Oilers trailing Golden Knights on Pacific Division odds

Edmonton Oilers' Leon Draisaitl (29) holds off Vancouver Canucks' Bo Horvat (53) during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (Jason Franson/CP)

The Edmonton Oilers will be looking to maintain the pace that lifted them to a second-place finish in the North Division standings last season when they return to action in the upcoming NHL campaign as +450 second favourites on the odds to win the Pacific Division at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Despite hitting the ice for just 56 games during the abbreviated 2020-21 NHL season, the Oilers approached their win totals from each of the previous three seasons while compiling a 35-19-2 record. With the NHL reverting to its previous divisional alignment, and their three California rivals currently undergoing rebuilds, the Oilers are well-positioned to enjoy another strong campaign. That is reflected in their strong -325 odds to qualify for the NHL playoffs at sports betting sites.

However, in addition to the Vegas Golden Knights, who lead the way as -200 favourites to win the Pacific Division for the third time since 2017, the Oilers must also contend with a pair of divisional rivals expecting to bounce back from disappointing finishes last season.

Plagued by inconsistency that sparked a mid-season coaching change, the Calgary Flames failed to seize a late-season opportunity to nail down a playoff spot. However, the team maintains a talented core led by forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk and netminder Jacob Markstrom. And in addition to being set as a +1600 wager to win the division, Calgary sports short -125 odds of topping 92.5 regular season points.

Humbled by a dismal 8-14-2 start, the Vancouver Canucks were further demoralized by a COVID-19 outbreak that kept them off the ice for over three weeks last March and April before closing out the campaign in last place in the North Division standings. With nowhere to go but up, Vancouver returns as a lengthy +2000 wager on the Pacific Division odds, but is well-positioned to surprise.

The Canucks bolstered their goaltending with the addition of veteran Jaroslav Halak, who is expected to play a key role in the continued development of young starter Thatcher Demko. The team should also benefit from the return of forward Elias Pettersson, who was limited by injury to just 26 appearances last season. The Canucks also kept busy during the off-season, adding defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and forward Conor Garland.

And not to be overlooked are the Seattle Kraken, who hope to copy the Golden Knights’ expansion year success as they prepare to make their debut as a +800 wager on the NHL odds to claim the Pacific Division title. Further down the Pacific Division odds, the Los Angeles Kings lag at +3300, followed by the San Jose Sharks at +4000, while the Anaheim Ducks trail as distant +12500 longshots.

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