NHL: Early Playoff Picture, Which teams are the favorite to fall off?

Metropolitan Division:

New Jersey Devils(11-5-3)

Columbus Blue Jackets(12-7-1)

Pittsburgh Penguins(11-8-3)

Atlantic Division: 

Tampa Bay Lightning(15-3-2)

Toronto Maple Leafs(14-7-0

Detroit Red Wings(10-8-3)

Wild Card: New York Islanders(1), Washington Capitals(2)

Central Division:

St. Louis Blues(15-5-1)

Winnipeg Jets(12-4-3)

Nashville Predators(11-6-2)

Pacific Division: 

Los Angeles Kings(12-7-2)

Vegas Golden Knights(12-6-1)

Calgary Flames(11-8-0)

Wild Card: Chicago Blackhawks(1), Colorado Avalanche(2)

Ok, now we are 22 games into the season and some teams have remained atop their division since the start of the season. When it comes to playoff talk this early, it should be considered a crime, therefore I should be arrested and thrown in jail. But, I don’t care, this was of interest to me and I feel like this is a decent time to start throwing around some playoff prediction talk.

The Metropolitan will be shaken up a bit and I think we will see five teams come from that division, but as far as the top three go, at this moment the top three is weird and by no means do I see the Devils atop that division much longer, they are tied with the Blue Jackets and Penguins and currently have four teams within three points or less of them. The Devils will fall off, Islanders move into three, Rangers take the second wild-card spot.

Atlantic, yes Tampa Bay is pretty much set in stone to win that division, Toronto is a heavy favorite for second and the third spot is the next team up who will make the playoffs. If you don’t get a top three spot in the Atlantic, you’re not making the playoffs. And the team I think who takes that three spot is Ottawa. They are the most balanced team up and down the line up compared to Detroit and Boston.

Central, again St. Louis is going to be a top three team in this division, very well could fall off the top spot as they are only four points ahead of the Jets. I think this top three is what we will see all season, just some different teams in some different positions.

Pacific, no clue, holy crap. One thing I am sure of though is that Vegas won’t be a wildcard or top three team come January. I could very well see the Flames winning that division, Kings falling to three spot and Anaheim jumping to the two spot.  As far as wild card goes for this conference, I am thinking Chicago will be the first wild-card spot, if not expect major changes in Chicago. The second will fall to Edmonton, going out on a limb but this team needs to wake up and start stringing together a win streak. Talbot will have to be much better, which I think he will and this team will turn there season around.

My Prediction:

Eastern Conference:

  • Tampa Bay Lightning(1st Atlantic)
  • Toronto Maple Leafs(2nd Atlantic)
  • Ottawa Senators(3rd Atlantic)
  • Columbus Blue Jackets(1st Atlantic)
  • Pittsburgh Penguins(2nd Atlantic)
  • New York Islanders(3rd Atlantic)
  • Wild Card: Washington Capitals, New York Rangers

Western Conference: 

  • Winnipeg Jets(1st Central)
  • St. Louis Blues(2ns Central)
  • Nashville Predators(3rd Central)
  • Calgary Flames(1st Pacific)
  • Anaheim Ducks(2nd Pacific)
  • Los Angeles Kings(3rd Pacific)
  • Wild Card: Chicago Blackhawks, Edmonton Oilers

 

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