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What does the NHL playoff picture look like in the Western Conference?

We break down the standings and how things might shake out in the West.

NHL: Vegas Golden Knights at Colorado Avalanche Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

With the NHL season flipped over into the 2023 calendar year and nearly at the halfway point, it’s time to look at the Stanley Cup Playoff picture. Which teams appear to be near locks and which are on the outside looking in.

NHL playoff picture

Western Conference

Central Division

  1. Dallas Stars: 52 points
  2. Winnipeg Jets: 47 points
  3. Minnesota Wild: 44 points

Pacific Division

  1. Vegas Golden Knights: 54 points
  2. Los Angeles Kings: 48 points
  3. Calgary Flames: 43 points

Wild Card

  1. Seattle Kraken: 42 points
  2. Edmonton Oilers: 42 points
  3. Colorado Avalanche: 41 points
  4. St. Louis Blues: 37 points
  5. Nashville Predators: 36 points

Buoyed by strong goaltending and the offensive wizardry of Jason Robertson, the Dallas Stars have been the leaders in the Central for much of the season. The Stars are -135 at DraftKings Sportsbook to win the division, favorites ahead of the Avalanche (+330) and the Jets (+600). With Jake Oettinger having a career year, it feels like the Stars are going to be in the discussion for the top seed in the West. Colorado has struggled to run it back this season, but the defending champs have a couple of games in hand over Edmonton and Seattle, putting them in as a wild card. The Avalanche, however, would be doing themselves a big favor by going on a nice win streak.

Vegas is the class of the Pacific Division and still have one of the best rosters in hockey. The Golden Knights are six points ahead of the Kings in the Pacific and are -175 to win the division. Calgary (+550) and Edmonton (+650) sit ahead of the Kings (+800) in terms of betting favorites. Seattle had been the story for the first quarter/third of the NHL season, but the Kraken are 4-5-1 in their past ten and are +1400 to win the division.