Colorado Avalanche (88 points, first wildcard spot)
Probability of facing Predators: 22.8 percent
I’m a true believer in what Colorado is building for the future. They’re going to be a serious contender for a while, but they’re a few pieces away from being a real threat. If they get into the playoffs, that will be a great accomplishment for a proud franchise that’s been down fora while.
As for 2018, a first-round meeting with the Predators might go five games. It doesn’t mean every game will be a blowout, but the Predators are vastly the better team. The least amount of resistance for the Predators in the first round will be drawing the Avalanche. Again, not trying to hate on the Avalanche, but they’re a season or two away from giving Cup contenders issues in a seven-game series.
To round this out, I see the Avalanche falling out of playoff contention. Just look at their remaining schedule and you’ll have a hard time disagreeing. Two meetings with Vegas and their last four games will be against playoff contenders. The Blues sneak in to take their place as the final wildcard and will face the Predators.