What’s Going On In The Pacific Division: The Vancouver Canucks are rolling, the Vegas Golden Knights are struggling, and more!

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
1 month ago
It’s Wednesday, so let’s take a look at how the Pacific Division is shaping up.
The Calgary Flames have hit a rough patch that was expected, the Vegas Golden Knights are slipping a bit. The Edmonton Oilers added, but was it enough? That’s just some of the things we’ll look at in this article.
And I say, hey-ey-ey, hey-ey-ey, I said “Hey, what’s going on (in the Pacific Division)”.

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Anaheim Ducks

After trading Adam Henrique and Sam Carrick to the Edmonton Oilers before the trade deadline, the Anaheim Ducks have gone 1-2 since the last article, defeating the Ottawa Senators 2-1, but losing to the Dallas Stars and New York Islanders.
Henrique had 18 goals and 42 points, so his production will be sorely missed by the Ducks. Thankfully for them, they retained Frank Vatrano (for now), and he has 29 goals and 50 points in 65 games this season. Troy Terry has 17 goals and 46 points, while Mason McTavish is the only other Duck who has hit the 40 point plateau, with 17 goals and 40 points.
John Gibson has had a rough one as of late, as his save percentage has dropped to .893, with a goals-against average of 3.31 in 41 games. He recently tried to fight Chicago Blackhawks’ netminder Petr Mrázek, but the refs broke it up before they could drop the mitts. Lukáš Dostál isn’t doing much better, as he has an .899 save percentage and a 3.62 goals-against average.
It’s been a long and hard season for the Ducks after a promising start. They’ll more than likely pick in the top five in June’s draft.

Calgary Flames

The Calgary Flames fought as valiantly as they could with a bunch of trade rumours circling the team all season, but trading Noah Hanifin was the final death blow for the team’s playoff chances. There was a spark of hope last Thursday as they took down the Tampa Bay Lightning, but a 5-1 loss to the Florida Panthers, a 7-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, and a 6-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche has put them well out of a playoff spot.
Nazem Kadri needed just 65 games to match the point total he had in his first season in Calgary, as he now has 22 goals and 56 points. Blake Coleman led the team in goals for the longest time, as he has 26 goals and 48 points, but Yegor Sharangovich has taken over the goal lead for the team, as he has 27 goals and 47 points. Jonathan Huberdeau is their only other 40-point getter, with nine goals and 41 points.
One player who was rumoured to be traded that didn’t get moved is Jacob Markström. This season, the netminder has a .910 save percentage and a 2.68 goals-against average, and is a big reason why the Flames were in the playoff race for as long as they were. Unfortunately, he’s listed as day-to-day, leading to prospect Dustin Wolf being called up. Daniel Vladař has filled in when Markström has been down this season and he has an .882 save percentage and a 3.62 goals-against average.
With this new losing streak, key players being traded, and Markström’s injury, it appears that the Flames are destined for a top-10 pick in this season’s draft, which isn’t the worst scenario in the world for a re-tooling team. Let’s just hope they select Tij Iginla!

Edmonton Oilers

From one Alberta team that sold at the deadline to one team that added at the trade deadline, we have the Oilers. Since we last looked at the Pacific Division, Edmonton is 1-1-1, with an embarrassing loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, a confusing double loss to the Buffalo Sabres, and a dominant victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second consecutive Sunday.
The question Oiler fans are asking is if Connor McDavid can win his sixth Art Ross Trophy in nine seasons. So far this year, he has 24 goals (down from 64 goals last season) and 103 points, and trails Nathan MacKinnon by 10 points. Leon Draisaitl has had a good year as well, scoring 32 goals and 82 points, while Zach Hyman has a career-high 43 goals and 62 points. Evan Bouchard (15 goals, 61 points) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (16 goals, 56 points) round out the core.
Stuart Skinner has had a streaky year, but now sits at a .907 save percentage and a 2.58 goals-against average in 47 games played, along with a 29-13-3 record. Calvin Pickard has filled in well as the backup netminder, as he has a .919 save percentage and a 2.27 goals-against average in 14 games played. Not to mention that their two American Hockey League goalies, Jack Campbell and Olivier Rodrigue, are having success with the Bakersfield Condors.
It’s probably too late to catch the Vancouver Canucks, who have 10 more points (and three additional games played), but it looks as if the Oilers will earn home ice advantage in the first round, as the team we will look at next trails them by four points.

Los Angeles Kings

Obviously, four points is quite easy to make up with about 20 games remaining, but after a hot start to their season, the Los Angeles Kings have really cooled off. It was a solid week for the team since the last What’s Going On In The Pacific Division article, as they went 2-1-0, with wins against the Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders, but were thoroughly defeated by the Dallas Stars.
Kevin Fiala has 21 goals and 57 points to lead the team in the latter category, while captain Anže Kopitar has 18 goals and 53 points. Adrian Kempe returned to the lineup against Dallas and has 20 goals and 52 points this season. They also have good secondary scoring, as Quinton Byfield, Trevor Moore, and Drew Doughty all have 40 or more points. Phillip Danault has 15 goals and 38 points as well, while Pierre-Luc Dubois has come on since the coaching change and has 14 goals and 28 points.
In net, the Kings have two former Flames in Cam Talbot and David Rittich. The former has a .916 save percentage and a 2.47 goals-against average in 41 games played. After a rough patch in the middle of his season, Talbot has played better, and that’s thanks to Rittich playing well. This season, Big Save Dave has a .919 save percentage and a 2.19 goals-against average.
It looks as if for the third season in a row, the Kings and the Edmonton Oilers will meet in the first round. Can they get over the hump this season with no major additions at the trade deadline?

San Jose Sharks

The San Jose Sharks ended a lengthy losing streak with a win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday, but still went 1-2-0 for the week. This included a 7-2 blowout at the hands of the New York Islanders, as well as a 3-2 defeat to the Philadelphia Flyers.
After they traded long-time Shark Tomáš Hertl to the Vegas Golden Knights, Mikael Granlund now leads the team with 40 points and nine goals. Rookie William Eklund has 10 goals and 30 points, while Fabian Zetterlund has taken over the team lead in goals with 16, along with 30 points. 
The New Jersey Devils rescued Kaapo Kähkönen from the team, while Mackenzie Blackwood is on the injured reserve. That leaves third-string netminder Magnus Chrona to take over the pipes. This season, he has an .879 save percentage and a 4.30 goals-against average… which isn’t great. To fill in on the bench, they traded for Devin Cooley for a seventh-round pick at the deadline, who has yet to make his National Hockey League debut.

Seattle Kraken

The Seattle Kraken are in the same boat as the Calgary Flames, a team that was good enough to be on the bubble, but things didn’t go right in 2023-24. Like the Flames, the Kraken made a sellers move at the deadline by moving Alexander Wennberg. Since the last WGOITPD, they were shutout by the Jets, and blew a 4-2 lead in the third period to the Vegas Golden Knights.
They did manage to re-sign Jordan Eberle, who played his 1,000 game against the Golden Knights on Tuesday. This season, he has 14 goals and 37 points in 60 games. Like last season, Jared McCann leads the team in both goals (27) and points (53), while Oliver Bjorkstrand has 17 goals and 46 points. Vince Dunn has become a very good offensive defenceman and has 11 goals and 45 points this season. Reigning Calder Trophy winner Matty Beniers has hit the sophomore slump, as he has nine goals and 27 points this season.
Philipp Grubauer has played well as of late, as he is now up to a .900 save percentage and a 2.85 goals against average in 25 games, along with a 10-10-2 record. Joey Daccord is still their best option though, as he has a .919 save percentage and a 2.46 goals-against average in 41 games played, along with a 17-13-10 record.
It will be interesting to see what the Kraken do when free agency kicks off, but hopefully they don’t pick higher in the draft than the Flames!

Vancouver Canucks

Since the last WGOITPD article, the Vancouver Canucks defeated both the Vegas Golden Knights and the Winnipeg Jets. They are a legitimate threat in the Western Conference this season.
J.T. Miller has become an elite player over the past few seasons, and he leads the Canucks with 85 points and 32 goals this season, one shy of a new career-high. Elias Pettersson has 31 goals and 79 points, while defenceman Quinn Hughes has 13 goals and 76 points. Brock Boeser leads the team with 35 goals and 64 points, while Filip Hronek has five goals and 45 points. The Canucks have eight additional players with 20 or more points, and that doesn’t include the traded Andrei Kuzmenko.
Thatcher Demko is a contender for the Vezina Trophy, as he has a .917 save percentage and a 2.47 goals-against average in 49 games played this season. However, he sustained an injury against the Jets and is out week-to-week. Casey DeSmith will fill in for the mean time, and he has a .900 save percentage and a 2.80 goals-against average.
Whichever team faces the Canucks in the first round is going to have a tough time. It could the Nashville Predators, the Los Angeles Kings, the Minnesota Wild, or even the team we look at next.

Vegas Golden Knights

It’s been a weird year for the Vegas Golden Knights. Since the last WGOITPD, they lost to the Vancouver Canucks, but ended a four-game losing streak by beating the Detroit Red Wings. They also came back from a 4-2 deficit against the Seattle Kraken, which included a goal with about 16 seconds remaining to tie it. Had they lost that game, they would’ve only been four points up on the Minnesota Wild, but are now six points clear.
Jonathan Marchessault is on pace for one of his best seasons ever, as his 37 goals have already blown by his career-high of 30 he set in 2021-22. He also leads the Golden Knights with 68 points and is on pace for 73 points. Mark Stone, who was placed on the long-term injured reserve before the trade deadline, has 16 goals and 53 points, while Jack Eichel has 20 goals and 50 points. William Karlsson has 23 goals and 45 points, while Chandler Stephenson has 14 goals and 40 points.
Netminder Adin Hill has had his struggles in recent times, as he has an .880 save percentage in 10 games played since Feb. 12. Still, Hill is having a good all-around season with a .917 save percentage and a 2.58 goals-against average, but he’s starting to look human. Logan Thompson has played the majority of the Golden Knights’ games and has a .903 save percentage and a 2.87 goals-against average.
The Golden Knights will probably make the playoffs, but it’s to be seen whether they finish in the top three of the Pacific Division or drop down to a Wild Card position. Either way, whichever team faces them in the first round is in for a real battle.
Thanks for reading! You can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D.
Let’s get rowdy! GAME DAY hosted by Flamesnation & Barn Burner at Greta Bar YYC is coming at you live on Saturday March 23rd! Join the crew at our favorite Game Day Watch Party spot, Greta, to watch Calgary take on Vancouver! Doors open at 7pm. Tickets are $10! Good food, good prizes and a guaranteed good time. This event is brought to you by McLeod Law LLP and Village Honda. Get your tickets at nationgear.ca before they sell out!

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