With just about a month left in the WHL regular season, the #1 seed in the Western Conference has gone from all but certain for Prince George to a 4-team race. As you can see in the above graphic, Everett currently leads with 82 points in 58 games. Next are the Seattle Thunderbirds with 81 points in 60 games. Prince George is 3rd with 81 points in 62 games and Kamloops is in 4th with 80 points in 62 games.
The 2 US Division teams control their own destiny as far as being #1 seed in the conference. Everett winning out would give them the regular season title while the same can be said for Seattle (due to the head-to-head matchups that still remain between Everett and Seattle)
Here are the remaining games for each team:
- Everett (14; 5H, 9A): vs PDX, vs KAM, @ SEA, vs SPO, vs KEL, vs SEA, @ SPO, @ SEA, @ TC, @ PDX, @ KEL, @ VIC, vs VIC, @ TC
- Seattle (12; 7H, 5A): @ TC, vs KEL, vs EVE, @ KAM, vs TC, @ EVE, vs SPO, vs EVE, @ PDX, @ SPO, vs PDX, vs VAN
- Prince George (10; 5H, 5A): vs EDM, vs EDM, @ KEL, vs KAM, vs KAM, @ PDX, @ TC, @ SPO, @ KAM, vs KAM
- Kamloops (10; 5H, 5A): vs KEL, @ EVE, vs SEA, @ PG, @ PG, vs VIC, vs VIC, vs VAN, vs PG, @ PG
Looking at simply home and away, Seattle has the advantage as they have more home games left than any of the other 3 teams. Their travel is also considerably less as they only make one more trip out of the division to Kamloops while Everett has to travel to both Kelowna and Victoria.
In terms of head-to-head matchups, Kamloops has the edge. Despite having the fewest games remaining with 10, 6 of those are against the teams ahead of them in the standings. In fact, they are the only team of the 4 who have games remaining against the other 3.
Strength of schedule would lean towards Prince George as they avoid both Everett and Seattle while also playing two games vs Edmonton, the 10th place team in the Eastern Conference. Both Seattle and Kamloops should benefit from a game against Vancouver, the last place team in the Western Conference.
Finally, in just straight numbers, while they have a road-heavy final stretch, Everett has the most opportunities to gain points. They hold 2 games in hand on Seattle and 4 on each of the BC Division contenders.
The WHL couldn’t ask for much more as it looks like these division titles and the #1 conference seed could come down to the final weekend and even the final game of the season. This wild ride to finish it off should set up what looks to be a very competitive postseason in the West.