Central Divison Power Rankings: Preds On Top

Now that we are a bit into the young 2014-15 NHL season we present to you our Central Division power rankings.

Each week we will rank the Central Division, numbers one to seven based on each team’s performance in their previous weeks and how they have fared so far this season.

With that being said, power rankings don’t really mean much, actually they don’t mean anything if you think about it. Power rankings do however differ from the NHL standings of course, they are opinionated (which is what we’re going for) and of course also differ from the standings seeing that the standings are official and mean everything while again, these are more of a weekly update of the team’s performances on the ice week in and week out.

So, without further a due, here is the first installment of our Central Division power rankings.

James Neal seems to be coming along for Nashville as well, seeing how he recorded a hat trick against the Chicago Blackhawks this past Thursday. The Predators embark on a six-game road trip starting on Wednesday with a trip to Edmonton. The first long road trip of the season should be a great test for the hot starting Nashville Predators who are currently first in the Central with 12-points. Also, keep an eye out for Nashville’s power play to awaken soon, I don’t know how long they can remain the fifth worst power play team in the NHL at 7.7%, but we shall see." >
1

Nashville Predators (5-1-2)

Last week: (2-1-0) record
Last rank: NR


Indeed, this is a Nashville Predators blog, but in my opinion Nashville sits atop the Central Division even after being shutout by the Pittsburgh Penguins two days ago. The Predators were the last team in the entire National Hockey League to suffer a regulation loss, therefore they are the top team in the toughest division in the NHL. James Neal seems to be coming along for Nashville as well, seeing how he recorded a hat trick against the Chicago Blackhawks this past Thursday. The Predators embark on a six-game road trip starting on Wednesday with a trip to Edmonton. The first long road trip of the season should be a great test for the hot starting Nashville Predators who are currently first in the Central with 12-points. Also, keep an eye out for Nashville’s power play to awaken soon, I don’t know how long they can remain the fifth worst power play team in the NHL at 7.7%, but we shall see.
Brad Richards can get things going in the scoring category, Chicago’s already incredibly talented offense will become even scarier. Richards has three assists in this very young season, but still hasn’t lit the lamp for his new team in Chicago." >
2

Chicago Blackhawks (5-2-1)

Last week: (2-2-0) record
Last rank: NR


No, of course Chicago can’t be far down the list. Perhaps Chicago would be first team on the list this week, but they fell to the Predators 3-2 this past Thursday. James Neal, as mentioned above, lit the lamp three-times against the Blackhawks. Following their loss to Nashville, Chicago fell to St. Louis in the same fashion, 3-2, but bounced back with a win at home against the Ottawa Senators on Sunday night. If Brad Richards can get things going in the scoring category, Chicago’s already incredibly talented offense will become even scarier. Richards has three assists in this very young season, but still hasn’t lit the lamp for his new team in Chicago.
Darcy Kuemper has an astounding .80 save percentage through his five games played this season. The Wild’s two losses on the season were one goal losses to Anaheim and Los Angeles, in their four wins this season they have outscored their opponent 17-2. Yes, 17-2." >
3

Minnesota Wild (4-2-0)

Last week: (2-0-0) record
Last rank: NR


The Minnesota Wild have played the fewest amount of games among all Central Division teams, six, but they have been impressive in those six games. The Wild, as of the moment this is being written, have the second best penalty-kill numbers in the NHL followed by only allowing one goal per night on average. Defensively and goalie-play wise the Wild have arguably been the best team in the entire league.  Minnesota’s number one netminder Darcy Kuemper has an astounding .80 save percentage through his five games played this season. The Wild’s two losses on the season were one goal losses to Anaheim and Los Angeles, in their four wins this season they have outscored their opponent 17-2. Yes, 17-2.
Kari Lehtonen is back and seems to be healthy for the Stars and hasn’t dropped a game in regulation while in net so far this season. If Lehtonen can remain healthy, it of course benefits the Stars in a major way. Anders Lindback has started twice this season for Dallas and has allowed a combined 11-goals in those two starts, both losses. Tyler Seguin has started off his year with a major bang, lighting the lamp six-times and also adding seven assists to his name to make him the leading point scorer in the NHL." >
4

Dallas Stars (4-2-2)

Last week: (2-1-0) record
Last rank: NR


The Stars and St. Louis Blues could both be ranked number four here, but as of today the Dallas Stars have been just a bit more impressive than the Blues. The Stars dropped their first two games of the season then bounced back with wins on the road against Columbus and Pittsburgh. Dallas has been scoring a lot of goals (3.5/game) but they’ve also allowed far too many goals (3.5/game). Kari Lehtonen is back and seems to be healthy for the Stars and hasn’t dropped a game in regulation while in net so far this season. If Lehtonen can remain healthy, it of course benefits the Stars in a major way. Anders Lindback has started twice this season for Dallas and has allowed a combined 11-goals in those two starts, both losses. Tyler Seguin has started off his year with a major bang, lighting the lamp six-times and also adding seven assists to his name to make him the leading point scorer in the NHL.
5

St. Louis Blues (3-3-1)

Last week: (1-1-0) record
Last rank: NR


St. Louis has been a bit of a mystery this season, definitely the mystery of the Central Division so far this year. The Blues are the fifth best team in the NHL when it comes to goals against with an average of two-goals a night, but their highly touted offense hasn’t been able to find the back of the net as much as expected. The Blues have only scored 16-goals so far this season in their seven-games played. Killing off penalties has been a bit of a struggles so far this season as well for St. Louis, only killing off 76% of the opposition’s penalties making them the 25th worst team in the NHL in that category.

 

Ondrej Pavelec has not been the same netminder we saw give up 3.01 goals a game a year ago. There’s not much to say about this team other than when Evander Kane gets back into the lineup the Jets will only improve, obviously." >
6

Winnipeg Jets (3-5-0)

Last week: (2-1-0) record
Last rank: NR


Yes, you are reading this correctly; the Winnipeg Jets are not the worst team in the Central Division as of today. The Jets just beat the worst team in the Central Division by the score of 2-1 on Sunday, thus making them the number six team in our Central Division power rankings. Winnipeg really has not been THAT bad this season, their penalty-kill percentage (88.2%) is fifth best in the league and Ondrej Pavelec has not been the same netminder we saw give up 3.01 goals a game a year ago. There’s not much to say about this team other than when Evander Kane gets back into the lineup the Jets will only improve, obviously.

 

Paul Stastny this off season, but would his presence resolve all that is going wrong in Avs country? It is also worth noting that Colorado’s number one goalie Semyon Varlamov has only seen action in five games this season due to injury." >
7

Colorado Avalanche (2-4-3)

Last week: (1-0-2) record
Last rank: NR


If you haven’t been paying too much attention to the hockey world outside of the Nashville Predators, you have missed a surprising start to the season for one hockey club in particular, the Colorado Avalanche. Colorado won the Central Division last season in acquiring an astounding 112-points under first year head coach Patrick Roy; this season that same hockey team has gotten off to an abysmal start. Most people predicted the Avalanche to have a drop off this season, and while it is still very early in the season those predictions seem to be right thus far. Some may have thought that after not scoring a goal in their first two games of the year in losses to Minnesota they were just kicking off some rust and they would jump back into form. While they did get a win in their third game of the season against the Boston Bruins, they reeled off four straight losses following their first win of the season. Colorado did lose their third leading goal scorer in Paul Stastny this off season, but would his presence resolve all that is going wrong in Avs country? It is also worth noting that Colorado’s number one goalie Semyon Varlamov has only seen action in five games this season due to injury.

How would you rank the Central Division as of today? Keep an eye out next Monday for next week’s Central Division power rankings.