Predicting the NHL’s Central Division Top 5 Rankings in 2023-24

by instantsportsnews.com
NHL's Central Division Top 5 Rankings in 2023-24

Explore the NHL’s Central Division Top 5 Rankings in 2023-24 with a detailed analysis of each team’s prospects. From the dominant Dallas Stars to the resilient Colorado Avalanche, discover why these teams are poised for success. Dive into the strategies of the St. Louis Blues, the youthful potential of the Minnesota Wild, and the transition tactics of the Nashville Predators. Get ready for an exciting season in the Central Division!

1. DALLAS STARS

In: Matt Duchene (C), Craig Smith (RW), Sam Steel (LW), Gavin Bayreuther (D)

Out: Max Domi (LW), Luke Glendening (C), Colin Miller (D)

Why they’re picked in this position: The Stars added to an already-potent lineup this summer when they signed former Predators center Duchene. The 32-year-old is one year removed from a 43-goal, 86-point season. Although his numbers dropped to 22 goals and 56 points last season, you have to bear in mind that (a) he was playing on a not-great Preds team, and (b) he was relied on to do the heavy lifting up front in the NHL’s Central Division Top 5 Rankings in 2023-24. As a Star, Duchene will likely get his minutes reduced from the 18:19 of ice time he averaged last year, but he can still give them good minutes on the third line.

 NHL's Central Division Top 5 Rankings in 2023-24

2. COLORADO AVALANCHE

In: Jonathan Drouin (LW), Ryan Johansen (C), Miles Wood (LW), Ross Colton (C)

Out: J.T. Compher (C), Lars Eller (C), Evan Rodrigues (LW), Alex Newhook (LW), Matt Nieto (LW), Erik Johnson (D), Jonas Johansson (G)

Why they’re picked in this position: Colorado GM Chris MacFarland spent virtually to the cap ceiling this summer when he went to the open-and-trade markets and remade the face of the Avalanche’s forward group in the NHL’s Central Division Top 5 Rankings in 2023-24. With captain Gabriel Landeskog out for the entire 2023-24 season, MacFarland and fellow Avs management member Joe Sakic took an aggressive approach as they acquired Johansen in a trade with the Predators, then acquired three different but valuable pieces in Drouin, center Colton, and winger Wood. The latter two have transformed Colorado’s third line and added depth to the forward group overall.

3. ST. LOUIS BLUES

In: Kevin Hayes (C), Oskar Sundqvist (RW)

Out: Tyler Pitlick (C), Josh Leivo (LW), Logan Brown (C), Thomas Greiss (G)

Why they’re picked in this position: The Blues lost eight of their first 11 games – all regulation losses, to boot – and never could get quite right until it was too late to save the season in the NHL’s Central Division Top 5 Rankings in 2023-24. St. Louis GM Doug Armstrong peeled off veteran members of what was the team’s core in their Cup-winning season: he shipped out Vladimir Tarasenko to the New York Rangers and former captain Ryan O’Reilly to Toronto in the NHL’s Central Division Top 5 Rankings in 2023-24. However, Armstrong also made some late-season moves to give his team another shot at a playoff berth in 2023-24. He plucked well-traveled winger Kasperi Kapanen off waivers, and he acquired winger Jakub Vrana from the Red Wings in the NHL’s Central Division Top 5 Rankings in 2023-24.

4. MINNESOTA WILD

In: Pat Maroon (LW)

Out: Gustav Nyquist (LW), Sam Steel (LW), Ryan Reaves (RW), Oskar Sundqvist (RW), Mason Shaw (C), Matt Dumba (D), John Klingberg (D)

Why they’re picked in this position: The Wild stumbled into the post-season last spring and were snubbed out by Dallas in a first-round post-season series that saw Minnesota score a combined total of six goals in its four losses in the NHL’s Central Division Top 5 Rankings in 2023-24. The offense was a problem for them in the regular season and the playoffs, and the cap-strapped Wild did nothing to address that in the free-agent or trade markets this summer in the NHL’s Central Division Top 5 Rankings in 2023-24. It did move on from enforcer Ryan Reaves in favor of big bruiser Maroon, but otherwise, Minnesota is turning to its younger players to keep them competitive as they navigate waters in the Central in the NHL’s Central Division Top 5 Rankings in 2023-24. That may turn out to be a good thing if youngsters like D-man Brock Faber, center Marco Rossi, right winger Matt Boldy and superstar Kirill Kaprizov pan out as management hopes they will in the NHL’s Central Division Top 5 Rankings in 2023-24.

5. NASHVILLE PREDATORS

In: Ryan O’Reilly (C), Gustav Nyquist (LW), Denis Gurianov (LW), Luke Schenn (D), GM Barry Trotz, coach Andrew Brunette

Out: Matt Duchene (C), Ryan Johansen (C), Cal Foote (D), GM David Poile, coach John Hynes

Why they’re picked in this position: The Era of Trotz as Predators GM has begun, and he showed no hesitance to make a direct impact on the roster this summer in the NHL’s Central Division Top 5 Rankings in 2023-24. Nashville bought out Duchene and retained a portion of Johansen’s salary and dealt him to Colorado in the NHL’s Central Division Top 5 Rankings in 2023-24. With the money Trotz saved in those two transactions, he landed a quartet of new faces in O’Reilly, Nyquist, Gurianov, and Schenn in.

The NHL’s Central Division is set for intense competition in the 2023-24 season. The Dallas Stars lead the predictions with their deep roster, while the Colorado Avalanche, St. Louis Blues, Minnesota Wild, and Nashville Predators follow closely behind. Each team faces its unique challenges, but the Central Division promises thrilling hockey action for fans and enthusiasts.

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