NHL Previews

2018 NHL Pacific Division Preview

Sharks Are the Team to Beat in 2018

Our 2018 NHL Pacific Division Preview hub page offers quick information about each team as well as the projected standings. Links to each club’s full 2018-2019, preview providing complete analysis of each Pacific Division team, are included as well. Use both this division page and individual team pages to get a good sense of each club. Here’s a look of each of the teams in this NHL division.

2017-2018 Pacific Division Season

The Vegas Golden Knights (51-24-7, 109 points) were one of the biggest surprises last year, finishing first in the Pacific Division in their inaugural season. The three Californian teams punched playoff tickets as well. The Anaheim Ducks (44-25-13, 101 points) and San Jose Sharks (45-27-10, 100 points) both had 100+ point seasons ,while the Los Angeles Kings (45-29-8, 98 points) found themselves in the first Western wild card spot. The Calgary Flames (37-35-10, 84 points) and Edmonton Oilers (36-40-6, 78 points) both had disappointing seasons after making the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Vancouver Canucks (31-40-11, 73 points) and Arizona Coyotes (29-41-12, 70 points) also had down years as they were predicted to at the beginning of the year.

2018 NHL Pacific Division Preview: Teams

This section will provide general positives and negatives of each Pacific Division team as they head into the upcoming season. Make sure to look at the most up to date matchup information before placing any NHL bets. Here’s our projections for our 2018 NHL Pacific Division preview.

Anaheim Ducks

  • Rickard Rakell has quietly developed into a proven goalscorer, and should have not problem reaching the 30-goal mark
  • While Corey Perry has certainly seen a decrease in production, Ryan Getzlaf continues to be a very productive player
  • Overall depth on the backend is terrific
  • Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm, Brandon Montour, and Josh Manson will all play big roles on defense
  • The young John Gibson looks elite, while Ryan Miller was terrific in the backup role last season.
  • The Ducks should have no problem on the defensive side of the puck and should be a strong hockey team

Arizona Coyotes

  • Adding Alex Galchenyuk looks to be a terrific move and greatly strengthens the club’s offense
  • Clayton Keller had a great rookie season last year and could have a 70+ point year
  • Oliver Ekman-Larsson is a stud of a defenseman but overall defensive depth is lacking
  • Antti Raanta flew under the radar in 2017-2018 but had an amazing year. If he stays healthy he could put together another great year
  • Our 2018 Pacific Division preview notes that Arizona is in a tough division but has the potential to surprise.
  • While it would be risky to call them a playoff caliber team, they could do much better than people expect

Calgary Flames

  • Adding James Neal and Elias Lindholm look to address the scoring woes that plagued Calgary last season
  • Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan should drive the offense, and Matthew Tkachuk could see improvements of his 24 goals this season
  • Trading away Dougie Hamilton for Noah Hanifin may be a slight downgrade on defense for the time being, but Hanifin has the potential to become a franchise defenseman for the Flames
  • Overall depth on the blueline is terrific for the Flames
  • Mike Smith had a solid season last year and should be a workhorse in net for the club
  • Overall the Flames’ offseason moves have definitely strengthened team and looks to have given the club a good chance for a postseason berth.

Edmonton Oilers

  • Connor McDavid is the best player in the world, but can only carry the Oilers so far
  • Moving Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to McDavid’s wing was an ideal move for Edmonton, allowing Leon Draisaitl to center the second line. RNH could have breakout year, while McDavid and Draisaitl give the club a terrific one-two punch at center
  • Cam Talbot is a very underrated goaltender and can start almost every game of the year. He should provide a solid presence in net
  • Adam Larsson, Darnell Nurse, and Oscar Klefbom are solid D-men, but overall defensive depth is lacking
  • The Oilers, according to this 2018 Pacific Division preview, could surprise and have a bounce back year, but will likely have a tough time making a postseason appearance with the strength of the Western Conference

Los Angeles Kings

  • Anze Kopitar is an elite two-way forward and has the ability to carry the Kings
  • The addition of Ilya Kovalchuk could potentially pay big dividends if he can show he is still elite after spending the last 5 years in the KHL
  • LA has a very solid D-corps led by franchise defenseman Drew Doughty
  • The Kings also have an elite goaltender in Jonathan Quick who won the Jennings Trophy last year after allowing the least goals in the NHL
  • The Addition of Kovalchuk bolsters the offense
  • The King’s defense and goaltending should have no problem keeping the puck out of their net. Look for LA to be a playoff team

San Jose Sharks

  • Adding Erik Karlsson to a blueline that already features Brent Burns will create an large amount of mismatches that opponents will have to deal with
  • Martin Jones had an average season last year but has the potential to be a top goaltender in the NHL, especially behind the Sharks’ defense
  • San Jose has a balanced offense that should see contributions from many different players
  • Joe Thornton’s return from injury gives the club a good one-two punch at center with Logan Couture
  • The addition of Karlsson gives San Jose the two best offensive defensemen in the world, and greatly improves a team that had no trouble making the playoffs last season

Vancouver Canucks

  • Brock Boeser had a great rookie season and could possibly reach the 30 goal plateau this year
  • Losing the Sedin twins will hurt the club in the short term
  • Rookie Elias Pettersson should play a very large role in the Canucks offense during his rookie season. Look for him to be a Calder Trophy finalist
  • Lacks an elite defenseman but has some very solid blueliners in Alex Edler, Chris Tanev, and Michael Del Zotto
  • Our 2018 Pacific Division preview finds that goaltending might be an issue for Vancouver
  • The Canucks are not a playoff caliber team but Petterson and Boeser provide some optimism for the future

Vegas Golden Knights

  • Marc-Andre Fleury revived his career last season, and projects to be a top goaltender this year
  • William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault are both extremely talented forwards and should drive the club’s offense
  • The addition of Paul Stastny give Vegas great depth down the middle of the ice
  • The loss of Nate Schmidt to suspension might hamper the start of the Golden Knights season
  • The Golden Knights lack a star-power player on the blueline, but maintain decent depth on the backend
  • Overall our 2018 Pacific Division preview finds that Vegas looks like a strong hockey club and should contend for a playoff spot

Projected Standings

  1. San Jose Sharks-110 points
  2. Anaheim Ducks-104 points
  3. Los Angeles Kings-103 points
  4. Vegas Golden Knights-110 points (1st Western Conference wild card)
  5. Calgary Flames-99 points (2nd Western Conference wild card)
  6. Edmonton Oilers-82 points
  7. Arizona Coyotes-76 points
  8. Vancouver Canucks-74 points

Final Thoughts: 2018 NHL Pacific Division Preview

The Pacific Division has the potential to be the strongest division in the NHL. The San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings both made big offseason moves, while he Anaheim Ducks and Vegas Golden Knights remain very solid hockey teams. Our 2018 NHL Pacific Division preview finds the Calgary Flames look to have addressed their biggest issues from last season and will have good chance to make the playoffs. Look for the Canucks to finish near the bottom of the league, while the Arizona Coyotes and Edmonton Oilers could potentially surprise. Make sure to check with Betting Brain for NHL news, free picks, and to receive any information useful to NHL bettors.

Other Links

Eastern Conference Main Page
Western Conference Main Page
NHL Main Page


Paul has been writing about sports betting and sports for more than a decade, offering picks on the NFL, MLB, NHL, and NBA, as well as on college sports and European football. He's written thousands of season and post-season previews, innumerable articles on sports betting strategies, and various books on sports and sports betting.

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