The Chicago Blackhawks are the team to beat for most of the year, and they have the best chance to make it happen when the Stanley Cup playoffs begin on Feb. 27.
The Blackhawks, who lead the league in goals per game and points per game this season, are also the team with the best shot-attempt differential in the league, per Ken Campbell of NHL.com.
They’ve been the NHL’s best team in goals against per game for the past six seasons, and their record is second only to the Los Angeles Kings in scoring margin.
That could be enough to push the Blackhawks over the top for a top-five pick in the draft, but it’s not clear if the team will be able to make the playoffs with that sort of margin.
The Blackhawks have one of the NHLs best goaltenders in Tuukka Rask, who is in the final year of his contract, and are one of only two teams that haven’t yet lost three straight games.
The other is the Colorado Avalanche, who have been a steady and consistent contender in the Western Conference for much of the past decade.
But the Avalanche are coming off of back-to-back playoff series losses and have yet to score a goal in a regulation loss in six games.
They’re also without a first-round pick since the 2013-14 season.
In other playoff spots: The Los Angeles Lakers, New York Rangers, Minnesota Wild, Philadelphia Flyers, San Jose Sharks and Florida Panthers.