Balance of Power in NHL Shifts to the East

COLUMBUS, OH - JANUARY 25: Team Foligno stands on the ice prior to the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game against Team Toews at Nationwide Arena on January 25, 2015 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

For years the perennial powerhouse in the NHL has been the Western conference.

Five of the past seven years the Stanley Cup winner has come out of the West, with three of those being attributed to the Blackhawks. Seven of the last nine Presidents’ Trophy (awarded to team with most points in regular season) winners have come out of the west as well.

Looked at as a whole, over the past couple years, the West was producing 6, 7, and 8 seeds that would have been division winners in the East.

This year is completely different, though. Doubtless, the Red Wings’ transition to the East plays a large role in the East’s proliferation this season, but simply put the teams are just playing better.

Right now the eighth place in the East, the New Jersey Devils, have 53 points and the fifth place team in the West, the Minnesota Wild, have 54 points. One point separates the eighth place team in the East from the fifth place team in the West.

Also the first place team in the East, the Washington Capitals, have 73 points while the Chicago Blackhawks in the West have 68 points.

It seems the East has finally eclipsed the West in terms of sheer talent and skill.

Though the West has stars such as Patrick Kane, who is putting up a monster year, leading the league in all three major categories, goals, assists, and points, the East has reputable stars as well.

Erik Karlsson, Evgeny Kuznetsova, and Alexander Ovechkin round out the East, as all three have turned in impressive years to this point, but the West still largely controls the leader board for points.

Maybe someday the East players will outperform the West but for now the West have largely cemented their dominance. Two of the two three leaders in points are on the Dallas Stars, Jamie Benn, and Tyler Seguin.

Fans of the East are thinking a Stanley Cup would be nice. Maybe just one, don’t want to ask for too much. It remains to be seen if things will swing further but for now the East is dominating the standings and West dominating the points.

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