NHL Season Predictions – Pacific Division


Parker Traman

Professional sports are going into full swing this fall, with the four major leagues all in play. The NFL and MLB have already started their seasons up, with the MLB postseason creeping in the distance, meanwhile the NBA and NHL have begun preseason action.

The latter of the inactive leagues will be the subject today, as I, in all of my divine wisdom, will give you my (most likely terrible) predictions for how the season will go. I’ll be going division by division, and at the end I’ll give my three most likely Stanley Cup Final match-ups.

This is part one, so I will be going over the Pacific Division.


Pacific Division:
#1:) Vancouver Canucks – This is the hardest division to predict, because no team is clear cut as the best. But the Nucks will have head coach Bruce Boudreau for the entire season, and I expect Thatcher Demko to be a dark horse candidate for the Vezina (the award for the NHL’s top goaltender). Who knows, maybe they’ll win the division, or maybe they’ll miss the playoffs like they did last year. One thing I do know is that if this prediction comes true, Nucks fans won’t shut up about it. 


#2:) Edmonton Oilers – After an admittedly surprising yet unsuccessful run to the Western Conference Final last postseason, a newly loaded Edmonton squad, led by the best player in the world in Connor McDavid, will be looking to build upon their finish. Jack Campbell is an upgrade at the starting goaltender position, and they filled out parts of their depth. If their offense can hit on all lines, and especially if their goaltending holds up for more than six seconds, expect the Oilers to be a true contender this year.


#3:) Calgary Flames – I know this may seem foolish as Calgary has a track record of having a stellar season and then falling off of the map the very next season, but this year feels different. With Daryl Sutter behind the bench, I expect the Flames to still have a tough attitude. And despite losing stars Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk, I feel as if they made up for it by acquiring Jonathan Huberdeau, Mackenzie Weegar, and Nazem Kadri (the first two were actually involved in Matthew Tkachuk’s trade out of Calgary). Jacob Markstrom looks amped up for another all-star season between the pipes as well.


#4:) Los Angeles Kings – A dark horse team from last year, L.A. is in no way a dark horse this year, they have something to prove. Bolstering their offensive firepower by acquiring point-per-game forward Kevin Fiala from the Minnesota Wild in the offseason, and making solid depth signings, as well as new young forwards in the pipeline, the Kings could potentially have another 2012 on their hands if their defensive depth holds up and if Jonathan Quick and Cal Petersen can stay consistent as a goaltending duo.


#5:) Seattle Kraken – After a dismal inaugural season as the Pacific’s worst team, the newly loaded Kraken are on the come up. Matty Beniers and Shane Wright could be one of the most dangerous young center combos in the entire league, and acquiring veteran wingers Andre Burakovsky and Oliver Bjorkstrand will surely help out their previously anemic offense. The biggest question mark is in net, as Philipp Grubauer was atrocious last year and Chris Driedger struggled mildly. If the goaltending to live up to their expectations, the Kraken could definitely slip in as a wild card.


#6:) Vegas Golden Knights – I would have Vegas higher up in the standings, but the sad thing is, their injury problems from last year haven’t gotten better. We still don’t know if Jack Eichel can play at 100%, and starting goalie Robin Lehner will miss extended time. Upon that, their moves this offseason were just plain bad, as they gifted the Hurricanes Max Pacioretty, who is one of the more consistent goal scorers in the entire league. They could definitely make the playoffs, but I don’t have faith in them, especially since this time is looking awfully similar to last year’s squad, and that team also missed the playoffs.


#7:) Anaheim Ducks – This is a prediction that could absolutely blow up in my face. Anaheim is one of the biggest candidates for a breakout season, as they still have Calder (rookie of the year ) runner-up Trevor Zegras, breakout winger Troy Terry, as well as new additions in John Klingberg and Ryan Strome. The problem is that their depth is a question mark, and John Gibson might be on his way out. Anaheim struggled with consistency last year, and I don’t why it wouldn’t be a problem this year. Hopefully the addition of previously mentioned Klingberg for the blueline will cushion some of the rough patches, but Anaheim still has a ways to go until they are ready for true contention. Maybe next season…


#8:) San Jose Sharks – When one of the worst teams in the league from the previous season gets worse over the offseason, do you really expect them to be anything better than bottom of the barrel? The Sharks have been pretty awful ever since their run to the Western Conference Final back in 2019, and the team finally accepted the rebuild, shipping off franchise legend Brent Burns to Carolina. This’ll be a tank year for the Sharks I am sure, complete with one of the most boring jersey rebrand reveals I have ever seen. Seriously, those new jerseys look like a create-a-team from the NHL video games. Do better.