Vancouver Canucks: Terrible Pacific Division a Blessing or Curse?


The Vancouver Canucks are mostly playing terrible hockey right now. But yet, they are tied for second in the Pacific Division — that’s how bad it is.

It was a tough decision, but one that had to be made: putting the Vancouver Canucks in last place for our Week 10 Pacific Division power rankings. Only one game later, the Canucks are tied with the San José Sharks for second in the Pacific, because the division is that bad. Now, is that a curse or a blessing?

Let’s take a look at a few important Canucks numbers 29 games into the season:

League rank: 20th
Wins: 10 (29th)
Win percentage: .345 (29th)
Goal differential: -4 (19th)
Corsi for percentage: 48.2 (22nd)

With those numbers in mind, how can the Canucks be tied for second in their division? As of today, the Canucks would make the playoffs while being ranked 20th in the league. The answer is simple and sad: the Pacific Division sucks.

We have known this all along — the Pacific Division is simply the worst in the NHL. Neither the Canucks nor the Sharks would even get a Wild Card spot in either one of the conferences. They would be sixth in the Atlantic, sixth in the Metropolitan, and seventh in the Central Division. So, what does that mean and is it a curse or a blessing?

Why the Division can be a Curse

If the Central Division sucks, and continues to suck as a whole, reaching a playoff spot will be a much easier task than it would be in other divisions. So what could possibly be bad about that?

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Well, if Vancouver would not make the playoffs — not even a wild card spot — in any other division, they will likely fail in the playoffs as well. But since anything can happen in the postseason, the Canucks will likely try to improve their team at the deadline as well. However, deadline moves generally do not help buying teams in a rebuild, and that is essentially the position the Canucks are in right now.

If they make the playoffs due to a weak division, it will hurt their rebuild. They might invest to get another proven player at the deadline, and even if they don’t, it will cost them a lottery draft pick.

Why the Division can be a Blessing

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There is no team in the NHL that would not like to make the playoffs. There is obviously no team in the NHL that would say no to drafting Auston Matthews either, but the postseason is what teams are in the game for. The Vancouver Canucks are no exception.

As mentioned above, it may seem like being in a playoff spot as the 20th-best team in the league would be a bad thing, as it would cost the given team a lottery draft pick. However, if the Canucks failed to make the playoffs, they would suddenly have a top-10 pick. Therefore, they can try to make it into the playoffs and do what every team wants to do, and if they end the season without that success, they get rewarded with a high draft pick. It’s a win-win situation.

Next: Pacific Division Power Rankings: Week 10

So, as the Pacific Division continues to be ridiculously bad, the Vancouver Canucks can continue to do their thing — which may or may not include being ridiculously bad as well. It may be a curse for tanking purposes, but generally speaking, a weak division is a blessing for any team.