St. Louis Blues: A
The Blues are a team that I have changed my opinion on completely this year. At the beginning of the year, I picked St. Louis to miss the playoffs entirely, but now, I think this is a team that could make a deep run.
Why the change? Because the offense of the Blues is playing well, which is a bit of a new phenomenon for this team. Usually, defense guides this club, so the fact that both the offense and defense are playing well is encouraging.
The only improvement that I would want to see is the goaltending. Jordan Binnington has been good, but if he can capture his 2019 form, that A will turn to an A+.
Winnipeg Jets: C-
I did not have the Jets qualifying for the postseason when the year began. That was not because I expected the team to be bad, but I thought the Western Conference would be crowded, and they’d be the first team out.
As it stands, however, the Jets are struggling. Since mid-November, Winnipeg is 8-12-4, and the team has fallen five points out of a playoff spot. The fact that the offense for the Jets is scoring just under three goals per contest is very concerning to me, because after goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, I don’t love the defense in Winnipeg.
The Jets are essentially in the same spot as the Stars, but I don’t see as much upside with Winnipeg. I’ll give this club a C- in the first half, as I see it as an underachievement that could cost them a postseason berth.
The Central Division has some extreme highs and some extreme lows, but in total, this might be the division with the most true Cup contenders. As such, the second half of the season should be fun.