Saturday, September 28, 2013

Meet The New Divisions: Central Division

7. Winnipeg Jets-The Jets were a team who just missed the playoffs in a bad division. Now, they move into a much stronger division and will learn that they need to play more consistently to win. They have a few good players on this team, but they lack the depth that is necessary to help them win. The Jets fly right into the basement of the Central.

6. Colorado Avalanche-Firing Joe Sacco was a definite move in the right direction for the Avs. They now have a new voice behind the bench and should start to see major improvements from the team. Problem for them is that they still lack defense and goaltending big time, and there are some teams in this division who can definitely take advantage of that.

5. Dallas Stars-A major overhaul of the hockey operations department and the team is how the Stars went about their offseason. They too have a new voice behind the bench, but Lindy Ruff has a track record lately of having his teams underachieve. Its hard to say if he has the same misfortune in Dallas, but for this year at least it would appear that Dallas misses out on the playoffs again.

4. Nashville Predators-What happened to Nashville last season was more of a fluke. This team plays hard every night, but they still lack the scoring to be a serious contender. The team did improve up front and added some playmakers, but they still dont have that definitive goal scorer. The team does stay in the playoff race this year, but will their lack of scoring keep them on the outside looking in again?

3. Minnesota Wild-A good infusion of veteran stars and young playmakers will be the Minnesota lineup every night. They look to be much more solid up front with the return of Pominville and Heatley from injuries, and they strengthened the back end by signing Keith Ballard. If Minnesota can find just a tad bit more consistency, they should be a lock to make the playoffs.

2. St. Louis Blues-If the team in front of them weren't so good, they would be a contender to win the Central. But a solid all around hockey team is only good enough for second place (mind implosion). The Blues have vast depth up front, a great defensive core, and a formidable tandem in the net. They are certainly a lock to make the playoffs, and maybe now that they can reach the third round of the playoffs since they can't possibly meet LA until then.

1. Chicago Blackhawks-As noted in their preview (click team name for post) last Monday, this team is just so good, and poses the best threat to repeat as Stanley Cup Champions since Detroit did it in 1997 and 1998. The only question mark for Chicago comes in goal as Corey Crawford just cashed in a new $36 million contract extension over six years, and has yet to be consistent over several seasons.

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