Doing the Pacific first because the Central is scary. The Pacific is at least from where I’m sitting the most predictable. It is probably, with no numbers to back this up, the division that has had the least change in roster across the board.
I have the top four teams and bottom four teams remaining in the top and bottom of the division with a couple teams rising or falling, here it is.
1. Vegas Golden Knights
2. Calgary Flames
3. Arizona Coyotes
4. San Jose Sharks
5. Vancouver Canucks
6. Los Angeles Kings
7. Edmonton Oilers
8. Anaheim Ducks
1. Golden Knights
The knights are good, like really good. They were probably the better team for all but 5 minutes of their first-round series with the Sharks… so that sucked. I was actually going to Vegas that next week and was all ready to get tickets to see round 2… FUCK the refs and FUCK the sharks.
Anyways Stone looked great in gold, one of the best defensive forwards in the league to the Knights who were already a handful to play against. Of course, that worked out. They signed Wild Bill Karlsson to a team-friendly deal and have a ton of heart in guys like Tuch(+ skill), Reaves and Engelland to go along with the most insane building the NHL has ever seen. They’re going to be good and that’s just good for business.
Like several other squads, Calgary has a big name RFA to sign. Matthew “big dick” Tkachuk needs to sign a deal before things get rolling. As long as he does Calgary is going to be on fire again this year.
Many said giving up Neal for Lucic was a mistake on Calgary’s side however I like the deal for both teams. Lucic can sit back in a 3rd or 4th line roll and just play hockey. He won’t be looked at to provide offence he can just hit guys and be a beauty in the locker room goals are just a bonus.
David Rittich will have the opportunity to become a true number one goalie. His underlying numbers don’t look great but with the team in front of them, he or Cam Talbot should give this team the goaltending it needs.
PHIL THE THRILL has arrived to the dessert! It’s on for this squad. Antti Raanta is actually an amazing goalie when healthy. Have you ever watched him? If not do it, he is quite good at the position. He and Darcy Kuemper form a very underrated one-two punch between the pipes. Nick Schmaltz and Derek Stephan should both see time on the first line with PHIL. Schmaltz was on an absolute tear before he went down to injury. He’ll be back looking to prove Arizona made the right choice when dealing Strome. Stephan is a reliable underrated centerman. Aside from Clayton Keller and OEL the team is filled with unsexy names but effective unsexy names. If they stay healthy its playoff time.
Look for Jacob Chychrun to take the next step and become a better know guy outside of Arizona. He’s shown flashes of brilliance.
They are still good… just not quite as good. Do I think they will make the playoffs? Does the tin man have a sheet metal cock? They still have two of the best two offensive defensemen in the game and a handsome top 6. Thomas Hertl has become an awesome two-way hockey player and Logan Couture looked like Sid Crosby lite last year. Doug Wilson stole another year of Kevin Labanc and got Timo Meier locked up. Good stuff, good stuff. The bottom 6 is okay… not terrible but nothing special Joe is another year older but we’ve been saying that for years and he keeps findings ways to be effective. The real reason why I have San Jose in this spot is Martin Jones. We’ve had a large enough sample size to know what this guy is. Incredible at times and often good for an untimely goal. If his year is just like last, the Sharks are a slightly worse team without their captain who scored 38 goals.
If I can see anyone else slipping into the playoffs its Vancouver. I disliked the Canucks for years, not sure why I just did. Then Elias Pettersson showed up and forced all hockey fans to watch. He is special. As a Canadian, he is must-watch tv. His hockey IQ as they call it is through the damn roof. It’s too damn high. He’s a skinny lanky sweed that is next level hockey brilliant. I found myself watching the Canucks night after night when this guy was in the lineup. There are a few guys that just find a way to make something happen on every shift and he is certainly one of them.
and that’s all I’ve got for the Canucks. Me stroking off Pettersson.
But no in order to get into the playoffs it’s going to take a big step from Quinn Hughes, and another step from lots of their young core. Shotgun Jake Virtanen needs to build off his “breakout” season and the signings need to play up to their contracts. TJ Miller and Tyler Myers have to be as good or better than advertised.
Cherilli fucked you.
Holland has done a good job of making minor moves that should help without overreacting. Real Deal Neal is only a year removed from signing a 5 year 28 million dollar contract. He’s a guy that scored 20+ goals 10 of the last 12 seasons. In the right role, he will do it again, no problem. The question will be how many more 20+ goal seasons does James Neal have in him at 31. Enough for him to be a factor when McDavid gets enough support and inevitably drags this team kicking and screaming into the playoffs? Let’s hope so.
Gibson is still in his prime and the Ducks have some good young players coming up. This year may not be a great one, but there is lots to be hopeful about in Anaheim! Guhle, Jones, Lundstrom, Comtois, Steel, and the 9th overall pick this year Trevor Zegras all could be solid NHL players.
The Kings are old…they’re too old. Was an unreal run they had but time fucks us all. Jeff Carter should be shipped out to start the rebuild, the guy still has value. While you’re at it why not deal the man himself Kopitar is a monster that could make any half-decent team a contender. Get your picks, get your prospects. It’s scorched earth time.