Predicting the Pacific Division standings

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports / USA TODAY Sports

Last season, the Pacific Division housed the Art Ross, Hart, and Norris Trophy winners in Connor McDavid and Brent Burns.

The two are among the most thrilling players in the game today, and with the league's newest franchise now in the fold, there is certainly plenty of reasons to keep an eye on the Pacific Division this season.

The Pacific features several cubs looking to build off of last season, but with only eight playoff spots up for grabs, some are sure to be left disappointed.

Here's how things could pan out this year.

Ranking Team Last Season
1 Edmonton Oilers 2
2 Anaheim Ducks 1
3 Calgary Flames 4
4 San Jose Sharks 3
5 Los Angeles Kings 5
6 Arizona Coyotes 6
7 Vancouver Canucks 7
8 Vegas Golden Knights N/A

Edmonton Oilers

Led by McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, the Oilers are primed to be even better than they were last season. The club should benefit from the Jordan Eberle-Ryan Strome trade, and also added Jussi Jokinen, who'll likely provide some added offensive depth.

With another year under their belts, players such as Drake Caggiula and Darnell Nurse are going to be better. If Jesse Puljujarvi can finally step into the lineup, the Oilers should be well on their way to a division title.

Anaheim Ducks

Despite losing Shea Theodore to the Golden Knights in the expansion draft, the Ducks still boast one of the premiere defense corps in the league.

Last season, Anaheim had just the 18th-best offense but still finished with the third-best record in the Western Conference and top spot in the Pacific. One of the team's most glaring issues was Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry combining for just 34 goals - after Perry tallied 34 himself in 2016.

The Ducks will be without Ryan Kesler, Hampus Lindholm, and Sami Vatanen to start the season, but they'll ultimately challenge for another division title, given their depth throughout the roster.

Calgary Flames

The Flames had probably the most productive offseason in the NHL. The team acquired Travis Hamonic and Mike Smith while also re-signing Michael Stone.

Calgary enters the season with the strongest defense corps in the league - now that Ryan Ellis of the Nashville Predators will miss the first couple months of the year - and in a relatively weak division, the Flames will compete for a top-three finish.

San Jose Sharks

The Sharks' window appears to be closing, as Patrick Marleau's move to the Toronto Maple Leafs would hint at.

That being said, the team is still strong with Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, and Brent Burns manning the ship. A playoff spot is expected, but a division title is probably out of the cards.

Los Angeles Kings

The Kings restructured their front office and coaching staff this offseason with the hopes of getting back to the postseason. However, they did very little to fix their roster.

The club's lone significant addition was Mike Cammalleri. The 35-year-old should give a boost to the Kings' offense, but fixing last season's 25th-ranked offense on his own is highly unlikely.

Arizona Coyotes

The additions of Derek Stepan, Antti Raanta, and Niklas Hjalmarsson surely give the Coyotes a bump, but don't expect them to skyrocket up the standings.

The club is poised to feature plenty of rookies and young stars. The future is bright, but don't expect the likes of Clayton Keller, Dylan Strome, Christian Dvorak and Co. to be able to make immediate impacts.

Vancouver Canucks

Barring a dramatic turnaround from Daniel and Henrik Sedin, the Canucks are unlikely to have much of a rebound from last season.

The club added Sam Gagner, Thomas Vanek, and Michael Del Zotto this offseason, and while the trio might be an improvement, these three are not going to propel the Canucks up the standings. In the end, the basement of the division is where you can expect to find Vancouver.

Vegas Golden Knights

Hockey is coming to the desert, but don't expect championships or division titles anytime soon.

The Golden Knights should be exciting and competitive with the likes of James Neal, Theodore, and Marc-Andre Fleury, but they still need more time to tool their roster and develop. A last-place finish is their most likely outcome.

(Photos courtesy: Action Images)

Predicting the Pacific Division standings
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