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Pacific Division Odds Say It’s Vegas’ to Lose at +160; Flames Only +280 to Repeat

San Jose Sharks mascot skating with a team flag.
Despite finishing second in the Pacific last year and going the deepest in the postseason, the Sharks only have the third-best odds to win the Pacific in 2019-20. Photo by Elliot from Castro Valley (wikimedia commons) [CC License].
  • The Calgary Flames won the Pacific Division in 2019 with 107 points and division-best +62 goal difference
  • The Vegas Golden Knights, who won two years ago, are the only team currently over the salary cap and must shed money before October
  • The San Jose Sharks re-signed Erik Karlsson, Timo Meier & Kevin Labanc, but lost captain Joe Pavelski

Take a look at the 2020 Stanley Cup odds and you’ll notice the Pacific Division has a little bit of everything.  Teams on the rise, teams on the decline, and a trio of teams that you could legitimately call contenders.

2019-20 Pacific Division Odds

Team Odds to Win Pacific Division at BookMaker.eu
Vegas Golden Knights +160
Calgary Flames +280
San Jose Sharks +375
Vancouver Canucks +800
Edmonton Oilers +1500
Arizona Coyotes +1500
Anaheim Ducks +7500
Los Angeles Kings +10000

*odds taken 7/12

Only the Tampa Bay Lightning have better odds to win their division than the Vegas Golden Knights.  That’s pretty impressive for a team only entering its thrid year of existence.  It should be a tight race, however, considering the talent on the rosters of the Flames and Sharks.

For my money, the best value here comes with betting on San Jose, and here’s why.

Sharks GM Doug Wilson Having Great Off-Season

Yes, the Sharks lost captain Joe Pavelski.  He is 35 years old, entering the twilight of his career, and needed too much term and money to re-sign.  The other moves GM Doug Wilson made, however, should pay huge dividends.

Wilson was able to come to terms with Timo Meier on a four-year, $24-million deal.  That’s a bargain basement price for a 22-year-old coming off a 66-point season.

He also signed Kevin Labanc to a one-year, $1-million extension.  Consider this: since 2004, a total of 116 forwards have tallied 40 or more points in the final year of their entry-level contract. Only one earned a contract worth less than Labanc’s. He’s 23 years old and had 17 goals and 56 points last year.  It really might be the best contract in the league.

Karlsson Re-Signs In San Jose

The savings on those deals freed up the cash and cap room to sign Erik Karlsson to a long-term extension.  The deal is worth $92-million over eight years. That may seem like a big commitment on the back end, but in the immediate future, it gives the Sharks a huge edge. Being able to trot out both Karlsson and Brent Burns gives San Jose two Norris Trophy-winning defenseman, both capable of racking up points and changing the game.

More Questions Than Answers In Vegas & Calgary

Vegas is the only NHL team still over the salary cap.  Not only does that mean they can’t add talent, it means their roster will take some sort of hit between now and the regular season.

In Calgary, RFA Matthew Tkachuk remains unsigned and the team swapped out goaltender Mike Smith for Cam Talbot which, to put it bluntly, is a downgrade.

With the other top teams in the division facing serious questions, I love the value the Sharks are getting at +375.  I’d jump on that before puck drops and the odds swing in a different and less-favorable direction.

PICK: San Jose Sharks (+375)


SBD’s NHL Division Champion Odds Coverage

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