NHL Season Predictions – Central Division


Parker Traman

This is the second part to my NHL season predictions, this time I’ll be discussing the other division in the Western Conference, the Central Division.


Central Division:
#1:) Colorado Avalanche – C’mon, these are the defending Stanley Cup champions we’re talking about, of course they’ll be great. Yes, the goaltending still isn’t the best, and the losses of Nazem Kadri and Andre Burakovsky will sting, but the Avs made decent additions to fill those holes and they have plenty of young players who can slide in on the bottom lines. I would be shocked if the Avs struggle.


#2:) Nashville Predators – This could be a somewhat hot take, as the Preds have been viewed as one of the more, I guess, there teams in the league these past couple seasons. But they surprised me last year, and they brought back every single key piece, along with a few free agent signings, so they should be fine. Juuse Saros is one of the front-runners for the Vezina trophy this year, and I expect him to be absolutely lights out in net this year.


#3:) Minnesota Wild – The Wild are still fantastic, that much is certain. They did lose one of their best pieces in Kevin Fiala, however, I feel like they’ll be just fine if Kirill Kaprizov still plays at an elite level, and if Marc-Andre Fleury can stay consistent in a Wild jersey.


#4:) St. Louis Blues – A true wild card team, in a literal sense because my lord the Blues are a difficult team to predict. On one hand, they’re good, but not great, but on the other hand, Jordan Binnington could explode again and they could win the Cup like they did back in 2019. However, I feel as if they got worse, not too terribly worse, but worse nonetheless. David Perron and Ville Husso both left for Detroit, and the two of them were some of the more consistent members of the squad the previous season, but again, they should be okay. 


#5:) Winnipeg Jets – Okay I lost all faith in the Jets after last season’s disappointment (yes, I’m sour), and I don’t expect them to improve much this season. Upon that, the constant rumors surrounding the locker room won’t help, and I expect them to unload some key pieces towards the end of this year. They won’t be deplorable, as there’s still talent on the roster, but this is going to be a turning point season for Winnipeg.


#6:) Dallas Stars – Oh Dallas, how about you stop being old and just accept the future? Yes, Jake Oettinger should be a beast this year, and Mason Marchment was arguably the most underrated pick-up of the offseason, but Dallas is still old and slowing down. They hobbled their way into the playoffs last year, and gave a valiant performance against Calgary. Also, Peter DeBoer is not the answer at head coach.


#7:) Arizona Coyotes – The Coyotes are literally playing in a college arena.


#8:) Chicago Blackhawks – This may be my bias speaking, but man the Hawks are going to be awful this year. On top of the mediocre core (besides Patrick Kane), the deplorable defense, and the poor goaltending, the Hawks are my pick for the worst team this year. Kane will most likely be traded by the deadline, and Toews isn’t good enough to carry a team anymore. As a Red Wings fan, I’ve been anticipating this season for years.