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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Alberta’s rise

Since I was talking about the Oilers, let’s continue. We may mock the Oilers for wasting the Entry-Level years of Connor McDavid, but they still have the best player in the world. If their management can figure out how to put a good team around him (more than just Leon Draisaitl), they could be the dangerous team we saw two years ago.

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The club does have dead cap space in Milan Lucic and Kris Russell, so it will take careful cap management when the time comes to pay the next wave of players. We haven’t heard that before with in Edmonton. The Oilers prospect pool is quietly improving with young defencemen on the way. However, pressure to compete might force the team to do something foolish. Assuming that they can figure out how to clean the clutter off the roster, room must be made for their future prospects. The Oilers are going to be better eventually. They can’t afford to be bottom feeders in 2021.

For the other Alberta team, things are not as pressing. Calgary had a rough season last year. Despite having one of the best defences on paper, it did not manifest into results. Goaltending is stable for the time being and like the Canucks are sound in their pipeline at this position. There is a good prospect group even if it took a hit when Adam Fox was dealt.

Calgary re-tooled their roster to add Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin and sent Dougie Hamilton the other way. I’m not sure if this helps the defence in an appreciable way, but it bolsters the forward group. The Flames will be better next year and are poised to be a regular playoff team three years from now.