Pacific Power Rankings, Week 2: Gauging the confidence level of each team in the division.
Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
1 month ago
Two weeks of the 2023-24 season are now officially in the books and the Pacific Division is starting to take shape. While it’s still way to early to get a good feel on how the division is going to look like come April, we now have a decent sample size of games to look at.
This week, let’s check in on the confidence level of every team in the division through the first 5+ games of the season. In this case, confidence (1-10) won’t necessarily mean how well things are going two weeks of hockey but instead how each team should be feeling based on pre-season ambitions and the fact that there is still a whole lot more hockey to play.
So without further ado, let’s dive in to how things are stacking up in the Pacific through week two:
1. Vegas Golden Knights (6-0-0, 12 points)
Confidence Level: 10
Coming into the season, we knew the Golden Knights were going to be good again. After all, they didn’t change much on paper to the roster that brought home the Stanley Cup last year.
The scary part about this team, at least at the beginning of the year, is they might be better than the team that won it all last year…. and not by a marginal amount.
The Golden Knights historic start hit a new high this week, passing the 1985-86 Oilers, led by Wayne Gretzky, for the most consecutive wins to open a season as defending Stanley Cup Champions. That Oilers team would go on to win the 1986-87 Stanley Cup as well.
2. Los Angeles Kings (2-2-1, 5 points)
Confidence Level: 7
The Pierre-Luc Dubois era for the Los Angeles Kings hit the ground running this week. Starting with his return to Winnipeg last Tuesday, Dubois has 4 points (3 goals and 2 assists) over the three games for the Kings the past seven days.
One big question surrounding this roster and their ability to succeed as the season goes on is between the pipes. 36 year old Cam Talbot, who was signed this off-season to a one year deal, has put these concerns slightly to ease, at least for now.
Although he isn’t going to be in the Vezina conversation, the Kings and their depth don’t necessarily need top calibre goaltending to be successful. Talbot is 2-2 this season with a .900 SV% and a 3.03 GAA.
3. Vancouver Canucks (3-2-0, 6 points)
Confidence Level: 7
The Canucks came out of the gates firing on all cylinders against the struggling Edmonton Oilers to jump-start the year with a 2-0 record. Since then, things have cooled off for the Canucks, but compared to years past for this drama prone organization, things are going well.
A blanking from Carter Hart and the Philadelphia Flyers brought this team back to earth which was then followed by another loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are trying to prove they are still a force to be reckoned with.
On Saturday night against Mathew Tkachuk and the Florida Panthers, the Canucks put together their most complete game of the season on both offence and defence led by their captain Quinn Hughes, who was lights out on both ends of the ice.
4. Calgary Flames (2-3-1, 5 points)
Confidence Level: 5
A tough east coast road trip for the Flames (1-3-1) has put them in a tough spot to start the season. The dagger during the trip was the fact that they could’ve just as easily been 3-1-1 coming back to Calgary.
The biggest worry for the Flames so far is who is going to put the puck in the back of the net. Andrew Mangiapane currently leads the team with 3 goals, but with big contracts like Nazem Kadri on the books specifically brought in to score goals, it’s nerve racking that there has been close to no production from him.
The Flames are still in the process of figuring out their identity under new head coach Ryan Huska. They’ll have a chance to win over their home crowd this week as they open up a two game set at the Saddledome on Tuesday followed by the Heritage Classic next Sunday in Edmonton.
5. Edmonton Oilers (1-3-1, 3 points)
Confidence Level: 8
There’s no doubt who the most shocking record belongs too through two weeks of play. Two tough losses to the Canucks and dropping another one to the Flyers was not the way this was supposed to go for the Stanley Cup hopeful Edmonton Oilers.
Things went from bad to worse during Hockey Night in Canada when Connor McDavid sat on the bench for the end of the third period and all of overtime in the 3-2 overtime loss to the Winnipeg Jets. It was revealed on Sunday that for the next week or two, this is Leon Draisaitl’s team to get back on track. Draisaitl has been one of the lone bright spots for the Oilers so far this season sitting at 9 points through 5 games.
The good news? The last time McDavid was hurt over an extended period of time (2019-20), Draisaitl had 12 points over the six games the best player in the league was absent. Despite the weak start, there still is a lot to like about this team and it’s hard to get too low this early.
6. Seattle Kraken (1-4-1, 3 points)
Confidence Level: 6
One major thing that is trending the wrong way for the Seattle Kraken compared to last year is their shooting percentage.
In 2022-23, the Kraken led the league in shooting percentage (9.94%). This year, their position has nearly completely flip flopped in that category. Trailed only by the Arizona Coyotes and the slow starting New Jersey Devils, they currently sit at a 4.20% click.
Their first line of Matty Beniers (1 point), Jordan Eberle (1 point), and Jared McCann (2 points) will start to produce at their normal talent level soon which is keeping the fanbase in a positive mindset. But for now, the puck isn’t finding the net nearly as frequently as we saw during their run last year.
7 Anaheim Ducks (1-4-0, 2 points)
Confidence Level: 7
Despite only winning one game in five attempts so far this season, the vibes are fairly high in Anaheim for this young team full of highly touted prospects.
The main goal coming into this season for the Ducks was officially passing the torch to the next generation. So far, it’s looking like they are going to be in good hands. Mason McTavish looks like he is on his way to being the next captain for the franchise and with other lead roles being filled out by the likes of Trevor Zegras, Jamie Drysdale, and Troy Terry, the leadership team is taking shape.
Add Leo Carlsson into the mix, who scored in his debut on Thursday night, Ducks fans have a lot to be excited about.
8. San Jose Sharks (0-4-1, 1 point)
Confidence Level: 1
There really isn’t much to say about the San Jose Sharks through two weeks of play. That being said, there wasn’t any expectations that this team was going to be any good.
The Sharks are the only team in the league without a win, they currently only lead the Washington Capitals with 6 goals scored on the year, and possess a minus-13 goal differential, the worst in the NHL. It’s a disaster.
Sure, opening up the season against Vegas, Colorado, Carolina and Boston in the first four games is a devilish touch from the NHL schedule maker, but if this team is looking to get a high a pick as possible, it might just be the start they needed.
Do you agree with Justin’s rankings? Do you disagree tremendously? Let us know in the comments!
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