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s13 - What's the Best Division in the League [WB3]

2019-09-04

It’s debatable to be sure, but for many the Pacific Division has been the best division in the VHL in recent history. Not including last season’s miracle run by the Central division’s Minnesota Wild, the previous four Western representatives in the Stanley Cup Final have come from the West’s Pacific division (VAN, SJS x2, LAK).

Conversely, the Stanley Cup champion has come from the Northeast Division for two years in a row with Buffalo winning last season, and Ottawa before them.  Their 5-3 record in the Cup Final, is a strong indicator of just how good the division is as well.

How are those divisions stacking up this year versus the rest of the NHL?

Our crack research team has compiled some in depth data to hopefully shed some light on the situation and once and for all put to rest the debate on the league’s “best” division.  Listed below is a ranking of the divisions according to their records outside their own division. The unbalanced schedule does not lend itself to this kind of analysis, especially when just and eighth of the season has been played. Still, here's a look at those numbers.

4. NORTHEAST DIVISION

The Numbers: 20 W, 27 L, 7 T, .435

Despite having two of the more potent offenses in the league in the Boston Bruins and the Hartford Whalers, not to mention the defending Stanley Cup champs in the Buffalo Sabres, it’s the Northeast division that tops the list as the “worst” division in the league to date.

Having the ugly ginger-haired, buck-toothed, step-sister in the Toronto Maple Leafs in the division isn’t helping the cause as their dismal 2-6-1 record versus the other divisions definitely hurts.

3. CENTRAL DIVISION

The Numbers: 19 W, 22 L, 5, .467

Surprisingly, it’s NOT the Central that’s the worst division in the league as some would expect.  With the likes of the Detroit Red Wings and the St.Louis Blues combining for a meager three wins and two ties to go along with 11 of the division’s 22 losses it’s really no wonder the Central is lagging behind.

Interestingly, the Minnesota Wild have been faring the best in the division versus the other three with a 5-2-1 record and a 2-0-0 record versus the Atlantic.

2. ATLANTIC DIVISION

The Numbers: W 25, L 24, T 4, .509

The Atlantic Division has supplied three Stanley Cup winners in the league’s 12-year existence and a fourth finalist in the 1997 final. The division also features the Pittsburgh Penguins and their .773 points percentage as well as the always strong New York Rangers (.500).  A new wrinkle in the division are the arrivals of the New Jersey Devils (.650) and the Tampa Bay Lightning (.542).  As a group, they manage a .509 points percentage against the rest of the league.

The Washington Capitals have an unbelievably bad .188 points percentage against teams from outside the division, while the New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers – although better – still sport .416 and .434 percentages respectively.

1. PACIFIC DIVISION

The Numbers: 32 W, 23 L, 4 T, .576

Regardless of the losing record (3-5) in the Stanley Cup final, the Pacific Division is still the toughest division in the league.

Despite the Edmonton Oilers and their ZERO wins outside the division (0-4-1) and the Winnipeg Jets’ 3-3 tally, the division still lays claim to a pair of outer-divisional juggernauts in the Calgary Flames (8-2-0) and Saskatoon Wolves (6-2-1).

Simply put, the Pacific Division is the best division in hockey and will once again threaten to send another representative to the Stanley Cup Final.  BOOK IT!