Minnesota Wild Season Preview; Ranking the Northwest Division Centers

Joseph GuntherContributor IJune 22, 2016

Harry How/Getty Images

The National Hockey League’s Northwest Division is loaded with good centers.

The Colorado Avalanche have a couple very good ones in Paul Statsny and Matt Duchene. Both are good playmakers and two-way players. The difference is that Duchene is a better offensive player and Statsny is a more consistent and mature player.

The Vancouver Canucks also have two good ones. Henrik Sedin led the NHL in scoring last season and Ryan Kesler improved his profile with a very good showing at the Olympics.

The Calgary Flames have one very good one, Olli Jokinen, and one good one, Matt Stajan. Jokinen was re-signed in the offseason after the Flames traded him to the New York Rangers during the season. Despite a bad reputation, he is still a very good player.

The Edmonton Oilers are still searching for a No. 1 center, but have Sam Gagner and Shawn Horcoff. Both will be solid players on the first and second line. Gagner should have the first chance at being on the top line with Taylor Hall and Dustin Penner.

The Minnesota Wild have Mikko Koivu and the rest. Pierre-Marc Bouchard is still listed on the team's roster as a center, but he will be the third-line center or first line wing. Matt Cullen was signed in the offseason to provide stability on the second line.