- You can wager on which NHL team will win the Pacific Division
- The Canucks have longshot odds despite having the league’s best goal-differential
- Is this Canucks team the real deal?
The Canucks have gotten off to an impressive start this season, posting a 7-3-1 record and Western Conference-leading +15 goal difference. Yet they only have +1100 odds to win the Pacific Division, on average at online sportsbooks.
Pacific Division Odds
|Vegas Golden Knights||-115|
|San Jose Sharks||+2600|
|Los Angeles Kings||+15000|
Odds Collected Oct. 30.
The team has a great young core of Bo Horvat, Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser and Quinn Hughes, while they also added some impact players this offseason.
Is Vancouver’s early-season success sustainable, or should you fade this youthful team in the Pacific Division futures?
Canucks Early Success
The Canucks 7-3-1 start comes as a surprise to most. They’ve played the fewest number of games in the Pacific Division yet only trail the division-leading Edmonton Oilers by two points.
Vancouver currently has the NHL’s best goal difference at +15 despite playing just 11 games. They are also out-chancing their opponents by a pretty good margin, sitting 11th in the NHL in High Danger Chance Percentage (52%), 12th in Scoring Chance Percentage (51%), and fourth in Fenwick (53%).
It’s only been one month, but there are lots of positive signs for the Canucks. Newcomers Tyler Myers and J.T. Miller have made big impacts, while Rookie of the Year contender Quinn Hughes is becoming a star on the blueline. They’re also getting important bottom-six scoring from depth players such as Brandon Sutter, Jake Virtanen, and Tim Schaller.
As good as this start has been, are the Canucks good enough to keep it going?
Reasons To Pump The Brakes
You never want to jump to conclusions about an NHL team one month into the season. It’s a very long 82-game campaign filled with ups and downs. Last year’s Stanley Cup winner, the St. Louis Blues, were dead-last in the NHL in January.
From worst team in the league in January to Stanley Cup Champions ?
The St. Louis Blues win the ESPY for Best Comeback. pic.twitter.com/NS4w3c60T6
— ESPYS (@ESPYS) July 11, 2019
The Canucks also got off to a strong start last season yet failed to make the playoffs. They had six wins through their first 11 games in 2018. Inconsistency has been a major reason they have missed the playoffs in four straight years.
While the offense has looked dangerous, we saw Vancouver’s vulnerability on defense when the Washington Capitals erased a four-goal deficit for a 6-5 comeback victory on October 25th. The Canucks largely have the same defense corps from last season and the same starting goaltender in Jacob Markstrom.
I think there’s value in betting the Canucks to make the playoffs this season, but I’m not ready to bet on them in the Pacific Division odds due to the tough competition.
The Vegas Golden Knights are a Pacific Division powerhouse who have made the playoffs in each of their first two seasons. They’ve gotten really strong goaltending from Marc-Andre Fleury and have a potential Hart Trophy candidate in Mark Stone playing on their second line.
YOU SHALL NOT PASS! – Marc-Andre Fleury (probably) pic.twitter.com/FAesiITTU2
— NHL (@NHL) October 23, 2019
The Oilers have arguably the best forward duo in the league in Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid, while the Flames are mainly the same team that won the division last year. The top-end talent on these two teams gives them a very high ceiling and a realistic chance at winning the division.
The Sharks are another team that is loaded with talent in the Pacific. They’ve gotten off to an underwhelming start, but their Stanley Cup window is closing and they’ll likely get it together at some point this year.
The Canucks have some great pieces in place, but they need to show consistency. They had an eight-game losing streak in November last season and have struggled in December over recent years.
With the tough competition in the Pacific Division, I’d wait on laying money down on the Canucks to win the division. If it gets to Christmas time and this team is stringing together wins consistently, there will likely still be value in betting them to win the division.
This is a talented team, but their inconsistent history combined with the other talent in the division doesn’t make them worth a longshot bet right now.