NHL Central Division Preview 2022-23

by Scott Rickenbach

Central Division 2022-23 Point Total Predictions

Arizona Coyotes – 57 points last year. Predicting a range of upper 50s to low 60s this season. This looks like a another rough year. They are clearly in rebuild mode and have major question marks in goal. They are not that talented compared to other teams and if you can’t outskate other teams and also struggle to keep the puck out of your own net…well…let’s just say it is going to be another long season for Arizona. 

Chicago Blackhawks – 68 points last year. Predicting a range of low to mid 60s this season. This team is gearing toward rebuild mode. You can tell by the way they handled the off-season. Probably only a matter of time until Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are out the door in Chicago. They appear to be tanking a bit as they gear up for a rebuild.  

Colorado Avalanche – 119 points last year. Predicting them to land in the 105 to 110 range this season. Such a strong team but the goaltending going through a revamp as Darcy Kuemper is gone and Alexandar Georgiev is now in. Very strong team with scary good scoring talent but is tough to repeat as champs. Again should be one of the best teams in the league but will they get strong enough goalie play from Georgiev? 

Dallas Stars – 98 points last year. Predicting a range of low to mid 90s this season. Pete DeBoer is the new head coach here and has a history of success when he first takes over a club. Similar to what we saw with the Flyers Alaign Vigneault but then he faded in future seasons. Will the Stars be able to score enough? John Klingberg was a key contributor of offense from the blueline but he is gone now. Jason Robertson contract situation puts a damper on the Stars situation entering the season too. This team could be sluggish out of the gates. 

Minnesota Wild – 113 points last year. Predicting a range of mid to upper 90s this season. The Wild are pushing hard to win now but not sure about putting so much reliance on Marc-Andre Fleury. The back-up is now Filip Gustafsson (not much NHL experience) because Cam Talbot is gone. Elsewhere on the ice the loss of star Kevin Fiala will hurt. Much of the core group still intact but this team takes a step back this season because of those personnel losses. 

Nashville Predators –97 points last year. Predicting a range of mid to upper 90s this season. This team looks solid. They have a strong blueline and by adding  Ryan McDonagh it got stronger. The goalie situation is solid with Juuse Saros and they also now have added Kevin Lankinen there plus they have Conor Ingram on the roster. Teams strong in goal and on the blueline are tough to beat when the games matter the most but can the Predators get enough scoring. One thing that should help there is bringing Nino Niederreiter on board! But still this team just not ultra-talented up front and that separates them from the elite. 

St. Louis Blues – 109 points last year. Predicting a range of mid to upper 90s this season. Still a solid team long-known for being physical and playing stingy defense but I do think the losses of David Perron and Ville Husso will hurt. Yes they brought in goalie Thomas Greiss but he is no Husso so Jordan Binnington will have to be on his game in goal for the Blues to go far. But Perron was a leader and key contributor for this club and his absence will be felt. 

Winnipeg Jets – 89 points last year. Predicting a range of upper 80s to low 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 could be a much stronger club this season on defense simply because new head coach Rick Bowness will accept nothing less. I still like the core group here but will they respond well to Bowness. That is going to be the key. The Jets could be really improved this season and when you have Hellebuyck at goalie you can also steal games. This team could really surprise if Bowness can help build good chemistry here with this group. The pieces are there…not to be elite…but to at least be solid. 

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

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