There’s really no polite way to put this, so I’ll just come out and say it, the Pacific Division is bad. Aside from the Golden Knights, there’s not another team in the division that would be shocking if they missed the playoffs, and it’s probable two or three teams are going to be in the hunt for the #1 pick.
Just two of the eight teams set to compete in the Pacific this year made the playoffs a year ago, and the division claimed spots #2, 3, 7, 8, and 13.
There has been quite a bit of turnover with a number of teams in the division and the Seattle Kraken represent somewhat of a wild card.
The William Hill Mobile Sports app recently released their season point totals for all 32 NHL teams. The Golden Knights checked in at 105.5 points, tied with Tampa Bay for the second-most in the league (COL 109.5). No one else in the division has a line set over 97.
Over/Under – 96.5
The Oilers were easily the next best team in the division behind the Golden Knights last year, despite playing in a completely different division. The challenge with projecting Edmonton to get to 97 points is a combination of their miserable offseason and their reliance on two players. If either Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl miss any period of time, 97 points is toast, but even if they are healthy, the Oilers’ depth is so bad that it still might be tough to each the number. The saving grace for Edmonton is they’ve gotten solid goaltending and the division is putrid. Nonetheless, there are plenty of games outside the division to keep them from reaching the number, or challenging the Golden Knights atop the division. Pick: Under 96.5
Over/Under – 90.5
Calgary had a tough season last year and made some significant changes to their roster this offseason. Most of it makes them better which has them as one of the chief options to give the Golden Knights a run for their money atop the division. Any time a team loses its captain there is cause for concern, especially when that captain went to another team in the division, but there appear to be enough leaders in Calgary that they can overcome it. They should feast on the division and hold down the fort out of conference. 90+ shouldn’t be a problem, even if they hit some bumps in the road. Pick: Over 90.5
Over/Under – 89.5
The Canucks are my pick for the team that will challenge the Golden Knights most atop the Pacific Division. Nothing went right for Vancouver last year and then it was compounded by one of the worst COVID outbreaks we’ve seen in all of pro sports. They’ve made a whole host of changes and should be able to start fresh with their young core of stars. 89.5 almost seems disrespectful for a team that pushed the Golden Knights to seven games in the bubble and then had every excuse to suck last year. I think they’ll get to 90 easily and I’ll pick them to hit 100. Pick: Over 89.5
Over/Under – 87.5
At first glance you’d think the sportsbook learned their lesson from the Golden Knights, but that’s actually not the case. This number opened at 66 a few months before the Expansion Draft. Bettors have sent it through the roof where it now sits at 87.5. This is a very hopeful number as it would have the Kraken hunting down a playoff spot throughout the entire season. I’m on the bandwagon that they’ll be much better than most expansion teams but I don’t see them actually making the playoffs. Thus, I can’t really in good conscience pick them above 88 points. Pick: Under 87.5
Los Angeles Kings
Over/Under – 84.5
Of all 32 teams in the NHL, I liked the offseason of the Kings the most. They brought in a couple of bona fide veteran players to mix in with their remaining veteran stars and upcoming prospects. The Kings are probably still a year or two early for really starting to challenge the Golden Knights, but they’ll be much better than they were a year ago and should take advantage of their Pacific Division schedule. I’ll make the bold prediction right here, the Kings are making the playoffs in 2021-22. So, the pick is clear. Pick: Over 84.5
San Jose Sharks
A point per game for the Sharks in 2021-22? Yeah, nah. Their only real upgrade was in the goal and there’s enough turmoil between Evander Kane and Rocky Thompson that it feels like their chances of improving are limited. There’s still plenty of talent to get them to 83 points, but it was all there a year ago and they wouldn’t have even come close. I thought they’d turn it around a bit last year, they didn’t. There’s a part of me that thinks they might this year too, but I’m not going there this time. Pick: Under 82.5
Over/Under – 73.5
On the flip side of the Kings, the Ducks might have had the worst offseason, mostly because they basically did nothing. I’m not much a fan of any team sitting on their hands, but this is a terrible team that did absolutely nothing to make themselves better. Nor did they even do anything to set up for the future. If I didn’t know better, I’d think Bob Murray forgot there actually was an offseason this year. John Gibson is amazing, and he’ll continue to play that way, but he can’t cover up everything. The Ducks might end up being lucky to get to 60 points. 73.5? Forget about it. Pick: Under 73.5