Central Division: Facts, Figures, Predictions

*The Chicago Blackhawks will go for its fourth Stanley Cup in eight seasons this upcoming spring (OK, they have to make it first). The last team to win four within eight years was Edmonton, who won five in a seven-year span from 1984-90.

*Patrick Kane’s 106 points en route to the Art Ross Trophy in 2015-16 was the highest scoring total in an NHL season since Evgeni Malkin posted 109 in 2011-12. No player has reached 110 since Henrik Sedin’s 112-point campaign in 2009-10.

*(Kind of) oldie but a goodie – the Blackhawks point total in 2012-13 adjusted to 132 (they had 77 in 48 games). That total would’ve tied a record held by the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens.

*The Colorado Avalanche have won 39 games in each of the last two seasons; the first time the Avs failed to win 40 games two full years in a row since the NHL went to a 82-game schedule in 1995-96. Back when the franchise was in Quebec City, the Nordiques won 16 and 20 games, respectively, in 1991 and ’92, part of a stretch of six years of 40 wins or fewer from 1987-92.

*Matt Duchene scored 30 goals last season, the first Colorado player to reach that mark since Joe Sakic and Milan Hejduk tallied 36 and 35, respectively, in 2006-07. Hejduk is the most recent to score 40, when he buried 50 chances in 2002-03.

*In 2013-14, Seymon Varlomov led all goaltenders in wins (41), his .927 save percentage was tied with Carey Price for second, and ranked 10th with a 2.41 GAA among goalies who played 55 games. In two seasons since, he’s 15th in wins (55), his .918 save percentage tied for 11th, and his 2.68 GAA 15th.

*The Stars league-leading 3.23 goals-per-game last season was the highest since the Penguins led the league with 3.33 in 2011-12.

*There have been just six 30-goal seasons in Nashville Predators history. Filip Forsberg and James Neal accounted for two of them last season.

*The Blues have allowed the second-lowest goals per game over the past five seasons, a rate of 2.26 per game. Only Los Angeles (2.24) has allowed fewer.

Predictions

1. Nashville: You’re going to love the way this team plays hockey.

2. St. Louis: David Backes is gone, but all will be well up front as Vladimir Tarasenko scores 50 goals.

3. Chicago: The Hawks window is far from closed.

4. Dallas: The Stars overcome early struggles as its best recover from offseason injuries.

5. Minnesota: Bruce Boudreau effect gets underway, expect a higher finish than this.

6. Winnipeg: Patrik Laine finished with more points than Auston Matthews.

7. Colorado: The Avs are a franchise at a crossroads.

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