Here is the NHL Central Division. Besides looking at the teams, we will also cover each clubs Over/Under wager for season points in the standings and their odds to win their division and conference. The latter two odds are present by Intertops.
Nashville – +145 to win Central and +450 to win the Western Conference
Nashville has brought back all 19 players from last season that won the President’s Cup but suffered a disappointing loss in the West semis to Winnipeg. On offense, this as an outstanding group with size and speed that was 7th in scoring a year ago. Their first line features C Ryan Johnsen and Flip Forsberg in particular and a bevy of defensemen that are offensive-minded to create additional pressure. In the playoffs, the Jets exposed the defensemen’s puck handling with forechecking and the Predators turned it over repeatedly. Expect every team to deploy this tactic and it will be interesting to see how the Preds combat it. Goalie Pekka Rinne is 36 and looked worn down in the playoffs, so expect him to share more time with his eventual replacement Juuse Saros. Still a top-flight club, that can win the Cup.
Projected Points Total: O/U 104.5
Winnipeg – +165 to win Central and +550 to win the Western Conference
After years of building after returning as Winnipeg 2.0, the Jets meshed last season and had the second-most points in the NHL. Winnipeg’s offensive style is about continual pressure to wear down opponents and they finished 2nd in scoring and 5th in goals allowed. Their offensive production saw them have seven players with at least 15 goals, led by winger Patrik Laine with 44. The Jets are aptly named. The defense is steady and does not make many miscues and Dustin Byfuglien is a tremendous two-way defender. Conner Hellebuyck was stellar between the iron but the Winnipeg front office hopes a reliable backup emerges to take his workload from 65 to 60 games to have Hellebuyck fresher for the playoffs. This might be the best team in the West.
Projected Points Total: O/U 103.5