Top Four Teams In The Central
Ended up being Carolina, Florida, Tampa Bay, and Nashville
Like my other preseason predictions, the top teams in the Central Division weren’t exactly on the mark. Before the first puck had dropped, I had guessed that the top four teams would be, in order:
Tampa Bay Lightning, Dallas Stars, Carolina Hurricanes, and Columbus Blue Jackets
I was half right. Tampa Bay and Carolina made the cut, but Dallas and Columbus were replaced by Nashville and Florida. There were a variety of issues that plagued Dallas, literally and figuratively, but there’s no real way to explain why Columbus had such a poor season.
By contrast, Florida was excellent, and look to be legitimate cup contenders. Nashville made it to the postseason, and even if they aren’t the strongest team, they’ll still be a tough out for any team they match up against.
I predicted the top four teams in the Central to be: Tampa Bay, Dallas, Columbus, and Carolina
I honestly thought that both the Stars and Blue Jackets would have much better seasons than they did. The Jackets completely fell off the wagon and fired Tortorella as a result. Dallas was only a year removed from the Stanley Cup Final, but at the end of the day, was just not consistent enough to sneak back into the playoffs.
Pretty much everyone disregarded Florida before the season began, and I was no different as I thought it would be Tampa Bay, Carolina, Dallas, and Nashville. While I did get three of the teams right, Florida is a contender just as much as Tampa and Carolina.
I had Tampa, Columbus, Carolina, and Dallas as my top central division teams. Tampa and Carolina are correct while Dallas and Columbus both underachieved a lot this season. Considering Dallas made it to the cup finals last year and how Columbus played really well in the playoffs last summer I thought they’d easily make it back to the playoffs. However, Florida and Nashville both played well and secured the other two playoff spots. With Coach Q turning Florida’s culture around and Nashville playing well down the stretch, it is no surprise to see them in the playoffs.