I hate this division and I love the Winnipeg Jets… This division is wild which is unfortunate for the Wild who aren’t really that bad. They just aren’t really that good. My Winnipeg Jets are falling apart and the rest of the division just, at least on paper, got a fair bit better.
- The Preds
- The Stars
- The Avalanche
- The Blues
- The Jets
- The Wild
- The Blackhawks
The preds are being undervalued BIG time. The big Fin in the pipes still has a good year or two left in him. Folks are far too worried about his age and inevitable decline..sure Rinne has struggled at times in the Playoffs (which everyone does…until they don’t) but his regular-season numbers have been consistently elite and if for some reason they are not, Sarros is a great backup plan. Losing P.K is a bummer no doubt but adding Duchene is going to make Nashville a better team. Johansen and Duchene are going to be a deadly 1-2 punch, mark my words. Dante Fabbro will step up and make an impact on a still really, really good top 4 that includes Josi, Ellis, and Ekholm. Nashville also still has Kyle Turris in a reduced role. The man was back in-form for Canada this summer. Also, Mikael Grandlund in his first full season with Nashville will be silky. Nashville’s window is NOT closed watch the fuck out for this team.
The Stars gave the eventual cup champs a run for their money. Ben Bishop is tall, Joe Pavelski still scored like 38 goals last year… fact check me on that. I’m not even looking it up. He is a great pick up. Miro, however you spell, is name is a future Norris winner and all of a sudden Dallas awful defence is panning out. They have some gems back there. Along with Benn and Seguin, this team is going to be deadly and fun to watch. They better get shit done while Bishop is still standing.
3. The Avs
Everyone has a big old Bonner for this team and why not Nathan Mackinnon is a top 5 player in the league and he and his linemates Captain Landeskog whos only 26 years old and Mikko lets hope he signs Rantanen make up one of the best lines in hockey. Beyond that, the Avs did a good job this summer adding depth in reliable guys like Kadri, and Donskoi. Colorado will almost certainly be a playoff team but how good they will be will depend on how much some of their young talents can step up. Can Tyson Jost take the next step and have a breakout season? How good is Cale Makar, most think the answer is really really good. Samual Girard looks like he’s ready for his biggest season can he be a top pairing D-man on a good team? Probably. The bigger question marks come within the clubs bottom 6. Valeri Nichushkin and Andre Burakovsky are both boom or bust players that could provide exceptional depth scoring or not. Colorado hopes the change of scenery can help both players reach their once high potential. There will also be pressure on Philipp Grubauer who wears CCM pads by the way. He is entering his first season as the legit starter. shouldn’t be an issue for someone who pushed Brayden Holtby out of the playoff starting gig two seasons ago.
Jordan Binnington is not a flash in the pan…there’s just no way. He proved it in the playoffs and then signed a relatively average deal. The guy wants to prove it again and I sure as shit wouldn’t bet against him. The rest of the team is pretty alright too they won the damn cup. After the party don’t expect them to show up till around January but the first half of the season is for pussies anyway.
5. The Jets
The sky is falling in Winnipeg. Laine and Kyle F’ing Connor are still not signed, the blue line is gone and could be even more gone with Byfuglien decides to retire! The team will be okay. There is still a team here but the Jets have very quickly gone from cup contender to playoff contender. Pray for Laine to sign a prove-it contract and prove it with 50 goals.
6. The Wild
Bill Guerin is the best thing that could have happened to Minni. This year won’t be the best but you have a team that can compete for a playoff spot that is going to have a clear plan moving forward. Maybe trade Sutter for Byfuglien and let the man retire at home? clear that cap space and get ready to build around the pieces you have. Getting Jared Spurgeon locked up is huge! He Dumba and Brodin are all young and part of the team long term at a fair salary. Retooling upfront will be the focus and can be done quickly, The Wild don’t have to tear it all down. They may have help coming soon in KHL star Kirill Kaprizov who scored 51 points in 57 games last year as a 21-year old. This year Kaprizov has opened the season with 11 points in his first 7 games to lead the KHL in scoring thus far.
7. The Blackhawks
The Hawks are not terrible by any means. They still have two absolute legends in Towes and Kane, the Cat looks like he’ll be a perennial 30 goal threat and Dylan Strome’s career was saved in Chicago, maybe another young Nylander could do the same this season. The ageing blueline is a concern but Erik Gustafsson coming out of nowhere was helpful as well as the addition of Calvin Dehan and Olli Matta. They didn’t get worse a great year from new netminder Robin Lehner or Corey Crawford and the Hawks could sneak back into the playoffs. The more I think about it the more I’m convinced this team is good. This division is insanely good. A few good teams are going to be left behind.