Last NHL betting season proved to be a good one for the Central Division, as no less than 5 teams made it into the Stanley Cup playoffs. Let’s also not forget that this was the division that supplied us with the eventual champion in the Chicago Blackhawks. It looks as though it may be more of the same this year for the division, so let’s look at what we can expect:
There are few teams who handle the salary cap better than the Blackhawks, and that management allows them to have roster that is deep and stacked with talent. They did trade away a number of their higher-priced talent in the offseason, but this is standard operating procedure for a team that always finds a way to reload. They will have the majority of their key players from last season back in the fold, which means they will once again be the team to beat in the Central Division. One thing to watch out for is what happens with Patrick Kane. There is likely no chance that he’ll be suspended until his court case comes to a close one way or another.
St. Louis Blues
As good as the Blues have been over the past couple of years, winning more than 50 games each time, they have fallen early in the postseason. The Blues are a team high on skill, but who have been thought of a lacking in toughness when it comes to the playoffs. They look to have addressed that with the addition of Troy Brouwer and Kyle Brodziak. St. Louis will challenge for the top spot again, but they will be more concerned about making a little deeper run into the playoffs.
If you want an idea of just how good this division is, all you need to do is look at the Colorado Avalanche. This group finished in the basement last season despite posting 90 points. The Avs are young and deep on offense, but are lacking in the defensive department. They addressed that issue in the offseason by shipping out Ryan O’Reilly and bringing in defenseman Nikita Zadorov. The hope is that he will bring some stability to a rather shaky defensive unit.
This is a team that is set to challenge in the division again, as all of their best players are currently in their prime. Combine that with a terrific group of youngsters who have come up through the system, and you have a team that could well be very, very good for the foreseeable future.