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Western Conference Playoff Projections

Nothing will come easy in the West this year.

With just under two months left in the NHL’s regular season, it’s finally time to start thinking about the playoffs! In our early projection of the first round in the Western Conference, these are the matchups we’ve got:


The Western Conference will be an absolute gauntlet in the postseason this year and the current standings show exactly that. While the top-seeded Jets and Canucks would have the easier matchups on paper, both St. Louis and Los Angeles are full of veteran players that know how to win in the postseason. In our projections, we have the Jets ending up as the conference’s top seed, while Vancouver wins the Pacific and finishes right behind them. In the race for the wild card spots, we predict that Los Angeles and St. Louis will beat out a number of competitive teams in the final games of the season.  

Of course, the Central is completely still up for grabs, but if Vegas or Edmonton wants that top seed from Vancouver, the movement up the standings will need to start now. 

Although the Blues will have to work just to get into the playoffs, they wouldn’t be a team I’d be excited to face after winning the conference. With Jordan Binnington in net, St. Louis is always a threat to get hot at the right time like they did in 2019. Obviously, this is a much different roster, but there’s enough veteran experience there to give the Jets a real run if Binnington is on his game. Winnipeg would undoubtedly be favored in this series, but I think it could make for a great divisional battle, nonetheless.  

Moving on to the next matchup, we’d have the Vancouver Canucks battling the Los Angeles Kings. The Canucks have certainly been the surprise of the season so far, but the roster doesn’t have a ton of playoff experience. The Kings, on the other hand, are led by two-time Cup Champs Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty. Vancouver is the more talented team of the two, but if L.A. could keep Thatcher Demko from being the difference in the series, I think this one could be very close. Nothing comes easy in the NHL playoffs, especially for teams that really haven’t been there before. The last time Vancouver played a home playoff game was in 2015. 

In the other two series, we would have four teams that are all good enough to go the distance. These four teams are the only ones who have reached the Western Conference Finals in the past two seasons, so to have these matchups in the first round would be quite something. While Colorado and Edmonton have some of the best top end talent in the NHL, Dallas and Vegas are built to be deep, physical, and very tough to play against. Both series would provide great insight into what works best in the playoffs and would probably be the league’s best matchups of the first round. Could Connor McDavid and the Oilers get one back on Vegas? Could it finally be Dallas’ year?

What a first round in the Western Conference this would be! We’ll be updating our predictions as the playoffs get closer, so check back again soon for changes. You can also check out out projections for the Eastern Conference here.

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