Tuesday, October 11, 2016

2016 NHL Preview: Central Division

            Now let's take a look at the NHL's deepest division: the Central Division. The Central Division will once again be a dog fight between some of the top teams in the NHL, with most of these teams being Stanley Cup Contenders. Who will make it out on top in this tough division?

  1. Chicago Blackhawks: Everybody talks about how good the Blackhawks are because of Patrick Kane (46 goals, 50 assists) or Duncan Keith or Jonathan Toews. There is one Blackhawk that you should know and that's Artemi Panarin. Panarin surprised a lot of people last season with 30 goals, 47 assists, and a plus/minus rating of +8. 
  2. Nashville Predators: The big news in the NHL over the summer was Nashville's acquisition of P.K. Subban. The former Norris trophy winner will be a steady upgrade in terms of age and ability over Shea Weber and will provide the Preds' blue-line with a player in his prime. If the Predators can get solid goaltending from Pekka Rinne this season, they should be legit Stanley Cup contenders. 
  3. Dallas Stars: The Stars have a lot of offensive firepower, namely Jamie Benn (41 goals, 48 assists), Jason Spezza (33 goals, 30 assists), and Tyler Seguin (33 goals, 40 assists). However, goaltending will be a question this season. Can they hold off enough shots as they try to outscore the competition?
  4. St. Louis Blues: St. Louis lost two key players from last season in Brian Elliott and David Backes. While they'll miss Backes's contributions and Elliott's goaltending, they still have one of the most exciting players in the league in Vladimir Tarasenko (40 goals, 34 assists, +7). They also have a fairly solid defense that'll keep opposing players at bay.
  5. Winnipeg Jets: A lot of questions surrounding Jacob Trouba, who's asking for a trade. However, the forward position is a deep one for the Jets, which will play a big role in why they'll get in the playoffs. 
  6. Minnesota Wild: The Wild hired Bruce Boudreau as their new head coach, which is a nice addition. Problem is, Boudreau has a hard time getting his teams out of the first round no matter what record they have. Will this be the case with the Wild?
  7. Colorado Avalanche: The main storyline with the Avalanche was Patrick Roy's sudden resignation as head coach. Was there something wrong on the management side? Anyways, the Avs have some things to improve upon. One of them is not letting opponents pepper the goalie with shot; Colorado had the third-highest shots allowed per game with 32.3 with a difference of -03.7.

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