Sep
09

Metro Division Preview

September 9, 2017, by

Since hockey season is almost upon us (certainly the preseason at least) I figured it wouldn’t be a bad idea to write a quick preview of the Metropolitan Division, to refresh all of the things that went down this summer in our hockey backyard. It can be tough to remember every offseason transaction, so why not compile them all in one place and offer a little bit of analysis? Anyways, here’s your 2017-18 Metropolitan Division.

New York Islanders

This team got undeniably better, on the addition of Jordan Eberle alone. His chemistry with John Tavares is going to cause problems for teams around the Metro, and when you factor in Josh Ho-Sang the Isle’s scoring depth just became a force to be reckoned with almost over night. Still, although they’ve improved substantially up front, they’re the Islanders, with such luminaries as Dennis Seidenberg and Casey Cizikas down the depth chart, which is to say they’re not exactly stacked as you move down the lineup. I’d project them to make some noise as the playoff push begins to come together, but ultimately they’re a bubble team at best.

Washington Capitals

Few teams saw a mass exodus this offseason like the Washington Capitals, who are now depending on an aging core to prop their window open just a season longer. Even so, the loss of Karl Alzner is addition by subtraction, and that aging core is still one of the best in the game. Questionable contracts aside, Washington will, on ice, still be a good team, the question is just how good. They’re certainly not the favorites they were last season, but don’t count them out either.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Ah, the Pittsburgh Penguins. No one wants to say it, but unfortunately they’re still Cup contenders. That said, they’re not quite the favorites they were last year, with the addition of Ryan Reaves, Matt Hunwick, and Jay McClement on a PTO diluting their talent just a little bit. Still, they’ve got they best core group of players in the game, and if they make the right additions at the trade deadline they could be scary come springtime. At the very least, these guys are a lock for the playoffs, and if the Rangers end up against them in the quest for Lord Stanley’s Cup then we may be in trouble.

Carolina Hurricanes

I’m going to be upfront about the Carolina Hurricanes: I like this team. The additions of Josh Jooris, Marcus Kruger, and Trevor Van Riemsdyk shore up their depth, Justin Williams adds a little bit more scoring umph, and Scott Darling solves their goaltending problem almost instantly. That, together with their young puck-moving defensive corps and guys like Jeff Skinner, Teuvo Teravainen, and Sebastian Aho, and this team is going to be good. I’m going to make a bold prediction right now – this team will make the playoffs at the very least and may make it even farther from there.

New Jersey Devils

So here’s the thing about the Devils. Yes, they did snag the first overall pick Nico Hischier, and yes they did land coveted college UFA Will Butcher, but unfortunately, they’re still the Devils. The only real shining light for the Devils this year will be Corey Schneider, and unfortunately the team in front of him isn’t all that formidable. I’m not worried about the Devils and neither should you be. Adding Brian Boyle is fun though I guess?

Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets are an interesting team. I think the addition of Artemi Panarin, while on paper, may seem to move the needle for them a bit it may actually be counterproductive. Brandon Saad does a lot of little things right that makes him hard to play against, and I’m not sure I could say the same about the Bread Man. Their young guns are only going to get better, so be on the lookout for Alex Wennberg and Zach Werenski, but I’m not so sure that CBJ is a lock for a playoff spot. With a team like Carolina now in the mix, Columbus may be the odd man out come spring. That being said, they still won’t be a team you can phone it in against, and will certainly make a push to make the playoffs. They’re not a given playoff team, but they’re not pushovers either.

Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers are an interesting team. With the addition of the second overall pick Nolan Patrick, they now have some solid center depth. Shayne Gostisbehere and Ivan Provorov are only getting better, and if guys like Jakub Voracek and Sean Couturier have good seasons then this team could be good. This is another team I’d be on the lookout to maybe land a playoff spot, along with CBJ and Carolina. Certainly won’t be as easy to play against as they were last year.

So there you have it, your 2017-18 Metropolitan Division. It won’t be easy, but the Rangers should be their regular selves when it comes to locking down a playoff spot, and if they make the right moves at center they may just even be contenders. It won’t be easy though, because even if each team not named the Devils or the Capitals got just a little bit better then this division is going to be a tough one.

Categories : Around the League

9 comments

  1. Eugene says:

    Don’t agree about Canes, they are still average team with the bad coach…..somewhere on 6-7th place….. Devils on 8th, the worst team in Metro…

    • Reenavipul says:

      Peters actually a good coach who had nothing to work with; team still short a center.

      • Eugene says:

        I will disagree, you can see his play team plating and you don’t see happens anything good, most of positive is a result of individual actions, very little team work…. and like Rangers had deep center line last several years…..

  2. Rangers Rock says:

    Good job, I forget what happened throughout the summer. Or I just didn’t pay attention.

  3. Rich S says:

    Rangers success depends on a few things…..
    1. how well our top centers/players perform….zib, hayes and miller……
    2. how worn out much the penguins are from playing 4 rounds of hockey the past couple of years
    3. if AV is still coaching us in the playoffs
    4. If Hank can turn the clock back 5 years

    • Mancunian Candidate says:

      Your #2 is spot on, hope the Pens are worn out after all the playoff hockey of the last 2 seasons. It’s weird though, they’ve had so many injuries that guys like Letang mightve avoided that type of burnout. Curious to see how Murray handles 60 regular season games for them too–will he still be sharp come playoff time?

  4. Mancunian Candidate says:

    Pens, Caps, Jackets are gonna be the real rivals this year. Philly could be a dark horse middle of the pack team if Giroux returns to form and they don’t waste Patrick’s rookie season. Devils are gonna be bad this year, that injury to Zajac really hurts that team down the middle. Isles are going to collapse this year and have to trade Tavares, that’s my out on a limb prediction for this season.

  5. Richter1994 says:

    Isles – Defense? D men and goalie?

    Caps – Regular season darlings not so much in the playoffs. Could they miss the playoffs? Maybe.

    Pens – Still the team to beat.

    Canes – Better team than last year (their young D corps is very under rated) but still don’t have enough scoring to overcome the probably questionable goaltending.

    Devs – Not this year.

    CBJs – Will be a very tough team to beat especially if Bob plays to his potential.

    Flyers – Again, not this year.

  6. Al Dugan says:

    If the Canes are in, someone needs to be out.

    Senators, perhaps. Bruins don’t make it. There are only 2 added slots after the 3 given ones. If you think the Canes are going to be first or second wild card, then somebody from the other division is not going to make it.

    CBJ makes it, WAS, PIT, NYR, TBL, MTL, TOR, ….so the last team is one of 5?

    Crap shoot.