When soccer’s World Cup is contested and the draw is held for the tournament, there’s always one group labeled the group of death, because it is so rich is deply skilled teams that it is guaranteed that some very good squads will be heading home without qualifying for the knockout stage of the event. The Central Division is the National Hockey League’s group of death. Every spring when the regular season concludes and the positions are locked up for the Stanley Cup playoffs, there are always quality Central Division teams sent packing.
How tough is it to make the grade in the NHL Central? The Colorado Avalanche won the division title in 2013-14 and haven’t made it back to the playoffs since. The Winnipeg Jets garnered 99 points to earn a playoff spot in 2014-15, but in 2015-16 slid to last place, missing the playoffs by nine points.
Things are so tight in the NHL Central Division a team can go from worst to first in a heartbeat. That was the case with the Colorado Avalanche. Colorado was division champions with 112 points in 2013-14, the third-best total in the entire NHL.
Then the Avalanche slumped all the way to the Central Division basement in 2014-15 but it wasn’t like they had a bad season. Every team the division won at least 39 games and they all accumulated a minimum of 90 points. It was the only time in NHL history that an entire division finished at 90 points or better. At least three Central teams accumlated 100 points in each season between 2013-14 and 2015-16.
Going from the penthouse to the outhouse isn’t uncommon in the NHL Central. Four different teams have finished first in the division between 2012-13 and 2015-16. The Chicago Blackhawks went from first place and a Stanley Cup championship in 2009-10 to an eighth seed in 2010-11.
Central Division Betting Lines Today
Keep up to date with the ongoings in the Central Division by referencing the current betting lines below. This is an essential first step in planning your betting strategy.
Central Division Standings Right Now
Here are the latest NHL Central Division standings avalable for your perusal. One factor you can count on when wagering on Central Division games is that they will be hotly contested.
How an NHL Central team does within its own division generally goes a long way toward determining the outcome of their season. It’s not mere conicidence that the two Central teams that missed the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2015-16 – the Colorado Avalanche (13-13-2) and the Winnipeg Jets (11-16-2) – were the only teams that didn’t post a winning mark during the season in intra-divisional competition.
Shold you doubt that the Central houses the best of the NHL’s Western Conference, every single Central Division team posted a winning record in competition against the Pacific Division during the 2015-16 campaign.
How To Win At Central Division Betting
The NHL Central Division contained three of the top five NHL teams during the 2015-16 season. Two of the league’s top five home teams and two of the top five road teams were also Central Division clubs. Chicago, Dallas and St. Louis were 2-4-6 in the NHL on the power play and the Blues were thrd in the NHL on the penalty kill.
A big year in the Central is no guarantee of success. In 2014-15, the Minnesota Wild garnered 100 points and that was only good enough for a wildcard position in this deep division.
The Art Ross Trophy winner in 2015-16 was Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks. The Art Ross Trophy winner in 2014-15 was Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars. Eight of the NHL’s top 10-scoring defenseman in 2015-16 also played for Central Division teams, as did the leader in rookie scoring (Chicago’s Atremi Panarin) and power-play points (Kane). The 2015-16 NHL leader in goals-against (Brian Elliott of the St. Louis Blues) and shutouts (Chicago’s Corey Crawford) were Central Division netminders.
But there’s more than skill at work in the Central. The division housed four of the largest teams in the NHL in 2015-16 in terms of height and weight, and that’s why Central Division games can often resemble barroom brawls as the teams fight for space on the ice. If they don’t beat you with their high-end skill, the teams of the NHL Central Division will wear down opponents via their physical play and their ability to take away time and space on the ice.