Canucks are on the rise in the Pacific Division

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 30: Josh Leivo #17 of the Vancouver Canucks chases Drew Doughty #8 of the Los Angeles Kings for the puck during the first period at Staples Center on October 30, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 30: Josh Leivo #17 of the Vancouver Canucks chases Drew Doughty #8 of the Los Angeles Kings for the puck during the first period at Staples Center on October 30, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The Vancouver Canucks have built a promising young core, and they’re on the rise as the rest of the Pacific Division is on the decline.

The Vancouver Canucks‘ rebuild is coming to an end, having assembled a very exciting core of young and talented players.

This comes at a time where the Pacific Division is at its weakest, and the Canucks must take full advantage of this opportunity.

Here are quick breakdowns of all their divisional rivals and what kind of trend they are all on.

Vegas Golden Knights 

Trend: Upward

The Golden Knights are an immediate threat to the Canucks. They have a strong veteran core and a boatload of draft picks to help replenish their system. Hiring Peter DeBoer as their new head coach has worked wonders for their team (15-5-2 with him behind the bench) and his strategies have really benefited the Pacific Division champions.

In short, Vegas is a team that will be at the top of the division for a while.

Edmonton Oilers

Trend: Upward

New general manager Ken Holland has carefully turned the Oilers into a very dangerous team. He has worked on adding winger talent to play with superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, and he’s injected a lot of speed into his lineup.

While the Oilers have two of the league’s premier scorers, Vancouver’s depth is much stronger. As long as they can shut down McDavid and Draisaitl to the best of their abilities, their third and fourth lines can be the difference makers.

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Calgary Flames

Trend: Stuck in the middle

The Calgary pieced together an excellent core, but they have yet to find any sort of consistency from their star players.

Their goaltending continues to be a question mark, and they are a team that seems stuck in the middle.

Unless they can start producing on a nightly basis, they will just be a bubble team.

Arizona Coyotes

Trend: Stuck in the middle

Nothing has gone right for the Coyotes, no matter how many things they try to do right. Acquiring Phil Kessel (14 goals and 24 points) to boost scoring didn’t work out, neither did trading for Taylor Hall, and star goaltender Darcy Kuemper went down with a lower-body injury in December.

Arizona has strong goaltending, but until can fill the net consistently, they will not be much of a threat.

Anaheim Ducks

Trend: Downward

The Ducks are in a full rebuild and have very promising pieces in place, but they will not be a competitive team for the foreseeable future. John Gibson is one of the best goalies in the league, but the team has to find offence to back him up.

Los Angeles Kings

Trend: Downward

The Kings are on the road to a rebuild, having missed the playoffs for the second straight season. For a long time, they held onto the core that was part of their Stanley Cup success, but now management is starting to loosen their grip, having traded away players like Tyler Toffoli to make room for their new wave.

They still have a lot of veterans on massive deals like Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar, and Jeff Carter, so there is still a lot of work to be done for the Kings.

San Jose Sharks

Trend: Downward

The Sharks’ incredible history of success is coming to a close, as this is just the seventh time in their franchise history that they’ve missed the postseason.

Martin Jones‘ performance has been spiraling, and the core is expensive and ageing. The Sharks have the oldest team in the league as their average age is 29.5. In comparison, the Canucks, average age is ranked 22nd in the league at 27.5 years.

The Sharks have seven players signed past the 2023-24 season and all seven of them are currently 27 years or older. Until this team can let go of their veterans, they will not be competition for the Canucks for a while.

In the Pacific, only the Coyotes (.919) have a better team save percentage than the Canucks (.907). The Golden Knights and Canucks each have 224 goals for, and only the Oilers (29.5 percentage) have a better power play than Vancouver (24.1 percentage).

In addition, the Canucks are the only Pacific Division team with at least nine players with 30-plus points. This team can score plenty of goals, which is a massive advantage in a division where offence has been hard to come by.

Next. 2020 Free Agents: Kevin Shattenkirk. dark

While there are a lot of questions surrounding the Canucks’ free agents and the roster that will be put out for the 2020-21 season, their young core will remain intact. They’re developing with the Pacific Division is at its weakest point right now. This is a great opportunity for Vancouver, and they must take full advantage of it.