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The Pacific Division is Awful

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Comparing the first month with the first month of last season.

Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports

In a recent article, I assessed how the Oilers did in the first month of the season using some baselines derived from the even-strength performance of their division rivals last season. Here's how the Pacific Division looked last October (Source: War on Ice)

Pacific Division - As of October 31, 2014

Team Gm adjCF% GF% (Diff) OSh% OSv% PDO Pts Final Pts
ANA 12 48.2 53.3 (+2) 6.1 94.6 100.7 18 109
L.A 11 51.7 56.7 (+4) 6.9 95.3 102.2 14 95
VAN 10 51.4 46.5 (-3) 8.4 90 98.3 14 101
S.J 12 46.9 52.2 (+2) 9 92.8 101.8 14 89
CGY 12 43.2 57.1 (+5) 8.3 94.8 103.1 14 97
EDM 10 49.6 39.5 (-9) 7.9 89.7 97.6 9 62
ARI 9 51.1 30.6 (-14) 5.6 86.7 92.3 7 56

Here we see that things were tight at this point last season with Los Angeles and Vancouver  tied at 14 with adjusted Corsi-for% over 50%. Anaheim didn't have a great possession team, but their goaltending was outstanding in the first 10 games. They of course went on to win the division and make it to game 7 of the western conference finals. The Flames were also in that middle pack in terms of points, and had the highest PDO in the first month last season. Calgary rode some of that luck, combined with some career years by players, all the way to the second round of the playoffs.

I decided to take a look at how the Pacific division has done so far this year. These numbers are...interesting.

Pacific Division - As of October 31, 2015

Team Gm adjCF% GF% (Diff) OSh% OSv% PDO Pts Final Pts
L.A 10 56.2 48.0 (-1) 5.3 93.9 99.1 14 ??
VAN 11 48.7 52.8 (+2) 7.5 93.4 100.8 14 ??
ARI 11 48.8 51.3 (+1) 9.2 92.3 101.5 11 ??
S.J 10 49.4 51.5 (+1) 7.4 92.4 99.7 10 ??
EDM 12 45.9 42.9 (-7) 8.9 90.1 99.1 8 ??
CGY 12 46.6 33.3 (-19) 6.9 86.8 93.6 7 ??
ANA 10 48.8 25.0 (-12) 2.7 92.8 95.6 4 ??

Right now the Pacific Division is pretty pathetic. Six of the top eight teams in the western conference are from the Central Division. When it comes to adjusted Corsi For%, only LA and San Jose are in the top eight in the west. The rest of the Pacific division teams have so far been below average when it comes to possession and goals.

Worth noting that Edmonton has the second worst save percentage at even-strength in the division, ahead of only the Flames. Edmonton is shooting slightly above average, while the Ducks are having some brutal luck scoring goals.

Despite their poor start, the Oilers are still fifth in the Pacific and within a few points of third. It's early of course, and anything can happen between now and April. But if the club wants to make a serious run, they need to have better success at possession, which will lead to more scoring chances, and they need to get better goaltending from Talbot and NIlsson.