The Pacific Division came into the season thinking that it could be the best in all of hockey. There are a lot of teams that believe that they could be elite.
So far this year, however, nothing has really gone according to plan. That is good news for some teams and bad news for others.
One team that it is good news for is the Vancouver Canucks. They are at the holiday break in first place of the division. All of their best players have come to play this year.
The defending Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights are right there in second place and only trail first by two points. They are looking to repeat with a roster that is good enough to do so.
The Los Angeles Kings are in third place. They were very much expected to be one of the top three and they are there. Los Angeles is deep down the middle, they have good defensemen, and everyone around them does what they need to do to form a good team.
The Central Division is very top heavy at this point of 2023-24.
From there, a major dropoff occurs. The Kings are in third with 42 points and the Calgary Flames are in fourth with 33 points.
Calgary had a terrible start and has been a little bit better lately but there is a lot of work to do to truly get back in the race. The Seattle Kraken also have 33 points but are one spot lower in the standings because they have played one more game.
The Edmonton Oilers have been even more disappointing than the Flames (and Kraken). Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have been very good but they are only in sixth place with a record of 15-15-1 for 31 standings points.
Of the Pacific teams, only the Canucks have been better over their last ten games than Edmonton so they are hoping for a big post-Christmas run. The talent is there to do so.
The Anaheim Ducks are 12-21-0 for 24 standings points. The San Jose Sharks are 9-22-3 for 21 standings points. These two teams will go back and forth for the rest of the season trying to decide who is the last-place team. Both of them will have good lottery odds in the spring.
If Edmonton, Calgary, and Seattle can get it going without Vancouver falling off, the division will be one of the best in the league. No matter how it ends, it is going to be very fun to watch.