Carolina Hurricanes: A+
Everything is clicking for the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2021-2022 season. The Canes are the best defensive team in the NHL, leading the league in both goals against per game and penalty kill percentage.
Offensively, Carolina is one of the highest-scoring teams in the NHL, scoring over three and a half goals per game, while the power play, which ranks fifth, converts 25.8% of the time. Forward Sebastian Aho has led the charge offensively for the Hurricanes.
The fact that this team has so many solid team marks shows how well-assembled this roster is. Individually, the Canes may not be as flashy as some other teams, but comprehensively, they’ve been one of the best in the NHL through the first half of the season.
Columbus Blue Jackets: C+
I thought Columbus would easily be the worst team in the Metro, but the Blue Jackets have amassed a respectable .476 point percentage. While that doesn’t scream playoffs, it’s a good showing for the Jackets.
In reality, though, this team has long odds to reach the playoffs, as it is 23rd in the NHL standings. Entering Friday’s action, Columbus is 16 points behind its closest division rival and nine points out of a playoff spot (even with an extra game played).
Columbus earns a C+ for exceeding expectations, yet still being well out of a playoff spot.
New Jersey Devils: D
I was optimistic that the New Jersey Devils would find success and make the playoffs this season. Unfortunately, key offseason acquisitions have not yet been able to rescue New Jersey.
Defense is where I thought this team would make strides and improve, but it is one of the worst in the league. The Devils have a .417 point percentage and own a -28 goal differential, and both of those marks are among the worst in the NHL.
The Devils have already drafted young players to lead the team, and in the most recent offseason, the franchise was able to bring in some established veteran players. That, however, has not gotten the job done, and New Jersey has another disappointing season on its hands.