NHL standings: Seeding scenarios and breakdowns for final 2021 playoff spots
The NHL season is winding to a close, and most teams who are going to be competing for the Stanley Cup in the 2021 playoffs have already punched their ticket. In this strange season, where the league’s divisions have re-aligned and competed only against themselves, there is more mystery this year than ever. 16 teams will make the playoffs, and at the time of writing, 10 have. In this season where anything can happen, a playoff appearance for any team has the potential to spur a run.
Betting on this year’s playoffs will make for some serious entertainment, with this year’s conference finals having teams that haven’t played all season long. Any team that makes it can surprise, so bettors could end up winning big. If you’re looking for the right website to place some NHL playoff bets, BettingTop10 has a breakdown and review of some of the biggest brands out there, including Sports Interaction one of the most popular bookies. With the playoffs due to start on May 11th, here’s a rundown of some seeding scenarios and potential situations with the final spots up for grabs.
Four teams from each of the four divisions will make it, with the 1-seed playing the 4-seed and the 3-seed playing the 2-seed. The winners of each series will play, until there is only one team remaining from each division. These teams will be seeded one to four based on points in the regular season, and they’ll face off in the Stanley Cup semi-final, seeded the same way as the first round of games.
In the Discover Central division, 3 teams have clinched: the Carolina Hurricanes, the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Florida Panthers. The Hurricanes are at the top of the division with 75 points, and the Lightning and Panthers have 73, with the Lightning having played one less game. It is a tightly contested race for who will end up 1-3.
In the four spot right now is the Nashville Predators. They have 58 points in 52 games. The only team with any hope of catching them to sneak in is the Dallas stars, who have 55 points in 51 games.
In the Honda West division, the Vegas Golden Knights, Colorado Avalanche, and Minnesota Wild have all clinched seeding 1-3. It appears likely that they will finish the season in that order, as the Knights have 74 points, the Avalanche have 70 points, and the Wild have 68 points.
In the 4 seed, it appears likely the St. Louis Blues have locked up playoffs, although the Arizona Coyotes could still sneak in if the Blues collapse. The Blues have 53 points in 49 games, while the Coyotes have 50 in 52.
In the Scotia North Division, only one team has clinched. The Toronto Maple Leafs will likely end up as the one seed, with 71 points. Although the rest of the division hasn’t clinched, it appears very likely the 3 teams joining the Leafs will be the Edmonton Oilers, who have 62 points, the Winnipeg Jets, who have 57, and the Montreal Canadiens, who have 55. The only other team somewhat alive in this race is the Calgary Flames, who have 47 points in 50 games.
The MassMutual East Division has three teams who have clinched playoffs, although it is all but certain who the 4th team will be. The Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, and New York Islanders have clinched, and the Boston Bruins have essentially clinched, unless the impossible happens.
The Penguins have 71 points in 52 games, the Capitals have 69 points in 51, the Islanders have 67 in 51, and the Bruins have 66 in 50. This means there can be a lot of shuffling in this division before the seeds are set. This is likely the race where there is still the most up for grabs, as every team is within striking distance of each other.
In this strange NHL season, fans should expect the unexpected. Never has there been a year like this, where teams compete only against teams in their division. This means comparing teams is extremely difficult, because we haven’t seen teams face off against a wide range of opponents. As we approach the Stanley Cup Playoffs, there is a still a lot set to figure out. While most teams appear locked into their spots, there is still seeding and a few loose spots up for grabs, which will lead to an exciting stretch run.
Story by George Blake