NHL Western Conference Wild Card Race
With the Eastern Conference playoff teams all wrapped up, the Western Conference now has roughly six teams fighting over two to three spots based on what division they are in.
The St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators are fighting over the third seed in the Central Division while the one who does not get it will likely finish as the top wild card seed.
The Blues currently sit at 81 points in 65 games while being led by a goaltending duo of Ville Husso and Jordan Binnington. On defense they just lost star player Torey Krug for an extended period of time, but trade deadline acquisition Nick Leddy should help soften the blow.
Wingers David Perron and Jordan Kyrou are leading the team with 22 goals.
The Predators sit with 80 points in 66 goals while goaltender Juuse Saros boasts a 2.58 save percentage.
Although they got Matthew Benning back, the defense is still pretty banged up but Jeremy Lauzon was brought in to help ease the pain. On offense Matt Duchene and Filip Forsberg are over 30 goals on the season while rookie surprise Tanner Jeannot has 22.
Vegas, Dallas, Winnipeg and Vancouver are all fighting for the final spot in the playoff race.
The Vegas Golden Knights are leading the way with 76 points in 68 games while also playing with the salary cap. They tried to trade forward Evgenii Dadonov to the Anaheim Ducks to clear cap space but the trade was voided because he had a ten team no-trade clause with Anaheim on it.
Apparently, Ottawa did not make Vegas aware of the list and Vegas had no idea it was a thing even though it is listed on multiple websites such as CapFriendly.
The Golden Knights have a slew of injuries to the likes of Brayden McNabb, Will Carrier, Nolan Patrick, Brett Howden, Nicolas Hague, Laurent Brossoit, Max Pacioretty, Mark Stone, Reilly Smith and Robin Lehner.
The Dallas Stars currently sit at 75 points in just 64 games after a rocky start to the season.
Jake Oettinger has taken the lead in net, and they have four defenseman with at least four goals on the year. Winger Jason Robertson is leading the team with 31 goals despite being one of the lesser-paid players on the roster.
The Winnipeg Jets have 74 points in 67 games while relying heavily on Connor Hellebuyck in net as he’s played 55 games already this season.
Joshua Morrissey has 11 goals as a defenseman while Brenden Dillon is leading the way with a +17 on the season. While the team has underwhelmed this season, forward Kyle Connor has not with 41 goals and 82 points on the year.
The Vancouver Canucks are just in the race with 73 points in 68 games while Thatcher Demko has had a similar workload to Hellebuyck on the season. Quinn Hughes leads the defense with 53 points on the season while on offense JT Miller has 28 goals and 80 points on the season.
The Blues will likely outduel the Predators for the third seed in the Central while with Vegas slipping and Dallas gaining traction, the Stars will likely edge out Vegas and Winnipeg for the final wild card spot.
James Morrison is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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