NHL Pacific Division odds: Flames, Oilers battle for top spot

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We are but a few weeks from the opening of training camps league-wide. While a handful of teams still have housekeeping to take care of, most rosters are set and ready for the season.

Let's take a look at how the Pacific Division is shaping up after a summer that featured a whole lot of movement.

TEAM ODDS
Calgary Flames +225
Edmonton Oilers +225
Vegas Golden Knights +400
Los Angeles Kings +450
Vancouver Canucks +1000
Seattle Kraken +5000
Anaheim Ducks +7500
San Jose Sharks +8000

The Flames and Oilers find themselves in a tie for the shortest odds to win the Pacific. It's hardly surprising we are splitting hairs as they finished within one win of each other last season, and both had active summers in hopes of taking the next step.

Calgary undoubtedly didn't want to lose Johnny Gaudreau or Matthew Tkachuk. They are both elite wingers who made up 2/3 of one of the league's best lines a season ago.

Somehow, GM Brad Treliving managed to pull some strings and put the Flames in a position where they can remain in the upper echelon of the NHL - even without those star wingers.

Although Jonathan Huberdeau and Nazem Kadri could see regression following the best seasons of their respective careers, they both produced well over a point per game last year and will replace a lot of the offense that was lost.

If they can come close to replicating their 2021-22 performances, you could argue the Flames are even better than a season ago. MacKenzie Weegar put up 40 points while logging more than 23 minutes a night for the Presidents' Trophy winners. He's a fantastic two-way player and should further bolster a defense that already features Rasmus Andersson, Noah Hanifin, and Chris Tanev.

Only two teams conceded fewer goals than the Flames last year, and now they're even better equipped on defense. They'll be very competitive once again.

With Mike Smith and Duncan Keith out of the picture, the Oilers stumbled into the cap space necessary to keep their group intact while adding around it. They re-upped Evander Kane, who was extremely productive after joining the Oilers midseason.

They also signed Jack Campbell in free agency. While inconsistent at times, he seems a better bet to give the Oilers solid goaltending than the 40-year-old Smith.

With Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and Co. leading the charge offensively, and promising youngsters like Evan Bouchard walking into larger roles, this team figures to be quite good.

The Golden Knights are seen as the biggest threat to the Alberta teams. They should benefit from better injury luck and having stars Mark Stone and Jack Eichel more readily available on a nightly basis.

Trading Max Pacioretty for essentially nothing will sting, though, as will the season-long absence of Robin Lehner.

Even with a strong defensive core in front of them, banking on a goaltending stable of Laurent Brossoit, Adin Hill, and Logan Thompson could be a dangerous proposition for a team that wants to contend.

Not far behind in odds are the Kings. They upgraded an offense that really needed a jolt, acquiring Kevin Fiala fresh off a point-per-game campaign with the Wild. They'll be hoping an improved offense and better team health can help them take the next step back toward contention.

Up next are a couple of teams looking to enter the wild-card race: the Canucks and Kraken.

The Canucks had a rather quiet offseason, all things considered. They added a solid two-way winger in Ilya Mikheyev, who'll provide more team speed, forechecking tenacity, depth scoring, and penalty-killing ability. But that's about all they did.

The Canucks didn't trade J.T. Miller or Conor Garland, both of whom have long been involved in trade conversations. The defense wasn't improved, either. Vancouver should score and be fun to watch but don't look like a playoff team as it stands.

Fresh off a disastrous inaugural campaign, the Kraken made a lot of changes. They signed speedy winger Andre Burakovsky in free agency and acquired efficient five-on-five scorer Oliver Bjorkstrand from the Blue Jackets for pennies on the dollar. Those two should breathe new life into an offense that really needs it.

Unfortunately, the defense still looks mediocre, and despite spending nearly $11.5 million on netminders, there are serious question marks in goal.

The Ducks did some spending over the summer, with Ryan Strome, Frank Vatrano, and John Klingberg serving as the headliners. They'll provide a needed boost to the offense, but Anaheim still has a long way to go.

Lastly, the Sharks appear to be heading for a year of pain. Their offense is very top-heavy, they moved on from Brent Burns, and there's still a lot of bad money on the books. They seem to be embracing a necessary retool under new management.

Todd Cordell is a sports betting writer at theScore. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @ToddCordell.

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NHL Pacific Division odds: Flames, Oilers battle for top spot
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