What is the best division in the NHL?
By: The NHL Nosebleed Team
Peter Bolt - Central Division
I think it is more than fair to say that the Atlantic has the best top 3 teams between the Bruins, Maple Leafs, and Lightning out of any division. From top to bottom, I think the Central takes it home. Every team in the Central (besides the Blackhawks) was either in a playoff spot or right on the bubble of a playoff spot right up till the end of the season. The Central was the only division to have 5 out of 6 teams finish with 90+ points and the only division to have 5 out of 6 teams with positive team goal differentials. I think the Blues and Avalanche have made some good offseason moves and will be better than they were last season making the Central even better.
Colin Noonan - Metropolitan Division
In terms of the high-end teams, the Atlantic would probably be the best. But after Tampa, Boston, and Club 1967 the quality falls off a cliff. Meanwhile, the Metro has the reigning Stanley Cup champions in Washington, as well as Pittsburgh who were vying for a 3-peat before the Caps exercised their demons. The Flyers and Devils boast promising young squads headlined by Hart winner Taylor Hall for New Jersey and Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek in Philly. The Hurricanes are a sexy pick to make the playoffs and the Jackets (for now) boast one of the game’s most prolific scorers in Artemi Panarin. Even the Islanders and Rangers who will likely bring up the rear in the division have some high-end talent with reigning Calder winner Mat Barzal and 40 goal scorer Anders Lee on the Islanders and underrated center Mika Zibanejad and all-time goalie Henrik Lunqvist on the Rangers.
Chris Yackel - Central Division
What other division can one make the case that every team in the division has a shot to be in the playoffs? I don’t think there is one, besides the talented Central Division. The Preds are perennial favorites not in just this division, but the entire Western Conference. The Jets proved they were ready to make the next step as their young deep team went all the way to the Conference Final. The Wild have an experienced and hardworking veteran team that has made the playoffs every year since the 2012-13 season. The Avalanche made shockwaves throughout the NHL last year and Nathan MacKinnon cemented himself as a top 5 player. The Blues missed the playoffs last year by a single point last year on the last day of the season. They buffed up their lineup in free agency and look to be a powerhouse again. Dallas was excellent for most of the year, before they choked down the stretch. I expect the talented and motivated duo of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin won’t let the playoffs slip out of their hands again. Finally, you have the Chicago Blackhawks. A team that is trying to show they have one more cup run in the tank with Kane and Toews. So many interesting storylines as I wouldn’t be surprised if 5 teams made the playoffs from this stacked division.
Jack Fenty - Central Division
Jack, you are so unoriginal by also picking the Central Division you may say, but it’s so hard to pick another one, I say. To me there are two tiers in this central division, but I think the difference between them is very minimal. Tier 1 consist of the Predators and Jets, these two teams finished as the top two last season and I expect them to do the same this upcoming season. Tier 2 consist of the Avalanche, Stars, Wild, Blues, and Blackhawks, these five teams are so close in overall talent level. After the top two teams, the rest of this division is so deep and playoff spots are totally up for grabs. As Yackel writes above, this division could easily see five teams make the playoffs.
Follow @NHLNosebleed for more!