2018 NHL Central Division Preview

2018 NHL Central Division Preview

On-to the Western Conference, where I believe is the toughest conference to predict teams season points. Teams shockingly emerged last year and shocked people (Vegas Golden Knights, Colorado Avalanche) and a couple disappointed (Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks). The Central Division has two power house teams that are clear-cut dominant forces (Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets).

The Chicago Blackhawks cannot be counted out every other season, but this time around, they took a different turn. Stuck in cap issues, the Blackhawks continue to roll with the same team as their “Dynasty” team. This will not prove dividends as the NHL is getting younger, and their Defense will struggle to keep up with these kids and Crawford just got cleared to play. This division also features a Colorado Avalanche team who has shocked everyone last year, and will continue to do so as they added an emerging goaltender in Phillip Grubauer. He will look to take the job from Varlamov, and I expect him to do so. The duo-goalie tandem of Varlamov and Gurbauer is an upgrade from the Bernier and Varlamov tandem, expect Grubauer to steal some games from teams. Dallas Stars carry the dynamic duo of Benn and Seguin. A lethal duo on the Powerplay and on the first line, but will struggle because of their lack of depth in the 3rd and 4th line. Minnesota features a team that added some key players that will help improve their 9th ranked Defense that allowed only 3.20 GAA. The question that surrounds this team, that does not make me think they can muster up 95 points, is their offense. Eric Staal keeps finding this fountain of youth, but I do not think he repeats his 76pt campaign. The Nashville Predators, the team that has become the talk of the Western Conference discussion for Stanley Cup. This team has some of the best defensemen in the league that is led by Roman Josi, PK Subban, Elias Ekholm and Ryan Ellis. This team will continue to be dominant in the Western Conference, and can compete for the conference. The Central division also features a new look St. Louis Blues team who has improved down the middle and has some of the best face-off winners. The Blues are looking to beat teams by winning face-offs, and controlling the puck-longer, which I think will help them succeed throughout the season. Connor Hellebuyck, last years surprise goalie has helped the Winnipeg Jets steal games last year, games in which Steve Mason would not have stolen. The Jets offense is very deep, they have lost Paul Stastny but the distribution of talent throughout the lines, will not make Stastny missed.

  • Chicago Blackhawks: 86.5 Points
    • Key Acquisitions: Cam Ward, Brandon Manning, Chris Kunitz, Marcus Kruger,
    • Key Departures: Patrick Sharp, Cody Franson, Anthony Duclair, Tomas Jurco,
    • BET: UNDER 86.5 Points
  • Colorado Avalanche: 86.5 Points
    • Key Acquisitions: Philipp Grubauer, Matt Calvert, Ian Cole
    • Key Departures: Blake Comeau, Jonathan Bernier
    • BET: OVER 86.5 Points
  • Dallas Stars: 94.5 Points
    • Key Acquisitions: Blake Comeau, Anton Khudobin, Roman Polak, Connor Carrick
    • Key Departures: Kari Lehtonen, Dan Hamhuis, Antoine Roussel, Greg Pateryn
    • BET: UNDER 94.5 points
  • Minnesota Wild: 94.5 Points
    • Key Acquisitions: Greg Pateryn, Matt Bartkowski, J.T. Brown, Eric Fehr, Matt Read, Andrew Hammond
    • Key Departures: Tyler Ennis, Daniel Winnik, Matt Cullen,
    • BET: UNDER 94.5 Points
  • Nashville Predators: 104.5 Points
    • Key Acquisitions: Jarred Tinordi, Dan Hamhuis
    • Key Departures: Mike Fisher
    • BET: OVER 104.5 Points
  • St. Louis Blues: 97.5 Points
    • Key Acquisitions:  Ryan O’Reilly, Tyler Bozak, David Perron, Patrick Maroon, Chad Johnson
    • Key Departures: Carter Hutton, Patrik Berglund, Vladimir Sobotka, Tage Thompson
    • BET: OVER 97.5 Points
  • Winnipeg Jets: 104.5 Points
    • Key Acquisitions: Laurent Brossoit, Seth Griffin
    • Key Departures: Paul Stastny, Matt Hendricks, Michael Hutchinson, Joel Armia
    • BET: OVER 104.5 Points
  • Division: Winnipeg Jets (+160) Nashville Predator (+150)
Comments
Loading...