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Playoff Seeding Just Got Interesting

Let's take a look at how the playoffs might shake out.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

A few days ago I was having a conversation about playoff seeding with a friend. I remarked how it looked like we were on a collision course with Chicago in the first round, and how I wasn't looking forward to it. While many of you are drooling at the thought of paying Chicago back and bouncing them from the playoffs, I am not. I don't think we are incapable of doing so, but the series with the Hawks would be draining for both teams. I frankly believe which ever team comes out of that hit fest alive will be worn down and at a disadvantage for the rest of the playoffs.

That being said a few things have changed recently. The chance of us catching the Nashville Predators is still slim. We are 9 points behind them with the end of the season on the horizon. Even when we were on the best win streak of the franchise, we made nearly no progress whatsoever. So why are the seedings suddenly interesting now? The Blues aren't playing good hockey, but we aren't the only ones. Chicago is 5-2-3 in their last 10. Winnipeg is only 4 points behind them sitting in the wildcard spot. I was of the opinion before that the top 3 in the central were set. I wasn't willing to say that Chicago wouldn't catch us, but if they did we would still draw them in the first round. With the Scottrade filling with Hawks fans during every game, our home games against them don't give us much advantage.

I am no longer of that opinion. Chicago was not playing so well before losing Kane, and are now in an even worse position. No one enjoys seeing any player go down with an injury. Even thought I don't like Kane nor the way he plays, he is one of the top names in the game and losing him for any period of time is not good for a sport I am desperate to see grow. Chicago is now no longer a lock in my mind for the 3rd seed. We are only slightly safer in our second seed, seeing as we are currently 7 points ahead of Winnipeg and 11 points ahead of Minnesota. I have read multiple reports on how long Kane will be out. They range from 6 weeks all the way to 12 weeks. The final regular season game is played April 11th this year, which is 6 weeks away. That means at the earliest prediction, Kane could be back for round 1. The more recent reports I have read are pegging his return closer to the 10-12 week mark than the 6-10 week mark. The first round of the playoffs is roughly a 2 week affair. Putting Kane roughly in week 8 at the start of round 2 and at week 10 for the WCF.

Should Chicago fall to a wildcard, we may avoid them all together. The chance of them falling to the 2nd wildcard sport is hard to see. With the current standings, Nashville in the Central has 6 more points than the Ducks in the Pacific. This means Nashville and the Central Division will draw the second wildcard seed, sending Chicago to play in the Pacific. Should both St Louis and Chicago survive the playoff gauntlet, we would be reunited in the Western Conference Finals, right at the time Patrick Kane would be returning from injury if he wasn't rushed into action.

There is still more than a month and a half of hockey left to be played, and the standings could be rocked by some completely unforseen shakeup. The two theories I have posted are just 2 of many possibilities. I just feel them to be 2 of the more logical. So, how would you rather the seeds be drawn up? A Patrick Kane-less Chicago in Round 1, or a seemingly easier opponent in Round 1, only to possibly face a full healthy Chicago in the Western Conference Finals? Post your thoughts in the comments.