Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Take Town: The gaps are opening out West, but shouldn't the Dallas Stars be better?

I can't believe how stratified the Western Conference is. The top three teams in both the Central and Pacific Divisions are significantly ahead of all the teams outside those top-six positions.

Take the Dallas Stars, for instance; they're currently third in the Central, boasting a five-point lead over the Nashville Predators and having played two fewer games. This means that even if they were to lose both those games, they would still maintain a considerable advantage. Similarly, in the Pacific, the Los Angeles Kings are six points ahead of the Edmonton Oilers, and they still have a game in hand.

Furthermore, this isn't a mere coincidence. There are only two teams in the Western Conference outside those divisional playoff spots that rank in the top 14 in the league based on underlying statisti

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NHL Calgary Flames Dallas Stars Edmonton Oilers Nashville Predators Toronto Maple Leafs Winnipeg Jets NHL Connor Hellebuyck Elias Lindholm William Nylander Jake Oettinger
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