The NHL Pacific Division Rankings for the 2015-16 Season
Since the realignment in 2013-14, the NHL Pacific Division has proven to be very competitive and difficult to predict. With a combination of big size and skill, a late timezone and great fans, California is the NHL’s “Death Valley” of this era. Even the best teams in the NHL are worn down and licking their wounds after a road trip through California. While this was expected, there were some surprises in this division’s standings at the end of the 2014-15 season.
This is partly due to the Central Division, which has emerged as the single most competitive division in the NHL. This was demonstrated by the Minnesota Wild with 100 points and Winnipeg Jets with 99 points taking up both wildcard spots in the Western Conference. This left perennial contenders in the Pacific Division, like the Los Angeles Kings and the San Jose Sharks, out in the cold. Even the Calgary Flames, who entered the playoffs in third place of the Pacific Division with 97 points, actually had fewer points than these wildcard teams.
The Arizona Coyotes took the largest step back last season and joined the Edmonton Oilers at the bottom. This was evident from the get go as the Coyotes embarked on a major rebuild after the 2013-14 season. The Vancouver Canucks were expected to embark on a major rebuild, but surprised everyone by reemerging into 2nd place after a quick retooling. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the Calgary Flames who achieved success while in the midst of a rebuild.
How will the Pacific Division take shape in the 2015-16 season? Here’s our take at Too Many Men on the Site.