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NHL Central Division: Projecting 2015-16 Standings

By Andrew Facemyer
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For the 2015-16 season, the Chicago Blackhawks will be part of the toughest division in hockey yet again. Last year, you could have argued every single team could have made the playoffs under different circumstances, and this year isn’t shaping up to be any different. After another wild offseason, it’s anybody’s guess how this insane Central Division will play out.

Before we dive into next season, let’s take a look at some of the moves the Blackhawks’ division rivals made during the offseason.

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Colorado Avalanche: The Avs have been busy this offseason with the free agent signings of Carl Soderberg, Francois Beauchemin and Blake Comeau. They also traded Tim Horton‘s hater Ryan O’Reilly and fellow forward Jamie McGinn for defenseman Nikita Zadarov, forward Mikhail Grigorenko, prospect J.T. Compher and a first-round draft pick. O’Reilly’s contract was up at the end of the 2015-16 season, and O’Reilly and the Avs were too far apart, which prompted the move.

Dallas Stars: As we unfortunately know, the Stars have also been busy this offseason. Besides robbing the ‘Hawks blind in a trade in which the Stars acquired Patrick Sharp and Stephen Johns for nothing more than a half-eaten box of Cheerios and a can of Lone Star, they also signed former ‘Hawks Stanley Cup champions in Johnny Oduya and Antti Niemi, who is initially expected to split time with current Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen.

Minnesota Wild: The most boring team in the NHL continued its legacy and did basically nothing this offseason.

Nashville Predators: They signed the defenseman that we all love to hate in Barret Jackman. Like the Wild, the Preds were also somewhat quiet this offseason.

St. Louis Blues: The Blues’ most notable offseason move was to keep Arby’s Beef n’ Cheddar lover and coach Ken Hitchcock, whose reputation is still riding on that Stanley Cup he won approximately 400 years ago. On the player side, they did trade T.J. Oshie for former ‘Hawk Stanley Cup champion Troy Brouwer, incorrectly spelled goaltender Pheonix Copley and a third-round draft pick.

Winnipeg Jets: The Jets made a free agent signing when they inked former KHLer (and former Jet) Alexander Burmistrov. They have been just as quiet as the Wild and Preds.

Now that we have the background, lets take a look at the projected regular-season standings for the 2016-16 season.

Next: Next Up: Nos. 7 and 6

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