Instead of just sitting around waiting for the first trade to happen, let’s take a look at the odds to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference (click here for the West), per Sports Club Stats:
As you can see, the surging Washington Capitals have risen all the way to around 50/50. Their best shot of making the playoffs is by catching slumping Winnipeg and winning the Southeast Division. But the Rangers, Devils, and Islanders are also in reach. (FYI, the “G” column is games in hand on the team that’s played the most games, which in this case is Winnipeg, with 38.)
I’ll add another team that could conceivably drop back into bubble territory, and that’s Ottawa. The Senators kicked off a seven-game road trip last night in Boston with a 3-2 loss. Ottawa is just 6-8-3 away from home this season, so this trip will be a serious test. If they can keep getting the best goaltending in the NHL (by a wide margin), they should be fine. If not, it could be close.