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Pacific Peeks: Way-too-early Predictions, Expanding Brain Edition

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Open your mind to the cosmic possibilities.

NHL: NHL All Star Game-Skills Competition Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The ‘expanding brain’ has quickly become my favorite meme over the last few months. For those who aren’t in the know, Select All’s Brandon Feldman wrote a handy explainer in March:

The “Expanding Brain,” so far the most popular of the “levels of intelligence” genre of meme, is an image macro that uses New Age depictions of what happens inside your skull to show the difference between sheeple and the truly enlightened — from ordinary brain to universe-enfolding Vitruvian Man.

It’s far too early to make any serious predictions, so I’m wrapping up our look at the rest of the Pacific Division in ‘Pacific Peeks’ with four increasingly outlandish (or enlightened, depending upon how cosmically-enhanced your brain is) prognostications for the 2017-18 season, using the meme as a template.

If this doesn’t make me popular with the youths, nothing will.

Normal Brain

  1. Anaheim
  2. Edmonton
  3. San Jose
  4. Calgary (Wild Card)
  5. Los Angeles
  6. Arizona
  7. Vancouver
  8. Vegas

Even with all of the changes in the division, it’s hard for me to see a significant change in the standings. Anaheim’s still easily the Pacific’s best team, and the net changes around the division weren’t significant enough to really move the needle. Arizona’s the division’s most improved team, but the normal brain take is that it was not quite enough to make up a 16-point difference in the standings between Los Angeles and Arizona. This also assumes that Vegas will finish last in the division.

Smart Brain

  1. Edmonton
  2. Anaheim
  3. Calgary
  4. San Jose
  5. Los Angeles
  6. Arizona
  7. Vancouver
  8. Vegas

This isn’t completely out of the question. Yes, Edmonton lost Jordan Eberle, but they added Jussi Jokinen on a very cheap deal and Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl can reasonably be expected to improve. San Jose, as I’ve written before, is banking on a whole lot of “ifs” to replace Patrick Marleau, and has an aging core. Calgary finished five points behind San Jose last season, and improved this offseason. So did Dallas, and this prediction assumes that five Central Division teams (Nashville, Chicago, St. Louis, Minnesota, and Dallas) make the playoffs. It’s certainly a hotter take, but one that isn’t entirely unreasonable.

Super Brain

  1. Anaheim
  2. Edmonton
  3. Calgary
  4. Los Angeles (Wild Card)
  5. San Jose
  6. Arizona
  7. Vancouver
  8. Vegas

Now we’re really opening our minds, folks. Los Angeles hasn’t done a lot this offseason and has missed the postseason two of the last three years, but two prior Stanley Cup championships earn a lot of leeway. This prediction also assumes San Jose misses the playoffs, because ringzzz. It doesn’t, however, assume that Calgary will, because they’re a Canadian team and Canadian teams always get the benefit of the doubt on the expanding brain spectrum.

Galactic Brain

  1. Arizona
  2. Edmonton
  3. Calgary
  4. Anaheim (Wild Card)
  5. Los Angeles
  6. San Jose
  7. Vancouver
  8. Vegas

I’m taking a reasonable observation, that Arizona has gotten substantially better this offseasson, to a fantastical extreme, and truly thinking on a cosmic level. In order for this to happen, Arizona would need to improve on last season’s finish by, at least, 30 points, which would make it one of the largest in NHL history. This almost certainly won’t happen, but if it does, it’s clear evidence I’m operating on an intergalactic pane of thinking. Or, luck. One of the two.


As things stand right now, who do you think will win the Pacific Division this season? Vote in our poll below, and share your own ‘expanding brain’ takes in the comments.

Poll

Who will win the Pacific Division in 2017-18?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    Anaheim
    (111 votes)
  • 1%
    Arizona
    (9 votes)
  • 2%
    Calgary
    (18 votes)
  • 30%
    Edmonton
    (236 votes)
  • 0%
    Los Angeles
    (3 votes)
  • 46%
    San Jose
    (360 votes)
  • 0%
    Vancouver
    (1 vote)
  • 4%
    Vegas
    (35 votes)
773 votes total Vote Now