This is part 2 of my 2017/2018 season predictions. If you did not see part one you can find it here. Now onto the Metro division! Once again I will be using tiers to try and break down and give a sense of where I expect all these teams to be. Those tiers will are, Out of Playoffs, Hunt for Wild Card spot, hunt for division lead. Please leave a comment or reach me on twitter (@NHLSensandstuff) and let me know what you think and where you have everyone ranked. Also, get ready for some possible hot takes.
Out of Playoffs
8. New Jersey Devils
I think this should be pretty much everyone's #8 spot in the metro. They got better this off season but in such a tough division they are nowhere close to good enough. Adding Marcus Johansson for almost nothing and that first overall pick is always a nice little addition. Unfortunately there was no franchise altering player to go first overall this year. Nico will still be a great player I am sure, but not enough to stop the New Jersey Tank. At least Hall has someone to play with now. New Jersey will probably be the only true team out of it from the beginning in this division, but they should be looking to pick either 1 or 2 this year anyways, with 2 elite looking players available in the draft.
Wild Card Spot
7. New York Islanders
6. Columbus Blue Jackets
5. Philadelphia Flyers
4. Carolina Hurricanes
3. New York Rangers
I think all five of these teams will be very close, much like the Atlantic I see it being an absolute dogfight for the #3 division spot and those last 2 wild card spots. As for the Islanders, I still don’t know what this teams up to, stealing Eberle from the Oilers was great, but then they ditched Travis Hamonic for picks? That made very little sense, Jonny T is amazing and is always a legit threat and they have a fine team. I just think they will be the farthest out of a spot in this tier, can’t sleep on them though. As for Columbus, this may be my hottest take yet. I think regression is going to hit Columbus like a BUS. Bobrovsky won the Jack Adams award (for Torts) by posting a .931 save percentage. That is going to come down, most likely to mid 20’s, which is still very good but it’s going to lose CBJ some games. Bob stole about 10 games last year by himself, by saving 52 goals above expected. Good luck repeating that. Their PP also won’t run at like 30% for a full month like it did last year and they lost some key depth like Sam Gagne. They should still be alright, but much worse than last year. Philly was gifted the 2nd overall pick and still probably got the best player in the draft (sorry Nico). Patrick will most likely play sheltered minutes and add a lot of depth skill to the bottom 6 this year. Losing Schenn may hurt a little but this team still has a good offense, fine defense and very average goaltending. No massive glaring weaknesses which should allow them to be competitive and compete for a spot. Carolina, maybe my second hottest take on here? Carolina has had an amazing offseason thus far, adding Scott Darling which *should* upgrade their goaltending significantly. He is not proven but looks promising. They helped their offense by bringing in depth in Markus Krueger, along with a legit top 6 and hometown hero Justin Williams, who has already won a cup with them. Also acquiring Trevor Van Riemsdyk for cheap from Las Vegas helps the bottom pair. Locking up Jacob Slavin at only 5 mil is a massive win as well. This team has improved their offense and goaltending (significantly) and is one of my favourites to jump up quite a few spots and take a wild card spot. I have the Rangers in this tier because I still am unsure of how I feel about their offseason. They got the best free agent available in Shattenkirk and at a very good price, which is a massive upgrade on Dan Girardi. Although they did not get near enough back fro Stephan AND Ranta, and they now have a lack of depth at centre, and also better be praying that Lundqvist’s older body can play 55-60 real good games. They still have a decent offense and some good defense, along with Hank playing well they should still be the #3 team in this division. I have them in this tier because I can easily see them slipping into a wildcard spot or worse like last year.
Competing for Division
2. Washington Capitals
1. Pittsburgh Penguins
Let's be honest, it really is a coin flip which of these two teams will win the division. I think both of them got significantly worse in terms of depth this year. Pittsburgh losing Fleury, Bonino etc. And adding Ryan Reaves?? What on earth. Washington lost Alzner, who may be over rated but is still good. As well as Nate Schmidt who was very under rated and probably better than Orlov and Johansson. However, both these teams still have absolute studs on their team to carry them. Pens can rely on Malkin, Crosby, Letang, Murray and Phil. While Caps have Ovi, Backstrom, Kuznetsov, Holtby, Carlson. Both these teams are still legit studs and both should/could be cup favourites, at least contenders. I have Pittsburgh ahead of Caps just because, why not? It honestly could go either way though. But these are the two teams I fully expect to be competing for the division lead.
I think the Metro is going to be much like the Atlantic, very close and very exciting. Making the East a war zone for those last few playoff spots. It is going to be a fun season to watch. Let me know what you think and where you have all the teams. Hope you enjoyed, and next I will be starting on the West!
My name is Alex, this is my page, all thoughts are mine and feel free to comment on what you think! Enjoy!