The Central Division has proven to be the cream of the crop of the Western Conference. Here’s a look at a breakout candidate for each team going into the 2017-18 NHL season.
The NHL offseason is passing by pretty fast. Before you know it, it will be the start of the 2017-18 NHL season. And before then, people will start their fantasy hockey drafts. The secret to success in any fantasy league is to find your breakout candidates. Guys who could give you a ton of value. Even if you aren’t a fantasy fan, it’s always fun to try to predict the next stars of hockey.
One could make the argument the Central Division is the best division in the NHL. At the very least, it’s the most competitive. You have at worst six teams competing for at most five playoff spots. The division will likely come down to how several players do, and it won’t be the stars. It will be the breakout candidates.
I’ve already looked at the breakout candidates in the Metropolitan Division and the Atlantic Division. The Central Division features a number of young players, primed to lift off towards stardom. For a variety of reasons, each team has at least one breakout candidate. It mostly boils down to young players getting more playing time. However, some players possess a skill set that might prove to be extremely valuable to their team.
Before we begin, let’s take a look at some of the honorable mentions. Mark Barberio was one of the Colorado Avalanche’s best defensemen last season after being picked up on waivers from the Montreal Canadiens. The Chicago Blackhawks have a number of talented young players. Ryan Hartman is one of them, but there’s a more obvious breakout candidate on the team.
Without further ado, here’s a breakout candidate for each NHL team in the Central Division.