going real kid-heavy, then over the next season or two start to figure out how to build a team that can actually compete.

For even more Bruins, tune into “Bruins: Back To Work” Tuesday on NESN at 5:30 p.m. ET. For the latest updates, view the NESN TV schedule here.

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