NHL Metropolitan Division Preview 2022-23

by Scott Rickenbach

Metropolitan Division 2022-23 Point Total Predictions

Carolina Hurricanes – 116 points last year. Predicting them to land around the 100 mark this season. This team is so strong on the blue line. They can D up! But the Hurricanes have some question marks this season as they lost quite a bit of scoring with guys that departed. I know they added Brent Burns and Max Pacioretty but the latter is out at least 4 months most likely recovering from surgery. Also, Paul Stastny is a big add but again Niederrieter, Trocheck and DeAngelo all are with other teams now. Hurricanes still we be one of the strongest clubs in the league but how the new pieces mix in will be a key. 

Columbus Blue Jackets – 81 points last year. Predicting a range of mid to upper 80s this season. What a top line they have now since Johnny Gaudreau landed here and Patrick Laine decided to remain with Columbus. The Blue Jackets, however, have quite a ways to go as they defense is not what it was a few seasons ago and is very young. Also, will they have enough scoring depth behind that top line?

New Jersey Devils – 63 points last year. Predicting a range of mid to upper 80s this season. This team should be much improved because I liked what I saw from this team as the season went on. The late season Devils were much better than the early season Devils and they’ll carry momentum here and be an improved team this season. The added some solid pieces heading into the new season and now can take the next step after a sluggish start last season doomed them. This team can contend for a playoff spot. They have a solid young core and then added guys like Ondrej Palat and Erik Haula among others! This team going to be tough to play against. 

New York Islanders – 84 points last year. Predicting a range of upper 80s to low 90s this season. Not too sure about this team. Barry Trotz was fired and yet the Islanders were so much better after the rough start to the season when they opened up with a 13-game road trip and then got hammered by a covid outbreak. Lane Lambert now an NHL coach for the first time. The talent is there for this team to still be a title contender and I know a lot of systems will stay the same since Lambert was an assistant under Trotz but this is his first time as head coach. Roster is much the same and the Isles will contend for a playoff spot but I don’t think it will be easy for this team that is still a bit offensively challenged. 

New York Rangers – 110 points last year. Predicting them to land around the 100 mark this season. Igor Shesterkin in goal is a key for these Rangers. He is phenomenal. They also have a core group of young talent and have built this team really well. To get to next level though those young guys are going to have to have their best seasons yet. Very strong team but lost some solid guys from last season’s team that made the post-season run. Really like the additions of Trocheck and Halak as well.  

Philadelphia Flyers – 61 points last year. Predicting a range of mid to upper 70s this season. Definitely like the hiring of fiery head coach John Tortorella because if any team needed a real kick in the pants from the bench boss it was this Philly bunch. Torts will demand this most from this club and we will see improvement as a result. A big key was that Sean Couterier will not need surgery after all and he is such a strong player and will be huge for the top line when he is back out there again in a few weeks most likely. However, it is likely “do or die” time for GM Chuck Fletcher and the Flyers have a decent amount of talent but question marks on defense and that exposes their goaltending too much. Carter Hart needs a more dominant, consistent season between the pipes as well. 

Pittsburgh Penguins – 103 points last year. Predicting a range of mid to upper 90s this season. The core group is still there for the Penguins to try to make one more push. Malkin, Crosby, Rust, Letang all long-time Penguins trying to help make a run at it. The additions of defensemen Ty Smith and Jeff Petry should pay dividends too. If Tristan Jarry is strong enough in goal the Pens should make playoffs and could even make a run but the competition seems to be getting in tougher in this division and of course the other Eastern Division is stacked with Bruins and Lightning and Maple Leafs and Panthers. So the Penguins are one of those 8 battling to get in but the Metropolitan is getting better while Pittsburgh staying a bit stagnant. 

Washington Capitals – 100 points last year. Predicting a range of low to mid 90s this season. Yes the Capitals still have the Amazing 8 in Alexander Ovechkin. Additionally what a huge move to get goalie Darcy Kuemper after he won the cup with the Avalanche. Some of the other Capitals additions are solid too and this Washington team is going to, like Pittsburgh, be in the mix for one of those playoff spots. However, like some other teams, the Caps are dealing with a couple of injury issues entering the season and guys like Tom Wilson and Nicklas Backstrom being out for awhile to start the season is absolutely not ideal of course. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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