Central Division Preview & Predictions

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Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Blackhawks and the Blues look to control the Central Division. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

 

With the 2013-2014 season right around the corner, Blackhawk Up takes a look at the Central Division and gives some predictions for the upcoming season.

7) The Dallas Stars brought in GM Jim Nill over the summer to help get the team back on track.  Nill brought in Bruins Rich Peverley and Tyler Seguin, so now they have a couple new guys with cup experience.  Of course there is asterisk with one of those two.  Seguin was shipped out for a lack of maturity and professionalism.  Some questioned that move, but if this was a wakeup call for Seguin then the Stars just got a very talented player.  They also picked up Twitter favorite Dan Ellis as backup goaltender.  Ellis will never be someone you consider to be vital to your team, but he is what he is: a backup.  Jamie Benn looks to continue on his path to being a bona fide star player.  While the additions to the team are promising, the team still has ways to go.  Dallas has an interesting team that will most likely change when the cap jumps back up next year.  Prediction:  The Stars are in a transition.  While I think the central will be very close, Dallas will unfortunately be on the outside looking in.

6) The Colorado Avalanche will aspire to move out of the Western Conference basement this year.  The addition of first round draft pick Nathan MacKinnon will add speed and scoring to an already dangerous offense.  Ryan O’Reilly has been moved to left wing during training camp and has found success playing with the other talented centers.  You can expect the offense to be potent, but I’m not sold on their blue line.  They bought out Greg Zanon over the summer.  I felt he tended to be a liability defensively, and I don’t think his immaculate beard was worth keeping him on the team.  In net we have Varlamov and Giguere back in action.  Guigere might not be as effective as he used to be, but his comments last year might have been for the best.  If you don’t remember, he called out some of the youngsters on the team for planning their Vegas trip rather than caring to finish off the season with integrity.  He’s still on the team, and maybe his words will get through to the youngsters.  Prediction:  They will have a much better showing this year, but they will still fall short of the playoffs.  The talent is there, but they need to learn to win and shake off that losing mentality.

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Tags: Brian Bickell Central Division Chicago Blackhawks Colorado Avalanche Dallas Stars David Backes Michael Frolik Minnesota Wild Nashville Predators NHL Training Camp Pekka Rinne Predictions Ryan O'Reilly St. Louis Blues Tyler Seguin Winnipeg Jets Zach Parise