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The State of the Central Division


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#1 kipwinger

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 04:06 PM

Big shout out to RedWingsDad whose comment in another thread led me to create this one. Anyway, I thought rather than discussing free agency anymore, which I'm entirely sick of, why not talk about teams. Of course I realize that this will ultimately devolve into what coulda, shoulda, or woulda happened in free agency but oh well.

My thoughts...

Columbus: Actually got a little tougher to play against by adding depth at forward. Foligno, Dubinsky, and Anisimov will help. And between Murray, Johnson, Aucoin, and Wisniewski (if he's healthy) have a halfway decent defense corps. Still the worst team in the division by far, but will steal a few more games than they did last year.

Chicago: Same scary offense, defense is a little more solid with Brookbank, still glaringly bad in net. Even to slight improvement overall.

Nashville: Forward corps lost Radulov and Kostitsyn, neither of whom played most of last season and they were still a force in the division. Kept Gaustad which helps on the bottom end. Lost Suter, but still real good on defense with Weber, Gill, Josi, and Klein. Worse in goal after swapping Lindback for Mason. Slight to moderate regression from last year.

St. Louis: As good or slightly better on offense with a healthy Perron and Langenbrunner. No noticeable improvement on defense. And perhaps the best goalie tandem in the league. No large change, still very very good.

Detroit: No noticeable improvement on offense. Sammy for Hudler improvement offset by unknown quantities in Nyquist and Brunner, plus another year older for the core. Regression on defense. Improvement in goaltending. Overall substantial decrease.

Conclusion: St. Louis is the odds on favorite to win the division, with Detroit, Chicago, and Nashville all vying for the second through fourth spots. Overall, perhaps the most highly contested division in the NHL though probably not the best division.

GMRwings:  "Well, in other civilized countries, 16 years old isn't considered underage.  For instance, I believe the age of consent is 16 in Canada.  There's some US states where it's 16 as well.  

 

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#2 Wings4Life19

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 04:18 PM

Really the division isnt much tougher than it was last year. And around the NHL Pitt got worse by trading Staal, the Kings are still the team that almost missed the playoffs, the Wild are the most improved team in the west and they wont probly wont wint their division, Washington is worse without Semin, and the Devils are worse without Parise. The Rangers are the only team that dramatically improved their team and should be cup favorites. Everyone that has been saying that the Wings will miss the playoffs and get a lottery pick please tell me how when only 2-3 teams have improved and are better than them in the west

#3 rrasco

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 04:29 PM

I'm interested to see if the Blues continue their ways. Their turn around was undoubtedly because of Hitchcock, but will his message be heard as well this year? I wouldn't expect them to tune him out just yet, but you never know with a variable like that.

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#4 kipwinger

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 04:32 PM

I'm interested to see if the Blues continue their ways. Their turn around was undoubtedly because of Hitchcock, but will his message be heard as well this year? I wouldn't expect them to tune him out just yet, but you never know with a variable like that.


That will be a big question mark. I'd imagine that any team that went from being that bad, to getting a taste of what winning is like will want to keep it up, but I had totally forgotten about the poor start to last season.

GMRwings:  "Well, in other civilized countries, 16 years old isn't considered underage.  For instance, I believe the age of consent is 16 in Canada.  There's some US states where it's 16 as well.  

 

Get off the high horse.  Not like she was 10."

 

"Some girls are 17 even though they look 25."

 

 


#5 GoWings1905

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 05:43 PM

Last year, you could make the case it was arguably the toughest division along with the Atlantic. I think the Atlantic is clearly better going forward now since both Detroit and Nashville look worse while St. Louis and Chicago have been quiet.

As of now, one of the few optimistic points I can see for the Red Wings this season is the division is somewhat winnable still. I don't think they are by any stretch the favorite, but if a lot of things go well, they could feasibly have a shot to finish first. The flip side is, I can also envision a scenario where they are fourth.

Columbus is obviously going to finish last. The Blues are young, talented and having a taste of what it takes to win in the playoffs may propel them to be better just like it did with Chicago a few years ago. Hitchcock also wears thin on his players very quickly too. Sadly, the Blackhawks are more skilled at forward (especially the top-six) and as mediocre as their defense is after Keith/Seabrook, the Red Wings is just as questionable without Nick and Stuart. Howard is definitely better than Crawford, who only plays well against Detroit for some reason. Nashville had some major losses, but Trotz always finds a way to keep them competitive. They destroyed the Red Wings, so I'm a little reluctant to just write Nashville off because they don't have Suter or Radulov anymore.

If I was predicting the order of finish with the rosters today, I would go with: Blues, Blackhawks, Predators, Red Wings and Blue Jackets. IF (and it's a huge if) the Red Wings defense exceeds expectations as a group and Datsyuk/Zetterberg stay healthy up front, then maybe our guys have a chance to climb closer to the top of the division. I just feel the Red Wings margin for error is so incredibly thin with the pieces they currently have in place.

Edited by GoWings1905, 27 July 2012 - 05:45 PM.

 
 
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#6 HelmFan

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 05:49 PM

That will be a big question mark. I'd imagine that any team that went from being that bad, to getting a taste of what winning is like will want to keep it up, but I had totally forgotten about the poor start to last season.


I wonder if they'll be a little burned out from last year.

The whole team worked their butts off every night to get them to where the were. I'm interested to see if Hitchcock can get that work ethic out of them two years in a row.

#7 St. Michael (the Red Wing)

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 05:54 PM

Yeah going to be interesting to see how the post-Lidstrom era begins my guess is something like this at the end of the season. St. Louis should be strong again and I think Chicago is going to be better and more consistent than they have been these last 2 seasons. Nashville should be alright and with Rinne in net still solid they should be ok too. Us (Detroit) depends really. Injury bug hits us which it has badly these last few seasons and I believe will hit us again it won't be good. Columbus isn't really going anywhere although yes they might steal some more games here and there and probably from us. Kills me to say that but just my 1 cent OPINION.

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Edited by St. Michael (the Red Wing), 27 July 2012 - 05:54 PM.


#8 LeftWinger

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 11:02 PM

I still think Detroit will better Chicago, the will give St. Louis a run, but just may fall short and finish 2nd in the Central....and we'll have to listen to cprice all over again....blah!

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#9 HadThomasVokounOnFortSt

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 10:11 AM

I still think Detroit will better Chicago, the will give St. Louis a run, but just may fall short and finish 2nd in the Central....and we'll have to listen to cprice all over again....blah!


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#10 Vladifan

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 10:36 AM

The state of the central division is one thing. To predict how it's going to go in our division is another. To say that there'll be a substantial decrease in the Red Wings' chances is just that. A prediction. I'm still going to wait till the puck drops and we see who plays, how well they do as as individuals, and in their lines, and as a team. There are so many variables that rise exponentially when you include all the teams. I will never understand making the future choice that your team is going to be crappy or even really iffy, before the games even begin.

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#11 RusDRW

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 10:39 AM

St. Louis added Tarasenko as well. This could be a substatial increase in offense.
Sweet. This dude was brought here for one reason, to punch people in the head - every other thing that he can do, other Wings can do better. I like that we have a head-puncher. The league has other, better head-punchers, but this one is ours. Better than nothing. Good work, Kenny!

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#12 Bring Back The Bruise Bros

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 08:28 PM

Off the top of my head:

*Detroit Red Wings

Additions:

1. Mikael Samuelsson
2. Jonas Gustavsson
3. Jordin Tootoo
4. Damien Brunner

Subtractions:

1. Nicklas Lidstrom
2. Brad Stuart
3. Jiri Hudler
4. Tomas Holmstrom

*Chicago Blackhawks

Additions:

1. Sheldon Brookbank

Subtractions:

1. Sean O'Donnell

*Nashville Predators

Additions:

1. Chris Mason

Subtractions:

1. Ryan Suter
2. Jordin Tootoo
3. Alexander Radulov
4. Jack Hillen
5. Anders Lindback
6. Andrei Kostistyn (?)

*Columbus Blue Jackets

Additions:

1. Brandon Dubinsky
2. Artem Anisimov
3. Nick Foligno
4. Adrian Aucoin
5. Tim Erixon

Subtractions:

1. Rick Nash
2. Marc Methot

*St. Louis Blues

Additions:

1. Vladimir Tarasenko
2. Jeff Woywitka

Subtractions:

1. Jason Arnott
2. B.J. Crombeen
3. Kent Huskins
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#13 Hey man nice shot!

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 08:36 PM

I will most likley get stoned for saying i actually think columbus's team looks pretty good, minus a solid goalie.

#14 Wings_Dynasty

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 08:38 PM

It's impossible to predict how teams will do, especially in a division where most of the teams had HUGE changes in their roster. But since we don't have anything else to pretend about I guess I'll try.

Honestly, I don't think STL will be the same powerhouse they were last season. They had a lot of stars line up and I don't think it will happen again. NSH and DET are significantly worse but still good enough to make the post season, CHI is a push, and I think that CLB is better with the players they got for Nash (more scoring spread out).

DET/NSH (too close to call, but I see the Wings being able to make more moves in Feb to help out the 2nd half of the season)
STL (above average offense and good goaltending, little weak on D to win the division)
CHI (great offense, capable defense, no goaltending)
CLB (better offense, no defense, no goaltending)

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#15 Motown4013

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 08:41 PM

I think it will be very interesting to see how the Blues do this year. For the first time in many years, they will experience the weight of expectations. They felt that in the playoffs and were flat and completely underperformed.
The same will be said for the Wings. It's the 1st year in a long time that they aren't expected to win the division....or even expected to do much of anything. That may work to our advantage, depending on how the new Wings fit into the system. I hope we add a few parts before training camp but if not, it's a different Central!
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#16 Bring Back The Bruise Bros

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 08:42 PM

I will most likley get stoned for saying i actually think columbus's team looks pretty good, minus a solid goalie.

If anything, they got tougher to play against with the acquisitions of Nick Foligno and Brandon Dubinsky.
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#17 The Axe

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 08:44 PM

Detroit is 4th in central currently

#18 Carman

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 08:48 PM

I believe with a change of system the wings can win the division, the only team I'm worried about is the Blues, and they are unproven and Hitchcock doesn't have a great record of having perennial Stanley cup contending teams. He's coaching philosophy is very selfless and seems to wear as seasons go on.

#19 The Axe

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 08:59 PM

Blues
Hawks
Preds
Wings
Jackets

As of now.

#20 Barrie

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 08:39 AM

If you look around the League, except for NYRangers, all the big markets missed out on the big named FA's, plus teams like us and Pittsburgh lost key players. If Bettman wanted the small markets to get better, he got his wish. NBC Sports TV numbers should suffer.

Yup, nice business plan you got goin' on there Gary. You FINALLY got a National Network on board, and you have a LA-NJ Final, an 8th seed wins the Championship, and, besides Nash, all the biggest names available went to Carolina and Minnesota, and back to Nashville.
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