With the NHL Entry Draft concluded, free agency is in full swing. In the Central Division, the Colorado Avalanche and the contenders have been busy. But they aren’t the busiest, with the also-rans making plenty of additions. The NHL lines have started to adjust as more notable names are on the move.
Central Division: Offseason Outlook
- Key Signings: LW Jonathan Drouin
- Top Draft Picks: C Calum Ritchie, D Mikhail Gulyayev
- 2024 Stanley Cup Odds: +800
Colorado reunited Nathan MacKinnon with Halifax teammate Jonathan Drouin. He scored just 17 goals in his last four seasons with Montreal. But the 2022 Stanley Cup champions hope the former third overall pick can reignite his scoring touch on this one-year “prove it” deal. And in the draft, Colorado took two first-round selections thanks to a deal with Florida.
The No. 1 and No. 3 players selected in the 2013 NHL draft are back together again.
Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin won a Memorial Cup together with the Halifax Mooseheads in 2012-13.
They combined for 73 goals and 180 points that season. pic.twitter.com/fL6W71qIoW
— Chris Meaney (@chrismeaney) July 1, 2023
- Key Signings: C Matt Duchene, C Craig Smith
- Top Draft Picks: D Tristan Bertucci
- 2024 Stanley Cup Odds: +1600
The Stars bolstered their middle by acquiring Matt Duchene and Craig Smith on affordable deals. Duchene was released by the Nashville Predators despite scoring a career-best 43 goals and 86 points just two seasons ago. Dallas also did not have a first-round pick this draft. Tristan Bertucci was their top selection at 61.
- Key Signings: NA
- Top Draft Picks: C Charlie Stramel
- 2024 Stanley Cup Odds: +3000
With all the movement going around the league, Minnesota’s silence is deafening. The Wild traded for Patrick Maroon and signed a few players to two-way deals. But as a result, Minnesota’s outright NHL odds lengthened while Dallas’s and Chicago’s shortened. Minnesota used its 21st pick to select local kid Charlie Stramel.
- Key Signings: G Laurent Brossoit, C Vladislav Namestnikov
- Top Draft Picks: LW Colby Barlow
- 2024 Stanley Cup Odds: +6000
Winnipeg is another team sliding down the sportsbook’s Stanley Cup odds. The team let longtime captain Blake Wheeler go on top of trading away Pierre-Luc Dubois. The Jets did reacquire Brossoit through a one-year deal while also adding Namestnikov in the middle. Colby Barlow could be the team’s future star winger.
- Key Signings: C Ryan O’Reilly, D Luke Schenn, C Gustav Nyquist
- Top Draft Picks: LW Matthew Wood, D Tanner Molendyk
- 2024 Stanley Cup Odds: +8000
Between hosting the NHL Entry Draft and making a splash on Day 1 of free agency, Nashville was live. The Predators’ odds did not change despite all the NHL news it made. The franchise is doing a bit of both rebuilding and re-tooling as evidenced by acquiring the trio of veterans. In the draft, Nashville took a pair of Canadians.
St. Louis Blues
- Key Signings: LW Mackenzie MacEachern, G Malcolm Subban
- Top Draft Picks: C Dalibor Dvorsky, C Otto Stenberg, D Theo Lindstein
- 2024 Stanley Cup Odds: +6000
The Blues are treading water and have not made many big trades or signings. The team missed the playoffs last season and is in danger of falling to the bottom of the division if it can’t improve. St. Louis did have three first-round picks in this year’s draft led by Dalibor Dvorsky, who led Slovakia to a gold medal at the 2022 World U18 Division IA Championships.
- Key Signings: LW Alexander Kerfoot, LW Jason Zucker, C Alex Galchenyuk
- Top Draft Picks: D Dmitriy Simashev, LW Daniil But
- 2024 Stanley Cup Odds: +25000
Arizona is not winning anything in 2023-24 going by the online sports betting lines. But the franchise is trying to get better and has signed several veterans to help out its young roster. The Coyotes have plenty left to do. With the draft, Arizona tooktwo big swings in acquiring two big Russian teammates in Simashev and But.
- Key Signings: RW Corey Perry, C Ryan Donato
- Top Draft Picks: C Connor Bedard, C Oliver Moore
- 2024 Stanley Cup Odds: +15000
Chicago is on the upswing not only because of Connor Bedard. But the soon-to-be popular NHL pick traded for former Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall and then signed Corey Perry and Ryan Donato. With Nick Foligno already on the roster, Kyle Davidson is giving the top pick plenty of mentors. Chicago also drafted Oliver Moore with the first-round pick from Tampa Bay.