NHL Central Division Preview 2021-22

by Scott Rickenbach

Central Division 2021-22 Point Total Predictions

With last season being just 56 games, the first point total listed is the number of points the team earned in the standings last season but extrapolated over a normal 82 game season. Then the second total listed is my prediction range for this season. 

Arizona Coyotes – 79 points last year. Predicting a range of mid to upper 60s this season. Tough division for a bad team. The Coyotes face teams that frustrate you like Dallas and St Louis. Then they also face teams they can’t keep up with in terms of offensive firepower like Winnipeg and Colorado. It is going to be a long season for Arizona. 

Chicago Blackhawks – 81 points last year. Predicting a range of mid to uppers 80s this season. Lot of positive additions for this team in terms of new personnel plus they get Jonathan Toews back after he missed last season. This adds up to a revamped team ready to fight for a playoff spot again! 

Colorado Avalanche – 120 points last year. Predicting a range in the 105 to 110 range this season. Such a strong team but the goaltending needs to stay healthy. I do like Kuemper but will Francouz be back to himself as he returns from injury. Very strong team with scary good scoring talent. Again should be one of the best teams in the league and, if they get top notch goalie work, look out! 

Dallas Stars – 88 points last year. Predicting a range of low to mid 90s this season. Ben Bishop starts season still on injured reserve. Can this Stars team get enough from its other goalies? Now a healthy Seguin and Hintz means this team could be better than many realize. They tend to have a tough defense so if the goaltending holds up and they keep their top point producers healthier this time around, this team is going to be challenging for a playoff spot. 

Minnesota Wild – 110 points last year. Predicting a range of mid to upper 90s this season. Got to give the coaching credit here. Wild continue to overhaul roster but still produce quite consistently. This is a solid team no one likes to face. If they can improve their power play and continue to get strong goaltending, this team could get to 100 points this season. 

Nashville Predators –94 points last year. Predicting a range of low to mid 80s this season. This team rebuilding a bit and Pekka Rinne now retired. Juuse Saros fantastic in goal but will things be different without Rinne now right behind him? Also the team skating in front of him has lost a few key pieces and seems to be trending the wrong direction. This team steps back a bit this year. 

St. Louis Blues – 92 points last year. Predicting a range of mid to upper 80s this season. Still a solid team known for being physical and playing stingy defense but I do not think last year’s regression was just a one-year team. Unless goalie Jordan Binnington can resume the excellent play similar to his rookie season, this team could continue to regress. 

Winnipeg Jets – 92 points last year. Predicting a range of mid to upper 90s this season. Connor Hellebuyck at goalie makes the Jets tough when he is on because this team certainly has plenty of firepower up front with their top lines. Winnipeg to be particularly tough this season especially if they can get Pierre-Luc Dubois going again after he struggled after coming over from Columbus. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

© 2021 Al McMordie's BigAl.com. All Rights Reserved.