Central Division 2018-19 predictions Jets keep Presidents Tr

Posted by seestyle on August 4th, 2022

Sporting News' hockey experts , and predicted the final standings for the 2018-19NHL season. The playoff seeding below was determined Harmon Killebrew Jersey by the average finish for each team based on ourcombined projections.

Inside the Central Division, home to two giants among Stanley Cup contenders, there's a degree of certainty heading into 2017-18. A vast majority of observers are sure this is where the NHL's best team resides. Whether that's the Predators or Jets is open to debate, but the preseason confidence that the road to the Stanley Cup in the West runs through Nashville or Winnipeg has been unwavering.

It's interesting, though, that thelast two Centralchampions mi sed the playoffs entirely the following season. The Predators aren't predicted to suffer a similar fate,but neither were the 2016-17 Dallas Stars or 2017-18 Chicago Blackhawks.From first to last, there isn't a more unpredictable division in hockey right now.

The Blues, Stars and Wild are all waiting in the wings and could emerge as worthy challengers at the top. The Avalanche stunned with a last-place-to-playoff run last year and are on the rise. The Blackhawks, while aging and imperfect, are the only team in the division that has won a Cup this millennium. That's Josh Donaldson Jersey all to say nothing isgiven; it'sjust life in hockey's most unforgiving division.

MORE PICKS: | | Central | |

Central Division: 2018-19 predictions1. Winnipeg Jets

Additions:Laurent Bro soit,Nicolas KerdilesSubtractions: Paul Stastny, Joel Armia, Steve Mason, Michael Hutchinson, TobyEnstrom, Matt Hendricks

The Stanley Cup window appearswide open for the Jets, Sporting News' pick to win the 2018-19 Presidents' Trophy, and it won't be closing anytime soon. From top to bottom, Winnipegfeatures arguably the most complete roster in the NHL with a combination of elite scorers, a deep defense corps andConnor Hellebuyck, last year's Vezina runner-up, manning the crease.

The free-agent departure of Paul Stastnyrecreatesa hole atcenter on the second line, and the Jets' depth down the middle might be their only significant question mark when matched up against other contenders. But like last year, they'll have anentire season to search for an outside solution, if need be. Don't expect and Oilers-like collapse from this group.

2017-18 finish: 114 points, second in Central2018-19 finish (projected): 111.6 points, first in CentralYear over year: -2.4 points

(Schlager: 107 points; Cerny: 118 points; Mitch Garver Jersey Spiegel: 110 points)


2. Nashville Predators

Additions:Dan HamhuisSubtractions: Mike Fisher, Alexei Emelin

While other Western Conference challengers in Vegas, San Jose and St. Louis beefed up their ranks this offseason, the reigning Presidents' Trophy winners stood pat, preferring to take care of busine s in-house by locking up Ryan Ellis long term and re-signing depth contributors Ryan Hartman and Juuse Saros.

That's it, . Nashville's only peer indepth of talent is division nemesisWinnipeg. Uber prospect Eeli Tolvanen, a Calder contender should he return from the AHL in short order, will encounter some rookie bumps but could contribute 20 goals. His addition comesfree, the benefit of more savvy drafting by David Poile. Vezina winner Pekka Rinneturns 36 in November. He's defying the traditional goaltender agingcurve, but a bigger workload for Saros combined with the Predators' shutdown defense should work to shelter any concerns in net. It's not going to be easy getting past the Jets, but the Predators are one of two teams in the West who clearlystack up.

2017-18 finish: 117 points, first in Central2018-19 finish (projected): 111.3 points, second in CentralYear over year: -5.7 points

(Schlager: 114 points; Cerny: 113 points; Spiegel: 107 points)


3. St. Louis Blues

Additions:Ryan OReilly, David Perron, Tyler Bozak, Patrick Maroon, Chad JohnsonSubtractions:Carter Hutton, Patrik Berglund, Vladimir Sobotka, Tage Thompson, Kyle Brodziak, Scottie Upshall

Overpaying aging B-list free agent targets in a Brian Dozier Jersey mediocrecla s is never a great busine s strategy (see: Tyler Bozak, David Perron), but it was the price forward for St. Louis this offseason. Then Doug Armstrong traded for Ryan O'Reilly, a highly effective center toiling on one of the NHL's worst teams, without giving up his best prospects. And he also signed Patrick Maroon for a one-year homecoming (much better value there).

If there's a le son to be learned the last few years, the Stanley Cup isn't won in free agency. Look no further than Jim Nill and the Stars acro s the division. But if nothing else, credit where it's due toArmstrong for not resting on his laurels to revamp an underachievingroster. The Blues still have a mountain to climb in the Central, miles behind the Predators and Jets, but they're now squarely in contention withthe Wild and Stars as the division's third-best team.Getting back to the playoffs is the goal, and the Blues look on paper to be well positioned to do so. If Jake Allen, their biggest question mark, can keep together in net, they could make some noise.

2017-18 finish:94 points, fifth in Central2018-19 finish (projected):95.3 points, third in CentralYear over year: +1. Marwin Gonzalez Jersey 3 points

(Schlager: 97 points;Cerny: 102 points;Spiegel: 88 points)


4. Dallas Stars

Additions:Anton Khudobin, Blake Comeau, Roman PolakSubtractions: Antoine Rou sel, Greg Pateryn, Dan Hamhuis, Kari Lehtonen, Curtis McKenzie

Stars GM Jim Nill won the NHL's General Manager of the Summer award a year ago, only to see his creation fall short of expectations once more. This offseason, he avoided the splashy trade or signing (though not for a lack of trying), and few around the league are under as Kent Hrbek Jersey much pre sure to correct course.

There are two schools of thought on the merits of that: 1.) Holding steady is good when you have a new coach, a healthy Jamie Benn, a freshly extended Tyler Seguin and one of the top prospects in the NHL awaiting graduation. Or 2.) Whiffing on acquiringtransformative players likeErik Karl sonor John Tavares is a critical mi sed opportunity to upgrade an otherwise aging, mediocre roster that falls short of contender status by a piece or two. Nill's job security hangs in the balance of this season, to be sure.

2017-18 finish: 92 points, sixth in Central2018-19 finish (projected): 95.3 points, fourth in CentralYear over year: +3.3 points

(Schlager: 94 points; Cerny: 97 points; Spiegel: 95 points)


5. Minnesota Wild

Additions:Greg Pa

Like it? Share it!


About the Author

Joined: July 25th, 2022
Articles Posted: 365

More by this author