The NHL Central Division was the best division in the NHL last season. Five out of the seven teams made the playoffs and all seven teams surpassed the 80 point mark. The Stanley Cup Champion didn’t come from the central division though, so, starting at the NHL Draft, all seven teams looked to improve their roster. Let’s take a look at the fan reaction to all the big moves and how the rest of the central may’ve reacted as well.
Key Additions: Brad Richards
Fan Reaction – Richards is on a cheap deal, he’ll be looking to prove himself, there will be much less pressure on him than there was in New York on that big contract, he’s a good second line guy behind Jonathan Toews and there’s no way he can suck playing on a line with Patrick Kane.
Rival Reaction – They are up against the cap so they’ll have to continue to sell off their depth players for nothing if they hope to re-sign Kane and Toews at the end of the season. Richards is probably going to be good in Chicago, but will they have enough depth to make another strong playoff run?
Fan Reaction – The one-two combination of Spezza and Tyler Seguin is one of the best center combos in the league and Hemsky and Spezza already have great chemistry.
Rival Reaction – Dallas already had a good offense, it’s there defense that’s been a bit questionable. Spezza isn’t always focussed on the team first and we’ve seen enough of Hemsky to know that he won’t battle or play hard unless the puck is on his stick.
Key Additions: Thomas Vanek
Fan Reaction – We got a proven scorer. We needed a proven scorer.
Rival Reaction – Vanek didn’t show up in the playoffs, can be selfish, and isn’t going to play much defense.
Fan Reaction – WE GOT GUYS WHO CAN SCORE!!!!!!
St. Louis Blues
Key Additions: Paul Stastny
Fan Reaction – We took Stastny from a division rival. Our one-two center combination of Stastny and David Backes can rival anyone in the league.
Rival Reaction - You overpaid for Stastny and Brian Elliott is your #1 starter for the entire season.
Key Additions: Mathieu Perreault
Fan Reaction – WE SIGNED SOMEONE!
Rival Reaction - Try and keep up.
Rival Reaction - They lost Stastny to a division rival, they got older, and there’s no way they’ll be as good as they were last season.
Fan Reaction – We got tougher up front and on our defense and everyone said we were too young last season so we added experience.