With the NHL season 2020/21 right around the corner, we’re analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of every squad in the league. In this article, we’re looking at the five Central Division teams that are vying for the top spot.
The Predators historically have a great defensive core and Roman Josi, Mattias Ekholm, and Ryan Ellis are a core part of the squad. Playing three defensemen who can comfortably handle over 23 minutes per game is a boon for the squad.
Nashville’s Achilles Heel in the last season was failing against the special teams. And the franchise ranked 29th with a 17.3% success rate in the NHL, which are terrible figures for a team of its stature.
Putting points up on the table is perhaps the Stars’ greatest strength. Ben Bishop is an integral part of the squad and a master goaltender in the league. However, the franchise does not have a spare goaltender as much as they have a second starter in Anton Khudobin.
While Khudobin has held his own for a major part of his career, his run in the Stanley Cup Final in 2020 proved just how good he is. As Bishop continues to recover from his knee injury, Dallas will depend on Anton to get them through in the upcoming season.
Minnesota has been locked in mediocrity for some time now although the squad has been vehemently trying to shake the tag off. Case in point, 35-year-old Ryan Suter is leading from the frontlines. Although the guy doesn’t have a single Norris Trophy to his name, he has been a master craftsman in the defenses.
Backing Suter is Mathew Dumba, Jared Spurgeon, and Jonas Brodin. And although none of them are at the peak of their form, all four are signed on till 2022/23. So, the Wild needn’t worry about its defenses for a while.
Although the Jets don’t have much to show for offense, they’ve prepared a balanced squad for the upcoming season. Patrik Laine, Mark Scheifele, Nikolaj Ehlers, Kyle Connor, and Blake Wheeler all play a massive role in the squad. And with Paul Stastny in the mix, Winnipeg is set to roll out two very strong lines.
However, the guys need to focus on their defenses as after the 2018/19 season the franchise lost Ben Chiarot, Tyler Myers, Jacob Trouba, and Dustin Byfuglien. This left a massive hole in the Jets’ lineup.
While the Blackhawks are still recuperating, they have one straw left from their glory days in Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. The duo is as good as ever, but the squad hasn’t been able to capitalize on the stars.
While there might be star players in the NHL, hockey is a team sport and the squad is as good as its weakest link. The Blackhawks, thus, need to step up their game and fast. That might be easier said than done since the duo is currently surrounded by prospects and question marks.
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