Well, a couple more offseason moves were made today, or yesterday I should say... The Nashville Predators signed free agents Mike Ribeiro and Derek Roy, two ex-Stars. One of which was a fun man to watch, he had a strong skill set, and was quite flashy with the biscuit. The other was a mediocre money pit who only wanted more... Both of these players are probably past their prime. Even with that fact, they are both able to give the puck to James Neal.
The Central division has grown a lot over the offseason, probably more than most would of predicted. I'm a little biased, but I think most would say it's the toughest division in hockey, if it wasn't already.
The frontrunners would have to be Chicago and St. Louis, both of which were already dominate, they both added key pieces to their already dangerous lineups. Chicago who got a bargain with Brad Richards, who hasn't produced much since he left Dallas, but who is still a great puck mover. St. Louis added one of the stars of the offseason, Paul Stastny, who is the prototypical second line center, I think they slightly overpaid, but he is still a very dangerous player with a strong skillset.
After the two powerhouses you have 5 other teams. Starting with the Colorado Avalanche. The Avalanche won the division last year, they won with speed, and dominate goaltending. Semyon Varlamov was a beast between the pipes last season and if he can keep that up this team will be good, very good. All in all I'd say the Avalanche got worse... Not by much, but they did, they lost Paul Statsny, who was a big point producer on the team, and a player who lead on the ice. I don't think Colorado will win the division again, honestly, I think they could possibly fall into a wild card spot.
Moving on down the central we have the Minnesota Wild. A team who was rotating through goalies like a bullpen. They surprised me, but they played some very injured teams down the stretch which I think helped them gain a few easy points down the road. The Wild are lead by Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, who are great players, they eat ice time, and dominate while doing so. The wild got slightly better by adding Thomas Vanek, who is a better version of Matt Moulson in my opinion. I would expect a little less from Minnesota, but not much at all.
Now to the hometown team of your Dallas Stars. Who we all know added key players in Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky. This team was already going to improve just by getting into the playoffs, but they added talent as well, I think everyone has set very high expectations for the Stars and I believe they will meet them.
We are now down to two teams, the Nashville Predators, and Winnipeg Jets. We will start with the team who actually did something this offseason. Nashville is kept afloat by their goalie Pekka Rinne. They added a key piece in James Neal, but he needs someone to feed him the puck. He know has someone who is decent at it in Mike Ribeiro. They will be a slower team than most, but they have the big bazooka on the back end. They will be a bubble team, but I don't believe they will make it. Most of their games will be against the Central and I don't think that will go well, even with their offseason improvements.
Finally the team who will be at the basement of the Central the Winnipeg Jets, who did absolutely nothing this offseason. I wouldn't expect anything from them. They will probably dish Evander Kane next offseason and start a rebuild.
Now that most of these teams are done making moves I think we can all start to make our own opinions about how the Central will stack up, these are my predictions.
3. Dallas Stars
How do you see the Central division shaping out?