2022-23 NHL Pacific Division Preview

Story posted October 4, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by James Morrison

The Pacific Division had one of the craziest off-seasons after the moves made by the Oilers, Flames and Kraken this summer.

The Edmonton Oilers lasted the longest last year and made it to the conference finals before losing to the Avalanche.
This year they bring back some of the top forwards in the game, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, while also adding a brand-new goaltender in Jack Campbell this offseason. Edmonton also brought back Evander Kane on the wing this season and will have a full season of former first-round pick Philip Broberg on defense and should be favored to win the Pacific.

The Flames had the wildest offseason of all time and improved after losing Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau.
On offense, they added Nazem Kadri and Jonathan Huberdeau on the top lines while also bringing in Cody Eakin, who will be a great fit on the fourth line. On defense, there are a lot of returners, but the underrated MacKenzie Weegar will add to the skill of the second unit, which should help the Flames continue to push for a Stanley Cup.

Los Angeles did not do much aside from bringing in Kevin Fiala this offseason, but its young talent will continue to develop. If the Kings continue to develop, they will be in the playoff race.

The Golden Knights are a complicated case and are a fringe playoff team, as injuries have decimated the goaltending situation and left them with Adin Hill and Logan Thompson in net. As for the skaters, Vegas is a very talented and top-heavy team, as it has stars like Jack Eichel and Mark Stone on its first line.

Seattle has silently built up a solid roster that lacks a superstar, which it may receive from Matty Beniers and Shane Wright. The Kraken has a very solid defense and has been bringing in quality forwards such as Oliver Bjorkstrand, Jaden Schwartz, Alexander Wennberg and Andre Burakovsky the past two off-seasons, which could lead them to be a fringe playoff team.

The Canucks have a highly potent offense with Bo Horvat, Elias Petterson and Brock Boeser and a solid defense and goaltending, which could put them in the postseason. Newcomers Ilya Mikheyev and Andrei Kuzmenko have the opportunity to make this a very deep lineup, depending on how they perform.

The Ducks are still rebuilding but have pieces in places like Trevor Zegras, Troy Terry, Maxime Comtois, Mason McTavish and Jamie Drysdale. They will likely not make the playoffs but will make some noise with new additions in John Klingberg, Ryan Strome and Frank Vatrano.

San Jose is still rebuilding after a few mediocre seasons and will likely not make the playoffs, but it does have new all-teal home jerseys. It does have the players to play a spoiler team, as Timo Meier and Tomas Hertl are leading the offense while Erik Karlsson and Mario Ferraro are leading the defense.

James Morrison is a junior majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email jpm6920@psu.edu.