While the Toronto Maple Leafs finished fourth in the entire NHL and drew the unlucky straw of the reigning champion; in the West, things are a little nicer.
The Calgary Flames finished sixth in the league, 4 points back from the Toronto Maple Leafs and were rewarded with the league’s 15th place side, the Dallas Stars in round one.
Such is the strength of the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference on the whole. In fact, the only Western Conference team above the Leafs were the Colorado Avalanche.
The opening round in the West certainly has some interesting looking match-ups and probably has the best odds of an upset series win or two.
After all, given the strength of all the Eastern Conference participants in this year’s playoffs, would any one team winning over another truly be seen as an upset.
Of interest to Toronto Maple Leafs fans will be a few former players set to be in action across the Western Conference match-ups.
The stand-out of course being Colorado Avalanche centre Nazem Kadri, who will be hoping to redeem himself from a rather dubious trend of being suspended in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Also of note is former Leafs prospect Sean Durzi who has made himself an important piece on the Los Angeles Kings’ blue-line, while former top line favourite Zach Hyman is headed back to the playoffs in his first year with the Edmonton Oilers.
The match-ups certainly look to be juicy in the Western Conference; anyhow, on with the predictions.