Predicting this division is going to be wicked hard. Last years bottom two teams the Devils and Rangers both improved significantly. The Flyers are a year older and wiser. The Capitals and Penguins are the Capitals and Penguins…but the team that’s going to come out on top of this division is SEBASTIAN AHO AND THE HURRICANES!!!
Just kidding they are the Flordia of last year, a really good team with question marks in net. Goaltending really is the story of this division. Any one of these teams could come out on top if given consistent goaltending. So away we go.
8. Blue Jackets
Ovechkin, Backstrom, Kuznetsov, Carlsson, Holtby, and company are only a year removed from bringing the cup to Washington. They are really good at hockey and will win this division yet again.
And now things get weird… The Flyers signed a few questionable contracts this season ones that are going to require they compete right now… with a 20-year-old goalie leading the way.
Carter Hart is a young talented goalie that plays with confidence beyond his years. It won’t always be smooth, but if Brian Elliot can hold the fort for small stretches Phillidelphia has the firepower to surprise a lot of teams.
The Jerks 2.0 would be my pick to win the division if the crease was more stable. Mrazek and Reimer will both give you some great games, and some terrible ones, but the former will have every opportunity to put together the best season of his career playing behind perennially underrated defensemen Jacob Slavin and Brett Pesce. They added a couple solid depth pieces upfront in Ryan Dzingel and Erik Haula… Its Petr Mrazek’s time to shine.
This is going to be the most fun New Jersey team to watch in a long, long time. Jack Hughes is a stud, he will be fun to watch. Taylor Hall is fun to watch, PK Subban is fun to watch, Nico Hischier in his 3rd full season will be, you guessed it, fun to watch. Nikita Gusev torched the KHL. Anyone that can light up the K is going to be fun to watch.
Like the rest of these squads, it’s going to come down to the man with the pads on. Corey or Mackenzie? One of these guys with a woman’s name needs to step up big time.
Regardless it’s going to fun to watch.
Also, what will Wayne Simmonds do? He’s another guy that could come out swinging in his prove-it year and be really, really fun to watch.
They have Crosby and Malkin so they could end up first in the league and win another Stanley cereal bowl. However, I predict the Penguins miss the playoffs for the first time since 2006.
I’m having a hard time making an argument as to why I think this will happen other than trying to have a different/bold prediction. They traded Phill Kessel though and that’s gotta come back to bite you in the bottom? I only believe in the playoff version of Matt Murry? Nah he’s probably the most reliable goalie in the division bar Holtby, he had inconsistencies last season but the poor guy was dealing with some family issues. The playoffs weren’t on him the Penguins couldn’t get the puck over Barry Trotz’s big swinging blue line blocker.
Do I really think the Penguins will finish behind the Flyers, Hurricanes, and Devils? Hell no… but on the offchance everything falls apart this year, HA! I told you.
The Rangers improved a ton this offseason as well, but not nearly as much as people are giving them credit for. Kakko will be a monster that everybody loves especially Winnipeg because he’ll be everything you wish Laine could be. Aside from that the team really has no reason to believe it will make that much noise in the division. Currently, Ryan Strome is projected as their second-line center, and sure you have a promising young D-core but you’ve set the bar pretty low for Brady Skjei, and Anthony Deangelo by overpaying Trouba.
Enjoy your Kakko and Panarin, your season will be fine.
Trotz wanted a challenge so management decided to give up their Vezina candidate for a guy who passed his prime around the same time he was charged with assault. Why bring in the inconsistent Varlamov? The New York rendition of Miricle on Ice will end after 1 season. Night night Jim Kite, so long, see ya later.
8 Blue Jackets
I give full credit to the Jackets for going all in. Sometimes you’ve gotta push all your chips into the middle. They could have done it. They took down the best team in the league and put up a good 6 game fight against a strong Boston team. Unfortunately for Columbus, they lost the bet and now face the difficult, but not impossible challenge of building around their younger core of Dubois, Jones and Werenski.
If you are a Blue Jackets fan just think about how much worse it could have been if you listened to everyone that told you to pick Puljujarvi.