Pacific Division Review: Can anybody challenge Golden Knights?

sports.yahoo.com
7 min read
fairly easy
We continue our look at the NHL divisions with a look at the Pacific Division where the Vegas Golden Knights still look to be the clear favorite.
Throughout this week, PHT will review each of the NHL's (restored) four divisions. Who's the favorite, who's rising, and who's in decline? How did the offseason affect the outlook? Today, PHT reviews the Pacific Division. Read about the Central Division here, the Atlantic Division here and the Metropolitan in this post.

Current Division Favorite: Vegas Golden Knights

There is not a division in the NHL where there seems to be such a sizable gap between the clear division favorite and the rest of the pack.

It is difficult to compare last year's performances to this year because of the divisional alignment and unbalanced schedules, but of the teams in the Pacific Division this season only one of them (Edmonton) finished the 2021-22 season within 10 points of Vegas' point total. The next closest team? Calgary 27 points back.

The Golden Knights not only have the best roster in the division, one that has been in the Conference Final/Semifinals in three of its first four years in the league (including this past season), but the rest of the division is just all stuck in various levels of mediocrity or rebuilding. Anaheim is stuck in neutral, Los Angeles has a bright future but is probably not ready for that jump, Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton are total wild cards, and Seattle is an expansion team.

It would be a shock and major upset if Vegas does not win this division and win it easily.

[Related: Every free agent signing by all 32 NHL teams]

Biggest Offseason Move: Canucks add Ekman-Larsson, Garland; Golden Knights trade Fleury

It is hard to choose one over the other because both are significant.

Let's start with the Canucks' additions of Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Conor Garland from the Arizona Coyotes. The Ekman-Larsson portion of the trade is by far the riskiest because of his contract and declining play the past two seasons. Is that just a blip on the radar made worse by playing for a struggling team getting ready to start a rebuild? Or is it the sign of a…
Adam Gretz
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