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Sunday's notes: Shoring up the Central?

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The Central Division has gotten a reputation for being extremely competitive since the lockout, with this year's 23-point spread from top to bottom the 2nd-narrowest in the league, behind the Pacific. After looking at the events of the last two weeks, however, one has to wonder if it will be an even tighter contest in the upcoming 2011-12 campaign. Consider:

  • Perennial favorite Detroit has to contend with the loss of Brian Rafalski and the aging of the core players on the team.
  • Nashville is retooling on the fly, bringing a further injection of youth on the blueline while continuing to search for offensive help up front.
  • Chicago is adding beef to its defense, at the expense of the sometimes dynamic Brian Campbell.
  • St. Louis chose to go in a new direction with the Erik Johnson/Chris Stewart trade, and added veteran depth up front in Jason Arnott and Jamie Langenbrunner.
  • Columbus may be spending recklessly, but they'll likely have a better on-ice product this season after adding Jeff Carter and James Wisnkiewski.

While I don't think that Blues and Blue Jackets will contend for the division title yet, they won't be pushovers, either. This could be one heckuva battle, folks...

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