The Central Division has long been held up as the gold standard of parity in the salary capped NHL. The last decade has also seen growth in interest in hockey, leading to an influx of fans who have not been steeped in rich culture and history of hockey. Therefore I feel that as a service to all hockey fans a monthly analysis of the quality of the Central Division teams, and to do so in a way that speaks to people from all walks of life.
These are the Central Division Power Ratings: Dragon Ball Edition
I was the right age when Dragon Ball Z aired in the United States. I was also the right age to stop watching because there is only so much glowing, veiny screaming one can take before you start to seriously question how you spend your time. Dragon Ball Z also gave us power ratings to help impress children with numbers that hold all verisimilitude of a Fox News infographic. All these factor considered, the massively popular Japanese cartoon is the perfect fit for the first ever Central Division Power Ratings. (Note: There are an infinite number of Dragon Ball characters, and I only watched four of the sagas. So, I'm going to focus on those sagas and only the Z Fighters)
Vegeta is great as a bad guy and he's great as a good guy. He brings passion and intensity to every situation, is driven by self-improvement, and is great at bringing humor to a situation without making me want to take a fork to my eyes. He and his family are also a great foil to the persistent insufferability of Goku's family. That alone elevates him to the top of the last. Sadly, Vegeta is the Lt. Worf of the Dragon Ball universe and constantly gets beat up until someone dressed in an orange gi can show up to save the world.
Dallas Stars: It's early in the season and the Stars are surging and looking dominant in the process. They are scoring like mad, but how could they not with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin continuing to play on the same line. What's surprising is that the team isn't getting lit up as their defense is improved but slapped together. Their goaltending can sometimes feel like a Finnish Jenga Tower
Simply put, Tien is the best human in the entire Dragon Ball series. He's focused, has a compelling backstory, and is likely the most powerful human fighter (who doesn't benefit from deux ex-like power boosts to keep him relevant to the story). Despite consistently finding himself at a disadvantage, Tien never backs down from fights when the Earth is in danger. Tien consistently overachieves despite being at a constant disadvantage compared to the main cast of characters. Not to mention he introduced the Solar Flare to the DBZ universe, a surprisingly enduring technique. Also, his name is a pun on a Japanese crabmeat omelette and that's pretty weird in all the best ways.
Nashville Predators: How could you not read through that description and know that the Predators were going to be rated here? We knew exactly what to expect from the Preds this season, and we've mostly seen it. Dominant play at times, lazy play at times, second periods that demonstrate why the Preds can't quite solidify a spot among Cup contenders, and a whole let of meh down the middle of the ice. Looking forward, we do know that the Preds will work hard to overcome their obvious disadvantages in order to compete with the best of the Central, despite now having the same resources as many of the other teams.
St. Louis Blues: The St. Louis Blues are a crab omelette, and like the Japanese I'd also pretend that someone else invented it. Yet the Blues are chugging along as they should despite injuries to key players like Kevin Shattenkirk and Paul Stastny. They are a grinding team from a grinding city, but they have Vladimir Tarasenko and that's more than most can claim.
Krillin exists. His head looks like a Dragon Ball and no one cares. He's mostly boring, but he's got a big heart, big ambitions, and the Destructo Disc. Despite sounding idiotic, the Destructo Disc might be the best technique in all of Dragon Ball. Krillin is simply a neutral character, that as the best friend of the main protagonist gets pulled through the series and benefits from a lot of random power boosts so that he stays relevant. The single most interesting thing about him is that he marries a robot and has a child with the robot and I'm sure I missed something in between because none of it makes any sense.
Winnipeg Jets: The Jets have had a respectable start to their season and sit comfortably in the middle of the Central pack. Their key players are finding ways to contribute and the goaltending has been surprisingly solid so far. The wheels could come off at any moment, or the wheelings could be replaced with spinning blades. It's really too early to tell.
Minnesota Wild: Besides their place in the standings, I can't think of any team in the NHL more deserving of being compared to Krillin than the Wild. Everyone except for Wild fans really wouldn't care if the Wild just disappeared. It's not that anyone actively hates them, but they also play a style of hockey that enables them to exist. The Predators were guilty of this for years, but that was to keep the team at parity with the league. A team in Minnesota shouldn't have to result to .500-style hockey to keep people interested, but that's what Mike Yeo seems to be all about.
Yamcha is supposed to be the cool Earthling in the Dragon Ball universe. Instead he ends up being the Ken to every other character's Ryu. No matter how the writers and artists try to update the character he always feels quaint and a little dated. Still, he's always in the thick of things and works as hard as anyone else, and sometimes you find yourself thinking... maybe this is the time when the Wolf Fang Fist doesn't feel like a scene cut from the Warriors.
Chicago Blackhawks: Chicago has issues. Their star (and possibly only) defenseman is down for at least four weeks and the team can't quite pull it together. How many times can the team be picked apart to get in under the cap before they price themselves out of Cup contention? It doesn't help that Corey Crawford is still Corey Crawford.
Gohan's best moment was when he turned into a giant ape and wrecked everything. Outside of that Gohan has regularly been a whiny, erratic character who eventually settled on being a dull, goody goody-type to even more of an extreme than his father. The most interesting thing about Gohan is Piccolo, who didn't even make this list because I've got no time for continuously angry vegetable people. It makes sense that Gohan would get paired with Mr. Satan's daughter because why not try to intentionally breed the most annoying thing on the planet.
Colorado Avalanche: The Avs were fun when they had the luck of universe on their side and ran around smashing things and yelling and turning different colors from all the shouting they were doing. The real-world Avalanche are a shame spiral leading to a pit of liquid sorrow. The Avalanche are the Oilers of the Central and it sucks that the rest of the league has to watch some truly great offensive talent be wasted on a poorly managed team.