Are the Nashville Predators now the favorites for the Central Division?

After a busy opening free-agency day, the expectations for the Nashville Predators to win a Cup just increased.
Nashville Predators v Vancouver Canucks - Game Five
Nashville Predators v Vancouver Canucks - Game Five / Derek Cain/GettyImages

The Central Division is one of the most formidable divisions in the NHL. In the 2024 playoffs, the following teams made it to the postseason: the Dallas Stars, Winnipeg Jets, Colorado Avalanche, and Nashville Predators.

The St. Louis Blues were close but fell short with 92 points and a record of 43-33-6.

July 1st marked the opening day of free-agency, during which the Nashville Predators greatly improved.

The Nashville Predators aren't settling for anything less than the Cup

The Predators didn't just sign Steven Stamkos, they strategically locked in Jonathan Marchessault and Brady Skjei, making their team even stronger.

Several hockey pundits immediately caught on and labeled the Predators the winner of the free-agent market.

With a roster already boasting extreme talent centered on Ryan O'Reilly, Filip Forsberg, and Roman Josi, it's been made clear that the Predators have their eyes on not only contending in the playoffs but winning it all.

The approach is somewhat similar to the 2019 championship St. Louis Blues.

The roster will be older but experienced. Rather than building through the draft, as the Edmonton Oilers have, the Predators are setting up their foundational group on veterans, of whom many are current or former All-Stars.

Will the Predators' strategic approach lead to success?

This is the question that many hockey enthusiasts are pondering as the team gears up for the upcoming season.

Ranked fourth in the Central Division, the Predators face a tough challenge. The division, with strong teams like the Jets, Stars, and Avalanche, is known for its competitiveness. The Predators can make some noise, but it's going to be an uphill battle.  

The Stars and Avalanche also had busy opening days of free-agency, filling in gaps and bringing in additional talent.

However, what the Nashville Predators achieved on July 1st stands alone, while the division is competitive, their signings of free-agents not only bolstered their team but, according to some analysts, have now made them arguably the favorites in the Central Division.

Will veteran leadership rule the day in Nashville? Can this group of players co-exist and compete among the best in the league?

It's too early to tell now. But what Nashville did on the opening day of free-agency is the talk of the league.

The Central Division just got better.