Is the new-look Central Division the weakest division in the realigned NHL? Absolutely, says Lancione
Yes, it is. I said it. Bold, considering the division includes the defending Stanley Cup Champs? Maybe, but lets take a look at the facts.
Gone to the East (finally), are the Columbus Blue Jackets and the perennially contending Detroit Red Wings, who have been in the thick of title conversations for the better part of the past quarter century. Out of the central division and the Western Conference goes four Stanley Cups, six Presidents trophies and a still-active 22-year playoff streak, a welcome riddance for the rest of the central.
Landing in the Central are the "Not-Winnin-For-MacKinnon" Avalanche, Wild, Stars and the Jets. Consequently, only one of these division newbies participated in Lord Stanley's playoffs last year. The latter of which (re-incarnated Jets), have still yet to win a single playoff game in the 15 year history of the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise. Despite a near miss in 2013, they've still missed out on the past five post-seasons and will be dealing with the Alexander Burmistrov defection to boot.
Excluding the world beater Chicago Blackhawks, the cumulative goal differential from 2013 among the new Central Division members was a brutal minus-67. Even if you add into the fray the best team in the world last season, Chicago, the reformed division collectively still only registered a -14 Goal Differential.
2013 Central Division Standings