The Chicago Blackhawks used to be the top team in the central division. Now going into a new season, they are going to be watching other teams compete for the championship and rule the central division.
Since winning their last championship, three different teams from the Chicago Blackhawks division have gone on to compete in the Stanley Cup Final: Dallas Stars, St. Louis Blues, and Nashville Predators. In fact, the St. Louis Blues would go on to win the Stanley Cup during their trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 2019. So, going into this new season who is set to lead the pack in the central and who will be on the outside looking in?
Well before we discuss the other teams, let’s talk a little about the Blackhawks. Stan Bowman and company came out and said the Blackhawks are going to do their best to rebuild their next championship team. Well, that means we might be seeing a step back when it comes to the product on the ice next season. However, that does not mean Chicago is a team that will be pushed around.
The Blackhawks moves this offseason are going to make them a tougher team to play against. They might not be that much better, but they will be a tough group to play. Nikita Zadorov, Mattias Janmark, and Lucas Wallmark are all going to make the Blackhawks a better roster to play against defensively. So when a team comes to town, they better not take the Blackhawks on lightly.
Every time Chicago faces off against a top-tier opponent it is like a measuring stick for what they are missing, that is what Vegas was for Chicago during the playoffs. It is an opportunity to see what Chicago’s roster is still missing, and where they need to improve. The Blackhawks used to be that team for a long time. When the ‘Hawks were winning their championships teams would get extra excited to play them to see where they were at in developing a top team. So who are the top teams in the central?
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The Central Division Top Three:
1 Colorado Avalanche:
The Colorado Avalanche are going to be scary good for a long time in the NHL. They have a chance to put together the next dynasty in the NHL, and they are only going to get better. While Colorado didn’t make it to the Stanley Cup final this season, they did have a lot of injuries. Plus they recently added Brandon Saad to their group. Colorado is a great offensive team, and Chicago is going to have to play at their best against the Avalanche.
2 St. Louis Blues:
The St. Louis Blues are going to be playing with an extra spark after getting knocked out of the playoffs in the first round. While the St. Louis Blues did lose their captain they are going to come back better than ever, and Chicago is going to have to be ready to play them throughout the season.
3 Dallas Stars:
The Dallas Stars are an interesting team. While they did go to the Stanley Cup Final, a lot of fans wouldn’t say they are the best team in the west. That is why I believe the Dallas Stars might be a fun team to watch next season. They still have something to prove after falling short of the Stanley Cup this past season. While they might not be the best roster on paper, they are a top-three team in the Central Division none the less and are a tough group of players to play against.
That leaves the Nashville Predators, Winnipeg Jets, and Minnesota Wild for the Chicago Blackhawks competition. Well, I think we could see another year where the Blackhawks are at the bottom of the central, and while that might be frustrating, it will allow the team to hopefully secure a nice draft pick.
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We won’t know what is going to happen until the season begins, but for right now have those three teams on your radar to be at the top of the central. Unless Nashville or Winnipeg can somehow turn the clock back and be anything more than a wildcard team. This all goes with a grain of salt. who knows what next season will look like if the NHL has to change up divisions. We will just have to wait and see!