Oilers favoured to wear Pacific Division crown

HC@Noon debate on Kailer Yamamoto, who’s turning heads at Oilers camp, but is young and smallish, should the organization be patient with him, or do they need his offensive skill now?

A decade-long playoff drought came to an end last spring for the Edmonton Oilers. After finishing at the bottom of the divisional standings in five of the previous seven years, the Oilers led the division with 47 wins, and they are pegged as +225 favourites to claim the Pacific Division crown this season at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Edmonton’s stunning turnaround has been keyed by the emergence of superstar Connor McDavid, who led the NHL in scoring last season with 100 points and is perched as a +150 favourite on the odds to win the Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP.

McDavid will have help from an Oilers lineup that also features 20-year-old Leon Draisaitl, who was rewarded with a lucrative eight-year, $68 million contract over the summer after racking up 77 points last season. Expectations are also high for goaltender Cam Talbot, who is coming off a league-leading 42-win campaign in 2016-17.

The Oilers are also a strong +800 bet to win their first Stanley Cup title since 1990, trailing only the two-time defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins, who lead the way at +750.

The Anaheim Ducks ended the Oilers’ Stanley Cup aspirations last season with a narrow 2-1 win in Game 7 of their second-round playoff series, and closely trail Edmonton on the Pacific Division championship odds at +275.

Led by Ryan Getzlaf, the Ducks return to action with last season’s core largely intact, but will be without defenceman Hampus Lindholm and veteran forward Ryan Kesler to start the season while they each recover from major off-season surgeries.

The San Jose Sharks follow at +450 on the Pacific Division futures, ahead of the Los Angeles Kings at +500, and the Calgary Flames at +600.

After advancing to the Stanley Cup final in 2016, the Sharks finished last season alongside Anaheim with 46 wins. San Jose is led by Norris Trophy winner Brent Burns, but will miss veteran forward Patrick Marleau, who left for Toronto as a free agent during the off-season.

The Kings have missed the post-season in two of three seasons since their last Stanley Cup victory in 2014, but will once again rely on a veteran core that includes goaltender Jonathan Quick and 2016 Norris winner Drew Doughty. The Flames have qualified for playoff action in two of the past three seasons, ending a five-year drought, but trail the Stanley Cup betting favourites with +2500 odds.

The Arizona Coyotes, Vancouver Canucks, and expansion Vegas Golden Knights then round out the Pacific Division odds at +3300 each.

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