The Future of the Pacific Division and the Vancouver Canucks

ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 14: Bo Horvat
ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 14: Bo Horvat /
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The Desert trek

The Vegas Golden Knights took everyone by surprise with a miracle season. I know everyone expects them to crash hard back to Earth, I don’t think it will be quite what you think. The Knights will still be good, but a few players like William Karlsson won’t replicate his season. I still see a playoff team, but not one that will ride the hot hand of Marc-Andre Fleury to the same effect.

Vegas is in a good spot financially and if they stay smart with their RFA’s, 2021 won’t be an issue. Of course, their time to win is now, but thanks to the Expansion Draft, Vegas had 20 draft picks in the last two drafts. And remember, they traded away three picks (including a first) to acquire a player who was a healthy scratch. I’m not saying that was smart, just illustrating how rich they were with futures. Their prospect pool is new, but I see a decent group there. You will know who Cody Glass, Erik Brännström and Nick Suzuki are in three years time.

As for the other team in a desert, John Chayka’s Arizona Coyotes are loaded with prospects. They have made interesting trades, using their salary cap space to extort assets from cap-strapped teams. Not every move has been perfect and anytime they stumble, critics of analytics like to use Arizona as the authority on everything. Chayka uses his own analytics with mixed results.

Arizona’s rebuild has felt like an eternity. They are in a similar situation as Edmonton and Buffalo. However, since the 2014 draft, the Coyotes have produced more NHL players than the Canucks, if you are keeping score. We have seen the more notable Jakob Chychrun and Clayton Keller, but don’t be surprised when Dylan Strome debuts. He may be the Olli Juolevi of the 2015 draft, but like Juolevi, he will be a decent NHL player. I doubt Arizona will be in its current position by 2021. This time for sure.