With the NHL at the All-Star Break, it would now be an appropriate time to start thinking about the postseason. The playoffs are less than three months away and the trade deadline is less than a month away. But what if all of that didn't happen and the playoffs were to start today? What would the matchups be and how would they fare?
In the Western Conference: the (WC1) Dallas Stars would face the (1) Winnipeg Jets, the (3) St. Louis Blues would face the (2) Nashville Predators, the (WC2) Colorado Avalanche would face the (1) Vegas Golden Knights, and the (3) Calgary Flames would face the (2) San Jose Sharks.
In the Eastern Conference: the (WC1) New Jersey Devils would face the (1) Washington Capitals, the (3) Pittsburgh Penguins would face the (2) Columbus Blue Jackets, the (WC2) Philadelphia Flyers would face the (1) Tampa Bay Lightning, and the (3) Toronto Maple Leafs would face the (2) Boston Bruins.
In the west, the most interesting first-round series would be the Stars vs Jets. Dallas has players that have been in the playoffs and Winnipeg has players that haven't been there before and they have the talent to win it all. The Blues vs Predators would be an interesting series to, but the Predators would prevail because they are primed for another run.
I think Colorado and Calgary would both pull playoff upsets. Nathan MacKinnon will not allow the Avalanche to lose in the first round again and Vegas isn't ready for primetime. The Flames are a much better hockey team than the Sharks.
In the east, the most interesting first-round series would be an original six matchup between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins. There is star power all over the ice and both teams don't like each other. Even though close to no one was on the 2013 Toronto team that blew a 4-1 lead to the Boston Bruins in game seven in the first-round, I am sure that they want revenge.
The other interesting series would be Pittsburgh vs Columbus because this would be the third time in five seasons these two teams meet in the postseason. Also, Pittsburgh would be looking to three-peat. The Capitals would most likely take the Devils to the cleaners and the Lightning would most likely take the Flyers to the cleaners.