Significant shift in Canucks´┐Ż Pacific Division odds

Pacific Division odds (As of Nov. 7):

San Jose Sharks: 3.15
Edmonton Oilers: 4.00
Calgary Flames: 4.90
Vegas Golden Knights: 6.25
Anaheim Ducks: 7.50
Vancouver Canucks: 10.00


In the early days of the new National Hockey League season, the Vancouver Canucks’ odds to win the Pacific Division were 35.00.

In no way is that a surprise.

Not many would’ve given this team much of a chance of contending for a playoff spot, not to mention the division. The Canucks have been stuck near the bottom of the league’s overall standings for three years and nothing about this group would’ve suddenly given rise to the belief that things were going to change so drastically for the better.

American Thanksgiving is in two weeks. It’s a date most hockey pundits turn to when deciphering which teams are likely playoff-bound and which ones probably will not. The premise is that, over the years, a high percentage of teams in a playoff spot at U.S. Thanksgiving end up qualifying for the postseason.

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The day before playing their second of a six-game road trip through the Eastern Conference, the Canucks were, as of Wednesday, in a three-way tie for the Pacific Division lead alongside the Calgary Flames and San Jose Sharks.

The Sharks are the favourites to win the division, with odds of 3.15. They made a bold move early in training camp, acquiring Erik Karlsson from the Ottawa Senators. One of the best, if not the best defenseman in the league, Karlsson gives San Jose’s blue line a massive boost for this season and automatically vaults them into the conversation of potential Cup contenders.

The Canucks, on the other hand, are a team currently led by a 19-year-old rookie. Elias Pettersson, who turns 20 years of age next week, has become the talk of the NHL. Selected fifth overall in the 2017 draft, he’s had a tremendous start to his career, despite his first month in the league getting disrupted from a concussion.

In 10 games, Pettersson has 10 goals and 16 points.

Per the NHL, Pettersson is the first player to record 16 or more points through his first 10 NHL games since the 1992-93 season, which is an impressive feat, and one that provides so much optimism for Canucks fans looking for a brighter days ahead.

Pettersson has come in and immediately had an impact on the Canucks, who now have a 9-6-1 record heading into Thursday’s game against the Boston Bruins. That record has had an impact on the Canucks’ Pacific Division odds, as well.

After starting the year with odds of 35.00 to win the division, those have shifted to 10.00 at PlayNow.com. On Oct. 30, those odds actually dipped as low as 8.50.

While their odds have shifted, only 10.46 per cent of all money wagered on the Pacific Division outright market is on the Canucks. A much larger portion of the money sits on the Sharks, to the tune of about 65.2 per cent – likely the Karlsson Effect.

For the most part, the first 16 games of the season have provided plenty of thrills and excitement for Canucks fans. On top of the great Pettersson performances – he seems to one-up himself just about every night – the Canucks are winning. That last part may have Team Tank’s staunchest supporters a tad anxious as they hope for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver.

Could the Canucks perhaps be a potential playoff contender this year?

That is likely to bring about this response, given their recent perils: Tap the brakes! It’s mid-November. It also raises more questions, particularly around whether their current winning ways are sustainable.

Sure, games like their wild 7-6 overtime victory over Colorado are ridiculously fun. They’re also not a recipe for winning on most nights. The Canucks have given up 3.25 goals-against per game, 13th highest in the league. They’re averaging three goals-for per game, which is 19th, and they hold a minus-five shots-per-game differential.

For now, however, they’ve been winning. Their odds for the Pacific Division have felt the impact two weeks before U.S. Thanksgiving.

Just don’t expect as swift a change in their Stanley Cup odds any time soon. They currently sit at 60.00 at PlayNow.com, which puts them among the longest shots ahead of only Detroit, Buffalo and Arizona.

Baby steps.

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