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Examining the Pacific Division: Part 3 - Western Canada

Key arrivals and departures in the Pacific Division

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Edmonton Oilers Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018-19 NHL season is starting to creep up as teams have wrapped up most of their offseason work, with the focus now shifting to training camp in September.

How have the Flames’ rivals in the Pacific Division changed since we last saw them take the ice? We’ll look at the additions and subtractions by each team as well as what their outlook looks like for 2018-19. Click Here to read Part 1 featuring the California teams and Click Here to read Part 2 featuring the Desert teams.

Edmonton Oilers (6th in Pacific, 36-40-6, 78 pts, Missed Playoffs)

NHL: Edmonton Oilers at Los Angeles Kings Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Additions: Tobias Rieder (FA), Kyle Brodziak (FA), Mikko Koskinen (FA), Scottie Upshall (PTO), Jakub Jerabek (FA)

Departures: Mike Cammalleri (FA), Eric Gryba (Buyout)

The Oilers are going to look pretty much identical in 2018-19 to the team last year that missed the playoffs. That may seem like a good thing for other teams, but the Oilers could be poised for a bounceback season.

As a team the Oilers really struggled last season which included having the worst powerplay in the NHL. That’s quite surprising considering they had weapons like Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl at their disposal.

Cam Talbot took a step back last year and put up some of the worst numbers of his career with a 0.909 Sv%. You could attribute a lot of that to fatigue as Talbot has started a league-leading 140 regular season games over the last two seasons. The next closest in Freddie Anderson in Toronto with 132 starts.

The Oilers are hoping to solve part of that problem by bringing in 30 year old backup Mikko Koskinen from Russia. He had a 22-4-1 record last year with an astounding .937 Sv%, albeit with a stacked SKA St.Petersburgh team in the KHL. If he can bring Talbot’s start total down into the 50’s he could return to form this year.

Other than that, there’s not much else to say about Edmonton. They’ve got the best and now also the highest paid player in the league, and now they have to surround him with right talent. I’m expecting Edmonton to be right back in the thick of things this year, as Peter Chiarelli and Todd Mclellan’s jobs may depend on it.

Poll

What category do you think the Oilers fit into most?

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    Playoff Team
    (86 votes)
  • 59%
    Bubble Team
    (288 votes)
  • 23%
    Lottery Team
    (112 votes)
486 votes total Vote Now

Vancouver Canucks (7th in Pacific, 31-40-11, 73 pts, Missed Playoffs)

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Edmonton Oilers Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Additions: Jay Beagle (FA), Antoine Roussel (FA)

Departures: Henrik Sedin (Retirement), Daniel Sedin (Retirement), Jussi Jokinen (FA)

If the rebuild wasn’t all but official before, it really is now as the Sedin era officially concluded at the end of 2017-18. The future is now for the Vancouver Canucks.

That future is currently on the shoulders of rookie phenom Brock Boeser who put up a whopping 29 goals and 55 points in 62 games last year. Boeser’s shot is absolutely deadly and he figures to be a star in the league for a long time. His season was ended early with an injury which was really a shame as he otherwise would’ve been right in the Calder conversation and perhaps even the frontrunner.

It’s shaping up to be a long year for the Canucks but that’s to be expected as the team continues its rebuild. They have some good young pieces in place but still have a ways to go to really start turning the ship around.

Look for the Canucks to finish in the basement of the division this year.

Poll

How far away do you think the Canucks are from being a playoff team?

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    1-2 Years
    (89 votes)
  • 64%
    3-5 Years
    (324 votes)
  • 17%
    5+ Years
    (89 votes)
502 votes total Vote Now