Playoff matchups if the postseason started today; Leafs, Stars, Oilers would have three of the toughest round 1 matchups

Published December 23, 2022 at 10:02 PM
BY KENNEDY MERAW
We're officially in holiday mode as the last of the NHL games get played today before the league takes a break and resumes on December 27th. We're not even at the halfway mark of the season so far, and a lot could change by the end of April, but the break is an excellent opportunity to see where teams currently are in standings. Here's what the playoffs would look like if they started today:

Eastern Conference:

Atlantic Division

- Boston Bruins
- Toronto Maple Leafs
- Tampa Bay Lightning


Metropolitan Division

- Carolina Hurricanes
- New Jersey Devils
- Pittsburgh Penguins

Wild Card: New York Rangers and Washington Capitals

1st round matchups, based on this list, would be:

Boston/Washington
Toronto/Tampa
Carolina/New York
New Jersey/Pittsburgh

Western Conference:

Central Division

- Dallas Stars
- Winnipeg Jets
- Minnesota Wild

Pacific Division

- Vegas Golden Knights
- LA Kings
- Seattle Kraken

Wild Card: Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers

1st round matchups based on this list, would be:

Vegas/Edmonton
Dallas/Colorado
Winnipeg/Minnesota
LA/Seattle

One of the most surprising standings for me while looking at this is the Seattle Kraken, who, if I'm honest, did not have any high hopes for this season. Next in line are the New Jersey Devils. With both of these teams being non-playoff teams just last season, I'm not sure many would have put money on either being in a playoff spot at the midway point of the season.

Looking at the Atlantic, I can't say I'd be too thrilled about another Leafs vs. Lightning round-one matchup again. Having said that, if the Leafs are finally going to break through that glass ceiling, what better way to do it than to oust the team who took them out last season?
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