Three very good teams are starting to move clear in the Central with too much ground to make up for most.
Colorado Avalanche – 32-14-3 – 67 points
Nathan MacKinnon is enjoying another exceptional season with 84 points, just one off the league lead. They have leaned heavily on Alexandar Georgiev in net, his 41 starts are the most in the NHL and subsequently so are his 26 wins. Boast the most goals in the NHL but a 17th-best defence will need improving on. 20 wins at home leads the league.
Dallas Stars – 30-13-6- 66 points
Similar makeup to the Avs, they score a lot of goals but concede more than is ideal. Jason Robertson leads the team in points with 50, some way short of the 109 pace he put up last year. There has been plenty of secondary scoring but to lift a Stanley Cup they will need better goaltending.
Winnipeg Jets – 30-12-5 – 65 points
Defensively excellent, no team has conceded fewer, but they enter the All-Star Game with three straight losses. Top scorer Kyle Connor missed a number of games with injury and now Mark Scheifele is out injured. A continued lack of offensive output will hurt them in the long run.
St Louis Blues – 26-21-2 – 54 points
Only seven teams have scored fewer goals than the Blues, bottom half in goals conceded as well. Their record at this stage of the season is impressive as a result but it will make things harder in the second half. Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou continue their growth but it would take an exceptional second half to make them a genuine Stanley Cup contender.
Nashville Predators – 26-23-2 – 54 points
It has been a frustrating season so far, one step forward and two steps back. They have been horrible on home ice leading into the All-Star Game and no team has played more games. Still in wildcard contention but need to play much better at Bridgestone Arena to contend.
Arizona Coyotes – 23-22-3 – 49 points
The intimate 4600-seat Mullett Arena has helped the Yotes to a 15-9 home standing. They have been terrible on the road and that has to be improved if they are to sneak a playoff spot. Clayton Keller leads the way with 45 points but no one else has more than 32.
Minnesota Wild – 21-23-5 – 47 points
A poor start to the season was briefly turned around when John Hynes replaced Dean Evason, going 11-3 through Hynes’ first 14 games in charge. 5-10-1 since, the .894 save percentage from their netminders will have to improve massively to have any hope of a playoff berth.
Chicago Blackhawks – 14-34-2 – 30 points
While Connor Bedard has brought some hope to the Windy City, suffering a broken jaw against the Devils has sunk a season that was already a struggle. They had five wins in their first 12 games but have only won nine of 38 since. Shutout in four of their last six, roll on next season.