The Winnipeg Jets were once part of a formidable Central Division that had multiple teams battling for the top of the Western Conference. The days of divisional dominance have gone away and now all that is left is the remnants of dominant teams of yore. So what happened to the Central Division?
- The Winnipeg Jets lost some key veterans to the salary cap and were never able to properly replace them thanks to younger players earning raises. Some of it might be mis-reading players like Dmitry Kulikov when originally signing him and the Tyler Myers mistake that was corrected by letting him walk at the end of his contract.
- The Chicago Blackhawks have been trying to bring the band back together for a while now and it has not worked at all. They have traded good players for players that they traded away all in the hopes of recapturing the magic. Problem is it is not 2010 anymore and they need to do something new to get better.
- The Nashville Predators tried to be proactive. They surprised some NHL fans this past off-season by trading PK Subban to the New Jersey Devils, but that move actually makes sense in retrospect based on Subban’s on-ice struggles. Outside of that, they are simply transitioning as a team and seems to be re-loading in some ways.
Of course the Central Division still has the St. Louis Blues who are the top team in the West. The Colorado Avalanche are showing that last year was not a fluke and the Dallas Stars appear to finally be making some headway after years of being on and off.
The Central Division used to be really tight from top to bottom. It has now shifted to one top team, some tight middle teams, and then a drop-down to the bottom teams. It’s weird, but over time we might see the Central Division return to its glory days. Until then, we can all laugh at Chicago trying to make something that was five years old work again.