Central Division Summaries

Chicago – Two Stanley Cups in four years after a massive overhaul after the first Stanley Cup in 2010 showed and proved that the team is resilient to change and it doesn’t take much for them to piece back a broken team. After a few lacklustre seasons for Patrick Kane he really stepped up his game and it showed as the team went on a long ride at the start of the season where they had points in 30 games. Looking to continue on a great season and possibly follow up with another doesn’t look too impossible especially with a very similar team.

Colorado – With the first overall in the pick in the 2013 draft, the Avalanche selected Nathan Mackinnon, a dynamic forward with size could give the Avs just what they need to make the next step into the playoffs, With a boat load of young players developing nicely the Avalanche will be strong in the years to come, i see a possible playoff birth.

Dallas – Making some trades at the deadline might have hurt the Star’s chances for the playoffs in 2012, but for the future it could definitely be advantageous, dumping a few older players and letting the youth into the system could pan out with proper guidance. Star Jamie Benn has been looking forward to working with an all star centre and return to his proper position on the wing, Tyler Seguin could possibly be that man. The Stars will look to make a playoff push.  

Minnesota – A season after signing blockbuster players in Zach Parise and Ryan Suter the Wild were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, it’s possible that spending money on two players didn’t leave room for the all important depth players that a team needs to go deep into the playoffs. With some time to grow and the steady play of Niklas Backstrom Minnesota could have a steady season. Only time will tell if they make the playoffs.

Nashville – A depressing 27th place made for an interesting off season, the addition of Victor Stalberg should add some much needed skill and speed to this unproductive offence. The Signing of Seth Jones should eventually replace Ryan Suter as the offensive defence men and get Shea Weber back on his game. Not looking for a playoff appearance next season but the excellent goal tending of Pekka Rinne could always surprise.

St.Louis – The Busy offseason of the Blues is going to result in a real benefit next season, Derek Roy, Jay Bouwmeester, Jordan Leopold and Magnus Paajarvi just to name a few will only bolster the season and playoff performance this team is going to have. The rookie season of Vladimir Tarasenko was astonishing and hopefully he can follow that up with a great sophomore campaign. Look for this team to push for a division title.

Winnipeg – A new addition to the western conference will see Winnipeg face a different competition, to be honest a harder division. A similar looking squad heading into the 2013-2014 season, small additions of Michael Frolik should add some depth to the third or fourth line. Hopefully the team can contend for the wildcard spot, all depends if Evander Kane is ready to take that next step and become the superstar every Jet fan is waiting to see, that also goes for Mark Scheifele.                         

Pacific Division Summaries

Anaheim - A surprise division title in 2013, with newly appointed coach Bruce Boudreau, the team came together. A resurgence in play by Ryan Getzlaf and the balanced play by the defence and goalie addition Victor Fasth made for a good season. New additions to the team include newly acquired Jakob Silfverberg in a trade from the Ottawa Senators, with Bobby Ryan missing Jakob will have to replace a rather large hole in the Ducks offence, Emerson Etem and Nick Bonino will be looking to continue on their breakout seasons. I’m not entirely assured if the consistent play can keep up over a full season, but i’m predicting a playoff spot. not a division title.

Calgary – With the rebuild in full effect and the trading of Jarome Iginla, Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Tanguay, the Flames will have a very different looking lineup. Another missed playoffs forced Feaster to make some radical changes that were in my opinion a long time coming. With Mikka Kiprusoff possibly retiring the flames will have a new goalie as well. Several first round draft picks makes the future slightly more bright but we’ll have to wait and see if those picks pan out. Expecting another missed playoffs, possibly for the next few years but you never know a young core with a lot of drive could turn the ship around quicker then we know.

Edmonton – For the first time in three years the Oilers didn’t have the first overall first round draft pick. A 12th overall finish is progress, slowly but surely. Newly acquired Justin Shultz brought some much needed defensive help and some offence on the power play. The growth of Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle will only continue to to get better, Nail Yakupov had a great rookie season and hopes to build on that. If the Oilers manage to get some more defensive help i could see a playoff appearance in the making.

Los Angeles – A western conference appearance after winning a Stanley Cup is more then respectable. The team itself doesn’t look that different, Jonathan Quick put up his usual numbers and the defence has only got better with Slava Voynov’s game only getting better. If Jeff Carter can have the season like he did last season it should make for another good campaign. Expecting a possible division title but with so many good teams you never know.

Phoenix – They are staying! A new deal was stuck which will leave the Coyotes playing in GlenDale for years to come.  A 10th place finish saw the Coyotes miss the playoffs. With Dave Tippet as head coach and a very similar team they should have a bounce back season as long as Mike Smith can bring his stellar play and Oliver Ekman-Larsson continues to grow. Expecting a playoff appearance.

San Jose – With a solid offensive core, and recently turned offence man Brent Burns the squad won’t be missing size or speed. The team has looked good for many years and really hasn’t lived up to their full potential, with the on and off play of Antti Niemi and the ageing core slowly getting older each passing season the light of day is slowly getting darker and time is running out. Some bright lights in the lineup are young Logan Couture hoping to improve on another fantastic season. There will be tough competition for this division title but if the Sharks can get the right gear moving it’s more then possible.

Vancouver –  The goalie battle is over! and Roberto Luongo has won out, After two seasons of trade rumours and speculations  he will be the Canuck’s number one again. After another division title and another first round exit of the playoffs the Canucks are looking forward to right the ship. Beginning with new Coach John Tortorella and his no attitude approach we’ll likely see a more disciplined Vancouver team. As long as Kesler keep’s his play together and the team stays healthy i see no reason for them not to contend for a division title and deeper into the playoffs.

NHL 2013 Season Preview

       With the shortened 48 game season over and done with and a new crowned champion – Chicago Blackhawks, we can look forward to a full season. 82 games, a clean slate for all 30 teams. It was an exciting postseason, as the last four Stanley Cup Champions were in the semi finales of both conferences. We can only hope for similar action again.

      Over the next few weeks you can look forward to some team summaries heading into the 2013-2014 season including some interesting discussion revolving newly acquired draft picks and trades and free agent signings that have truly changed the outlook of the season. The addition of a new division in the eastern conference is something of note and a new playoff structure.

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