<
>
Get ESPN+

Which of the NHL's division leaders are most vulnerable?

Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals are atop the Metropolitan once again, but will they remain there at season's end? Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Heading into the annual NHL holiday roster freeze, the Lightning, Capitals, Predators and Golden Knights lead their respective divisions. History suggests that only two of these teams will remain in first place when the season ends, but which ones?

Since the new four-division format was introduced for the 2013-14 season, exactly half of the 16 teams that were leading their division at this point of the season ultimately won the crown. Seven of the remaining eight teams made the playoffs in a lower position. The only team to fall out of the playoffs entirely were the Montreal Canadiens, who led the Atlantic with 43 points at this point in 2015-16, but who had lost Carey Price to a knee injury and secured only 39 more points in the remaining 48 games.

Barring major injury, that means that all of today's four divisional leaders are playoff locks, but only half of them will secure that all-important No. 1 home seed. A closer look at each team's underlying numbers may help reveal who that will be.

Here are the current division leaders ranked in order of most to least likely to lose their division crown: