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2015-2016 Central Division Preview

A fairly basic look at new players, and news surrounding the 2015-2016 Central division, the toughest division in the NHL.

Newcomer Brodziak celebrates with Steve Ott
Newcomer Brodziak celebrates with Steve Ott
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

As most of you know, the 2015-2016 NHL season begins October 7th.  Every year during free agency and training camp rosters take shape and players move between teams.  In this preview, we take a look at the changes in the NHL's Central Division.  The Following is how the rosters are shaping for each team in the central, in alphabetical order.

Chicago Blackhawks

Subtractions: Brandon Saad, Ben Smith, Kris Versteeg, Johnny Oduya, Brad Richards, Daniel Carcillo, Antoine Vermette, Anti Raanta

Additions: Artem Anisimov, Ryan Garbutt, Anti Panarin, Viktor Tihkonov, Trevor Daley

The Chicago Blackhawk's made waves in the off season trading budding superstar Brandon Saad to Columbus in a trade that brought Artem Anisimov in the door.  The cap space wasn't there to keep Saad, and Anisimov is a suitable answer for their 2C conundrum over the past few years.  With the INSANE cap hits for Toews and Kane starting this season ($10.5M each) the Blackhawks are forced to bring several younger players into the fold, on the bottom half of their lineup.  With alot of new players, it will be interesting to see if the  Blackhawks can keep up the fast, rugged style that has been successful in the past.

Possible Lineup:

Teravainen - Toews - Hossa

Panarin - Anisimov - Kane

Bickell - Shaw - Baun

Desjardins - Kruger - Garbutt

Keith - Seabrook

Hjalmarsson - Daley

van ReimsDyk - Runblad



Colorado Avalanche

Subtractions: Ryan O'Reilly, Maxime Talbot, Jamie McGinn

Additions: Mikko Rantanen, Mihkael Grigorenko, Carl Soderberg, Nikita Zadorov, Brandon Gormley, Francois Beauchemin

When Ryan O'Reilly made it very clear he wanted a big payday, the Avalanche sent him to Buffalo and got Zadorov, and Grigorenko in return.  With the possible emergence of 2015 First round pick Mikko Rantanen, who will stay with the team for at least 9 games this year, the Avalanche are going with youth, a strategy that has worked out very well for them in the past.

Possible Lineup:

Landeskog - Duchene - Iginla

Tanguay - Mackinnon - Rantanen

Soderberg - Grigorenko - Rendulic

Comeau - Mitchell - McLeod

Beauchemin - Johnson

Zadorov - Barrie

Stuart - Guenin



Dallas Stars

Substractions: Ryan Garbutt, Trevor Daley, Eirk Cole, Sergei Gonchar

Additions: Patrick Sharp, Johnny Oduya, Jason Demers, Mattias Janmark, Anti Miemi

Dallas made a few tweaks over the offseason by acquiring Patrick Sharp and Johnny Oduya from the Blackhawks.  Mittias Janmark was a big surprised in training camp and played his way onto the opening night roster.  The Stars increased their offensive depth, Solidified their Defense, and brought in veteran Anti Niemi to help in goal as well.

Possible lineup:

Benn - Seguin - Nichushkin

Janmark - Spezza - Sharp

Rousel - Eakin - Hemsky

Moen - Fiddler - Eaves

Goligoski - Klingberg

Oduya - Demers

Jokipakka - Benn



Minnesota Wild

Subtractions: Kyle Brodziak, Matt Cooke, Jordan Leopold, Chris Stewart

Additions: Chris Porter, Mike Rielly

The Minnesota Wild are one of the only teams in the central that have the same look as they did last year.  Their only change is the claiming of, former St. Louis Blue, Chris Porter from Philadelphia Flyers on waivers.  They Signed highly touted NCAA free agent Mike Rielly over the summer, but he couldnt crack the young, steady D corps that Minnesota has and was reassigned to Iowa (AHL).

Possible Lineup:

Parise - Koivu - Pominville

Zucker - Granland - Niederreiter

Vanek - Graovac - Coyle

Porter - Haula - Carter

Suter - Spurgeon

Brodin - Dumba

Scandella - Folin



Nashville Predators

Subtractions: Cody Franson, Matt Cullen, Derek Roy

Additions: Barret Jackman

The Predator biggest "additions" are veteran defenseman and former Blue Barret Jackman, as well as Viktor Arvidsson, a 4th round pick from 2014 NHL Entry draft.  Nashville believes they have the right tools in place for improvement, and are hoping to build on a stellar performance last year in 14-15.  The biggest question for Nashville is the recent play of Pekka Rinne, who didn't have a very good preseason.

Possible lineup:

Forsberg - Ribeiro - Neal

Wilson - Fisher - Smith

Arvidsson - Hodgson - Jarnkrok

Nystrom - Gaustad - Watson

Josi - Weber

Jackman - Jones

Ekholm - Ellis



Saint Louis Blues

Subtractions: TJ Oshie, Barret Jackman, Chris Porter

Additions: Kyle Brodziak, Scottie Upshall, Troy Brouwer

The Blues are taking a look at some young players to start the season.  Robby Fabbri, the Blues 2014 1st round draft pick (21st overall) looks to stay on the team for longer than 9 games after impressing the coaches in general manager in training camp once again.  Youngster Defensemen, Parayko (22) and Edmundson (22), were battling in camp for the spot that Jackman's departure created, and ultimately beat out the incumbents in Butler and Lindbohm.  Patrik Berglund re-injuring his shoulder during training, opened the door for late training camp signing of veteran forward Scott Upshall, who files well in Hitchcock's 200-foot game.

Possible Lineup:

Steen - Stastny - Tarasenko

Fabbri - Lehtera - Schwartz

Jaskin - Backes - Brouwer

Ott - Brodiak - Reaves

Bouwmeester - Pietrangelo

Edmundson - Shattenkirk

Parayko - Bortuzzo



Winnipeg Jets

Subtractions: Jiri Tlusty, Lee Stempniak, Grant Clitsome, Micheal Frolik

Additions: Thomas Raffl, Alex Burmistrov

Winnipeg made one move over the summer in bringing back young, versatile forward Alex Burmistrov from Russia.  Other than that, they stood pat and promoted Nikolai Ehlers from within their system.  Finally, yesterday they signed Thomas Raffl, the older brother of the Flyers forward Michael Raffl, a forward who had been playing professionally in Sweden until his signing. The majority of their moves came last season when they made a big trade with the Sabres that saw Tyler Myers and Evander Kane leave the 'Peg.  The should at least be able to do as well as they did in 14-15, if not better, assuming Pavelec can stay healthy and Hutchinson can build on a steady 14-15 campaign.

Possible lineup:

Ladd - Little - Burmistrov

Ehlers - Scheifele - Wheeler

Perreault - Lowry - Stafford

Petan - Copp - Thorburn

Byfuglien - Trouba

Enstrom - Myers

Stuart - Chiarot



Once again, everyone in the NHL's Central division gets better.  It should be another solid year of great games between rivals, as well as a year where any team could be the top dog.  Stay tuned as the year goes on for (hopefully) weekly updates on happenings in the toughest division in the NHL. Feel free to leave suggestions or questions in the comments, Thanks for reading!