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The Wild will likely be competing with the Ducks for home-ice advantage in the playoffs.
Projected Western Conference Finish:
As a result of playing in a division with only 14 teams, the Wild have a better shot of making the playoffs this season than if they were in the East.
The Blues and Blackhawks will be the toughest opponents within the division. Chicago will be favored to win the Central while the Blues and Wild vie for home-ice advantage.
The Jets and Avs may compete for a playoff spot, but are too young and inexperienced to be an actual threat to Minnesota, St. Louis and Chicago. Dallas may take the next step and make the postseason this year, but history tells us they won’t, and Nashville is in a rebuilding phase.
The Pacific will likely be the stronger conference with the Los Angeles Kings likely to win the division and the San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks and Anaheim Ducks all in the playoff hunt. The Edmonton Oilers are also a dark horse with young talent, as they, like Colorado and Winnipeg, are a team on the rise.
Expect the Wild to finish fourth, ahead of the Ducks (fifth), Sharks (sixth) and Canucks (seventh), but behind the Blackhawks (first), Kings (second) and Blues (third) with the Jets, Avs and Oilers all competing for the last spot.
Tom Schreier covers Minnesota sports for Bleacher Report and is a contributor to Yahoo! Sports.