Examining Odds Battle in Pacific Division
Across the NHL, there are grand battles being fought out in each division. In the Metropolitan, the Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils are challenging the usual rules; the Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning look set to battle for the division and, in the Eastern Conference Finals, and the Winnipeg Jets and Nashville Predators will fight in the Central Division to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals.
But, over in the Pacific Division, somewhat surprising starts to the new season have the odds up in the air, with many teams coming in as potential divisional champions.
Ducks, Flames, and Sharks the favorites
The Anaheim Ducks were dealt a tough hand to start the season, with their injury-riddled 2017/18 campaign being followed by a plague of unfit players to start 2018/19. Just seven games in, Corey Perry, Patrick Eaves, Ryan Kesler, Ryan Getzlaf, and Ondrej Kase all missed time, as well as contract hold-out Nick Ritchie. But, the Ducks came through with a 5-1-1 record to stand atop the Pacific Division. With many star players yet to return, their odds of +325 to win the division may look good, but this momentum isn’t expected to last.
Up in Canada, the Calgary Flames are making up for their mudslide finish to last season. Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau have continued to be their world-beating selves, with the likes of Mark Giordano, TJ Brodie, and Noah Hanifin being the stars of a defense that’s very hard to break down. After a blazing start, the Flames are at +350 to win the division and look to good to stick around to the end.
After trading for Erik Karlsson just before the start of the preseason, the San Jose Sharks shot up the rankings to stand as one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup, let alone the Pacific Division. It was a slower start to the season than many expected, but once the kinks have been ironed out, the Sharks certainly have everything needed to shoot up the standings. At +325 in the NHL betting, the Sharks are the joint-favorites for the division, and should only enhance their draw as the season progresses.
Oilers and Kings are the best of the rest
Source: NHL Public Relations, via Twitter
While the Vancouver Canucks have experienced a great start to the new season, few doubt that they’ll soon begin to sink to the basement of the NHL, competing for the first overall pick of the next draft. But, for the meantime, they’re certainly disrupting the order of the Pacific Division, with Elias Pettersson proving to be well worth the wait.
The Edmonton Oilers look to be one of the top contenders to battle for a place in the top three. Connor McDavid has already flexed his muscles, proving that he can carry the team and win games on his own – but he can’t do it in every game. The forward lines and defensive lines look stronger this season, but the team needs to mold and go on a win-streak before they’ll be considered contenders and improve their +550 odds.
The Vegas Golden Knights are a competitive team, but they’re not quite division title contenders. With +400 odds, they’re still riding the hype from last season. The Los Angeles Kings overachieved a bit last season but did so on the back of their almighty defensive play. They’ll put some good win-streaks together over the season, but will be aiming to claw into the wildcard places. The +10000 odds may be a bit generous for the Arizona Coyotes to win the Pacific Division.
The Pacific Division looks to be a battle between the Flames, Ducks, and Sharks, but the Oilers could sneak into the conversation if they can pull together some consistency and support their star player.