Sports

Central and Pacific Division Predictions


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With the new season set to start on Tuesday, we at NBC Sports Edge are going to give you more predictions for the upcoming season.

Today we are going to give our thoughts and predictions on the Central and Pacific Divisions as well as our Stanley Cup winner and Trophy winners. The divisions are going back to the way they were two seasons ago after last season’s decision to have a Canadian only division due to the border closing, and having each division play only amongst themselves until it was time to play the semi-finals.

The asterisks will indicate the playoff teams.

Central

Michael

1. Colorado *

2. Winnipeg *

3. Minnesota *

4. Dallas *

5. St. Louis *

6. Chicago

7. Nashville

8. Arizona

Colorado should win this division easily. Winnipeg and Minnesota should battle it out for second and third while Dallas, if Seguin and Radulov are healthy, should get fourth. I think the Blues will get the final playoff spot as the Pacific is awfully weak after Vegas and Edmonton. Chicago needs great goaltending from Marc-Andre Fleury and if they get it, they could be as high as third. Nashville made the playoffs last season but it will be tough this year while Arizona is rebuilding

Corey

Colorado Avalanche *

Winnipeg Jets *

Minnesota Wild *

St. Louis Blues *

Dallas Stars

Chicago Blackhawks

Nashville Predators

Arizona Coyotes

Winnipeg and Minnesota appear to be strong choices to land top-three spots in the division behind Colorado. The Blues and Blackhawks made good upgrades in the offseason, but I like the Blues to land a Wild Card spot. With a healthier lineup, Dallas will be right in the mix too.

Ryan

1. Colorado*

2. St. Louis*

3. Chicago*

4. Dallas*

5. Winnipeg*

6. Nashville

7. Minnesota

8. Arizona

Between the additions of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, defenseman Seth Jones, and the return of Jonathan Toews, the Blackhawks are a very interesting team this season. It’s a nice blend of young, up-and-coming talent and veteran leadership that should make the playoffs and might surprise once they get there. That said, in the Central the Avalanche are still King and the biggest question is if they can finally get over that hump in the playoffs after disappointing ends to their recent campaigns.

Joey

1. Colorado Avalanche*

2. Dallas Stars*

3. Winnipeg Jets*

4. St. Louis Blues*

5. Chicago Blackhawks

6. Minnesota Wild

7. Nashville Predators

8. Arizona Coyotes

The Avalanche are probably the number one team going into the season. They haven’t been able to win a cup with this core, but it sure feels like that’s inevitable. The way the rest of the division shakes out will be interesting to watch. Can the Stars bounce back after a tough year? Will the Jets be able to shake off a second-round sweep in the playoffs? Is Chicago good enough to get into the postseason? This is probably the most intriguing division.

Anna

1. Colorado Avalanche*

2. Minnesota Wild*

3. Winnipeg Jets*

4. St. Louis Blues*

5. Chicago Blackhawks*

6. Dallas Stars

7. Nashville Predators

8. Arizona Coyotes

The Central is an interesting division because on one hand it has one of, if not the most, dominant teams in the NHL with the Colorado Avalanche. The Avalanche are in a tier of their own and are pretty much a lock to finish on top of their division standings. However, after Colorado it is truly up in the air as to where the Wild, Jets, Blues, Blackhawks, and Stars will end up in the rankings. In particular the Wild should not be discounted. Kirill Kaprizov had a phenomenal rookie year and will look to build on that in year two.

Mark

1. Colorado Avalanche*

2. St. Louis Blues*

3. Chicago Blackhawks*

4. Dallas Stars*

5. Winnipeg Jets*

6. Minnesota Wild

7. Nashville Predators

8. Arizona Coyotes

This is Colorado’s division to lose. And the Avalanche, led by semi-perpetual Hart Trophy bridesmaid Nathan McKinnon, have their sights set on much loftier goals than just a division title. The Blackhawks, meanwhile, are trying to claw their way back into the postseason after half-a-decade off. Jonathan Toews looked sharp in the preseason after missing the whole of the past campaign with an immune system issue. Outside of the Atlantic, this might be the toughest division in the NHL, especially if a team like Dallas can get back into things after seeing the past season go sideways largely due to injury concerns.

Jeff

1. Colorado Avalanche*

2. St. Louis Blues*

3. Winnipeg Jets*

4. Chicago Blackhawks*

5. Dallas Stars*

6. Minnesota Wild

7. Nashville Predators

8. Arizona Coyotes

I love the moves the Jets made this off-season to shore up their defense. Bringing in Nate Schmidt and Brendan Dillon will go a long way in helping them secure a playoff spot. I think the key for them will be getting much more out of Pierre-Luc Dubois than they got after trading for him. Is there a bigger bounce back candidate than the Dallas Stars? They were ravished by injuries last season and can really shoot their way up if everything lines up well. How many more magic moments does Marc-Andre Fleury have? Can he help turn the Blackhawks around? Time will tell.

Matt

1. Colorado Avalanche*

2. Winnipeg Jets*

3. Minnesota Wild*

4. St. Louis Blues*

5. Chicago Blackhawks*

6. Dallas Stars

7. Nashville Predators

8. Arizona Coyotes

The Colorado Avalanche are primed to dominate in the regular season again – whether they can make some noise in the playoffs remains to be seen. The Chicago Blackhawks will get their captain, Jonathan Toews back and added some nice pieces in Seth Jones and Marc-Andre Fleury. They’ll edge out Dallas in a dogfight for the final wildcard spot in the west and make a return to the playoffs.

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Pacific Division

Michael

1. Vegas *

2. Edmonton *

3. Calgary *

4. Vancouver

5. Los Angeles

6. San Jose

7. Anaheim

8. Seattle

Vegas is the class of the division but you never know how far Connor McDavid could take the Oilers. Calgary should be improved this season but if not, then Vancouver is poised to finish in the playoffs. The three California teams are rebuilding with Los Angeles being the best of the bunch. I think the Kraken will be competitive and could beat out Anaheim for seventh, but teams will be wary of the expansion team right off the bat, rather than be surprised like they were with Vegas four years ago.

Corey

Vegas Golden Knights *

Edmonton Oilers *

Calgary Flames *

Vancouver Canucks *

Seattle Kraken

Los Angeles Kings

San Jose Sharks

Anaheim Ducks

Vegas is by far the best team in what is probably the league’s weakest division. Edmonton is likely the next-best squad. Seattle is a good bet to have a strong inaugural year, but ultimately I feel like Calgary and Vancouver are a step above.

Ryan

1. Vegas*

2. Edmonton*

3. Vancouver*

4. Calgary

5. Seattle

6. Los Angeles

7. San Jose

8. Anaheim

The battle for the final playoff spot in the Pacific should come down to the wire and be fought primarily between Vancouver and Calgary. Of course, the biggest question mark in the Pacific Division is Seattle. We all remember how much Vegas was underestimated in their first season, so could the same be said for Seattle? Well, it’s certainly true that the Kraken’s defense looks strong and they have elite goaltending, so if nothing else they will frustrate their opponents. But can they score consistently enough to be a true playoff contender? I’m not confident that they can, but if some of their forwards exceed expectations then Seattle could have a Vegas-like start to their franchise.

Joey

1. Vegas Golden Knights*

2. Edmonton Oilers*

3. Vancouver Canucks*

4. Los Angeles Kings*

5. Calgary Flames

6. Seattle Kraken

7. San Jose Sharks

8. Anaheim Ducks

I think the Pacific is the worst division in the NHL. No disrespect to the Vegas Golden Knights, who I think are really good, but this division features a lot of mediocre teams. Seattle, San Jose and Anaheim all have some quality players, but it would be surprising to see them get into a playoff spot. The Kings should be better and Edmonton and Vancouver have enough star power to get in.

Anna

1. Vegas Golden Knights*

2. Edmonton Oilers*

3. Vancouver Canucks*

4. Calgary Flames

5. Los Angeles Kings

6. Seattle Kraken

7. San Jose Sharks

8. Anaheim Ducks

The Pacific has three strong teams in Vegas, Edmonton, and Vancouver. Even though many of the remaining teams are not forces at the moment, there is a lot to be excited about in terms of the future development of teams in this division. The Kraken could follow the Vegas blueprint and be a shocker. Anaheim has a ton of young talent to develop over the next few years. The Kings seem to finally be picking up some momentum and could find themselves back in the playoff picture relatively soon.

Mark

1. Vegas Golden Knights*

2. Edmonton Oilers*

3. Calgary Flames*

4. Los Angeles Kings

5. Seattle Kraken

6. Vancouver Canucks

7. San Jose Sharks

8. Anaheim Ducks

Welcome into existence the Seattle Kraken. Seattle does not figure to realistically be vying for the Pacific, but should offer a fun sidestory for the 2021-22 campaign while they operate beneath the heavy division titan that is Vegas. The Golden Knights, more than anyone, are probably thanking their lucky stars that the NHL opted for realignment, because they now no longer have to deal with the looming storm that is the Colorado Avalanche. Vegas is just about the only sure bet — pardon the pun — in this division.

Jeff

1. Vegas Golden Knights*

2. Edmonton Oilers*

3. Calgary Flames*

4. Los Angeles Kings

5. Vancouver Canucks

6. Seattle Kraken

7. San Jose Sharks

8. Anaheim Ducks

Looks like everyone has the Vegas Golden Knights penciled in as the top seed in the Pacific and I’d be shocked if the Edmonton Oilers aren’t following them but after that, it is anyone’s guess. Will this be the year the LA Kings put themselves back into the playoff picture? And can the Seattle Kraken prove to be another expansion Cinderella team? At the bottom, I love the young talent the Ducks are adding through the draft but they seem to be a few years away.

Matt

1. Vegas Golden Knights*

2. Edmonton Oilers*

3. Seattle Kraken*

4. Vancouver Canucks

5. Calgary Flames

6. Los Angeles Kings

7. San Jose Sharks

8. Anaheim Ducks

Vegas and Edmonton should comfortably lock up the first two spots in the Pacific. After that, it gets very interesting. Up the Kraken – the Seattle Kraken have a great group of defensemen and great goaltending. They don’t have any superstars on offence so they’ll have to get it done by committee to vault themselves into a playoff position. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Vancouver Canucks breakout and steal third seed in the division.

Consensus

Central

Colorado – 1

Winnipeg – 3.13

St. Louis – 3.5

Minnesota – 4.5

Dallas – 4.5

Chicago – 4.63

Nashville – 6.88

Arizona – 8

Pacific

Vegas – 1

Edmonton – 2

Calgary – 3.75

Vancouver – 4

Los Angeles – 5

Seattle – 6.25

San Jose – 6.88

Anaheim – 7.88

Stanley Cup Predictions

Trophy Predictions

Fantasy Predictions

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