Many teams playing in the Metropolitan Division have been doing well building their teams since last season. In addition, the first two draft picks were from teams in this division, which may reflect a great season for its teams and, consequently, unpredictability for the division title and classification for the playoffs. Now let’s look at each team and what we can expect for the season:
Carolina Hurricanes: Cam Ward, Jeff Skinner, Jordan Staal, Teuvo Teravainen and Trevor van Riemsdyk will also have the experienced Justin Williams, former Capitals and three times Stanley Cup champion; one with the Canes and two with the Los Angeles Kings. And they have a new goalie, Scott Darling, acquired from Chicago. They were in the seventh penultimate position in the Metro and 21st overall in the league. And they were eight points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs who took the Wild Card spot.
Columbus Blue Jackets: The team was one of the big highlights in the last regular season, ranking third in the division and fourth overall. The team from Ohio which already has Sergei Bobrovsky, Nick Foligno, Cam Atkinson and Brandon Bubisnky will also feature Artemi Panarim, who came from the Chicago Blackhawks.
New Jersey Devils: Taking the last place in the division / conference and 27th overall in the league, the franchise has won the draft lottery and now has rookie Nico Hischier, who will play alongside players like goaltender Corey Schneider, Tylor Hall, Adam Henry, Brian Boyle and former Caps Marcus Johansson. The Devils finished the last season with 70 points and can use the boost Johansson could bring.
New York Islanders: The team led by John Tavares, Jaroslav Halak, Johnny Boychuck and former Caps Jason Chimera almost qualified for the playoffs, with 94 points, just one point behind Maple Leafs, which has been qualified with the second and last Wild Card spot. One key change is a new goalie coach, ChrisTerreri, who coached the likes of Devils legend, Martin Brodeur.
New York Rangers: Henrik Lundqvist, Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider, Rick Nash, Mika Zibanejad, Kevin Hayes, Brendan Smith are names that don’t need introductions. The team reached the semi-final of the Eastern Conference, being eliminated by the Ottawa Senators in six games. The team has lost Derek Stepan, Antti Raanta and Dan Girardi during the offseason, but signed defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk (who played with Capitals during playoffs).
Philadelphia Flyers: The team that finished the regular season with 88 points, fighting in the final rounds for the hope of a place in the playoffs, has got the second draft pick. Rookie Nolan Patrick will certainly contribute the team alongside names like Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Shayne Gotisbehere and Valtteri Filppula.
Pittsburgh Penguins: The Caps greatest rival has won two consecutive Stanley Cups (2016 and 2017), both defeating the Caps in the conference semi-final. Also in both times, the Penguins maintained names like Sidney Crosby, Evgeny Malkin, Phil Kessel, Kris Letang among others. The team lost goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to the Vegas Golden Knights, but Matt Murray is ready and able to replace Flower. As the Penguins maintain a good base for the two-time consecutive team, they will certainly be a strong team to face in an already talented Metro Division.
Washington Capitals: The Caps have won two consecutive Presidents’ Trophies, but both times they were eliminated by their greatest rival, the Penguins. The team led by Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie, Braden Holtby, John Carlson, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Andre Burakovsky can count on a more effective participation with younger players like Jakub Vrana. Vrana has been standing out and could gain a permanent spot on the team this season. At least many Caps fans are hoping he will. However, the team lost names like Justin Williams, Karl Alzner, Marcus Johansson and Kevin Shattenkirk, but the remaining roster and the new additions will be able to keep the Capitals in contender status.
Featured image by sportspresscom