NHL Previews

2018 NHL Metropolitan Division Preview

Is Metro the Battle of Pennsylvania?

Our 2018 NHL Metropolitan Division Preview hub page offers quick information about each team as well as the projected standings. Links to each club’s full 2018-2019 preview providing complete analysis of each Metropolitan Division team are included as well. Use this page as a quick reference to get a solid sense of each team. Our team pages offer full, in-depth reviews of every aspect of each team. Use these previews through the season as handy reference guides.

2017-2018 Metropolitan Division Season

The 2017-2018 season saw a tight playoff race in the Metropolitan Division. The top team in the Metro, and the eventual Stanley Cup Champion, was the Washington Capitals (49-26-7, 105 points). The Pittsburgh Penguins (47-29-6, 100 points) were the only other team in the division to finish with at least 100 points. The Philadelphia Flyers (42-26-14, 98 points), Columbus Blue Jackets (45-30-7, 97 points), and New Jersey Devils (44-29-9, 97 points) all grabbed playoff spots as well. The Carolina Hurricanes (36-35-11, 83 points), New York Islanders(35-37-10, 80 points), and New York Rangers (34-39-9, 77 points) all missed the postseason..

2018 NHL Metropolitan Division Preview: Teams

This section of our 2018 NHL Metropolitan Division preview will provide general positives and negatives of each Metropolitan Division team as they head into the upcoming season. Make sure to look at the most up to date matchup information before placing any NHL bets.

Carolina Hurricanes

  • Trading away Jeff Skinner to Buffalo hurts the club’s scoring depth
  • Sebastian Aho had a team leading 29 goals and 65 points last season and has a good chance to be a 30+ goal scorer
  • The ‘Canes’ biggest strength is the depth of their blueline
  • Trading away Noah Hanifin for Dougie Hamilton helps the club in the short term
  • Scott Darling and Petr Mrazek both had shakey 2017-2018 seasons leaving Carolina’s goaltending to be a big question
  • Carolina is likely to be a middle of the road team this season

Columbus Blue Jackets

  • The top defensive pairing of Seth Jones and Zach Werenski is among the best in the NHL
  • The team’s overall depth on the blueline is strong
  • Two time Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky is arguably the best goaltending in the world and will five the Jackets a chance to win every night
  • Pierre-Luc Dubois had a very solid rookie season finishing with 48 points and is developing into a legitimate first line center
  • Leading scorer Artemi Panarin looks to want out of Columbus but will be counted on to drive the clubs’ offense this year
  • Columbus should have no problem keeping the puck out of their net and will contend for a playoff spot

New Jersey Devils

  • Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall is a dynamic forward with the ability to single handedly carry the Devils offense
  • Behind Hall, New Jersey has very little secondary scoring
  • Nico Hischier had a solid rookie season and could step up on the offensive side of the puck this year
  • Will Butcher and Sami Vatanen five New Jersey a pretty good D-corps to build around
  • Cory Schneider had a down year last season, but has the talent to bounce back in 2018-2019
  • While the Devils are not a bad hockey team, they lack scoring depth which may hurt their playoff chances

New York Islanders

  • The loss of John Tavares really hurts the Islanders, his departure greatly hurts the club
  • Matt Barzal won the Calder Trophy last season and is a suitable top line center
  • Anders Lee and Jordan Eberle provide reliable scoring on the wings
    The blueline looks very similar last year’s which allowed to most goals in the NHL
  • Robin Lehner has the potential to be an improvement in net
  • The loss of Tavares, and lack of improvement on the blueline does not make the 2018-2019 Islanders season look very promising

New York Rangers

  • The Rangers lack star power at the forward position
  • Mats Zuccarello, Mika Zibanejad, and Kevin Hayes will be counted on to carry the offense
  • Kevin Shattenkirk returns from injury which should help on the backend
  • Brady Skjei continue to develop and looks ready to have a solid season
  • Henrik Lundqvist is still a serviceable netminder but is well past his prime
  • Overall the lack of scoring in the Rangers lineup will make it tough for them to grab a playoff spot in April

Philadelphia Flyers

  • The Flyers’ addition of James van Riemsdyk improves a top-six forward group that already included Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, and Jakub Voracek
  • Shayne Gostisbehere has blossomed into a top offensive defenseman in the NHL and should be able to drive scoring from the blueline
  • Ivan Provorov looks primed for a breakout season
  • Philly’s biggest question mark is in net where Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth will need to be stronger
  • Philadelphia has the potential to have a very potent offense and a solid backend in 2018-2019. The Flyers should be in postseason contention.

Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin makeup potentially the best top two centers in the NHL
  • Jake Guentzel and Phil Kessel round out an offense that finished 3rd in scoring last year
  • Kris Letang is a star on the blueline and has a strong supporting cast around him
  • Matt Murray had a down 2017-2018 season but has a good chance to bounce back this year
  • It is very hard to count out a Penguins team led by two of the top three players in the world, they should have another very good year

Washington Capitals

  • Washington will look to avoid the dreaded Cup hangover and may start the season a little slow like other clubs in the recent past
  • The Cup winners will have no problem scoring with Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Niklas Backstrom in their lineup.
  • John Carlson looks to have developed into an elite defender and can eat big minutes for the club
  • Braden Holtby had a weak regular season but picked up his play in the playoffs and should be solid in the Caps’ cage
  • Washington should have a solid season and get into the playoffs with a chance to repeat as Cup champions.

Projected Standings

  1. Pittsburgh Penguins-105 points
  2. Philadelphia Flyers-102 points
  3. Columbus Blue Jackets-101 points
  4. Washington Capitals-99 points (1st Eastern Conference wild card)
  5. Carolina Hurricanes-88 points
  6. New Jersey Devils-87 points
  7. NY Rangers-75 points
  8. New York Islanders-74 points

Final Thoughts: 2018 NHL Metropolitan Division Preview

Our 2018 NHL Metropolitan Division preview finds that the division looks very similar to last season. The Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, Washington Capitals, and Columbus Blue Jackets all look to be playoff caliber teams. The New York Rangers are hitting the rebuild button, while the New York Islanders will likely have trouble filling the void left by franchise centerman, John Tavares’ departure.

For the Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils to vie for playoff spots they will need to figure out their scoring depth and will likely be out of the postseason if this area of their games are not solidified this year. Make sure to check with Betting Brain for NHL news, free picks, and to receive any information useful to NHL bettors.

Other Links

Eastern Conference Main Page
Western Conference Main Page
NHL Main Page

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pmroczka

Paul has been writing about sports betting and sports for more than a decade, offering picks on the NFL, MLB, NHL, and NBA, as well as on college sports and European football. He's written thousands of season and post-season previews, innumerable articles on sports betting strategies, and various books on sports and sports betting.

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