The NHL season is almost here, and the Metropolitan Division will be one of the more intriguing divisions in the league this season.
In the 2021-2022 season, the Metro was led by the Carolina Hurricanes. The Canes posted a 54-20-8 record (116 points) to claim the division by six points over the 52-24-6 New York Rangers (110 points).
To the surprise of very few, the Pittsburgh Penguins returned to the postseason once again, compiling a 46-25-11 record (103 points). Following closely behind and also making the playoffs were the Washington Capitals at 44-26-12 (100 points).
Which Metropolitan Division teams are in line to make the playoffs?
From there, the Metro saw a steep drop-off to the New York Islanders who missed the playoffs for the first time in several seasons with a 37-35-10 performance (84 points). The Columbus Blue Jackets were three points behind at 37-38-7.
Bring up the rear last season were the New Jersey Devils (27-46-9, 63 points) and Philadelphia Flyers (25-46-11, 61 points).
Fast forward to this season, and most clubs in the Metropolitan Division have made some major changes.
The Flyers and Islanders will both enter the upcoming campaign with new coaches, while the Devils and Capitals will proceed with changes of their own at another important position: goaltender.
As for skaters, there is plenty of new talent making its Metropolitan debut. Brent Burns and Max Pacioretty will be suiting up for the Hurricanes this season, Vincent Trocheck will be with the Rangers, Jeff Petry is in Pittsburgh, and Johnny Gaudreau is a Blue Jacket.
Of course, that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what these teams hope will be upgrades.
When looking at this division, I see a clear number one, an obvious bottom three, and four teams that will contend for the two remaining automatic bids to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, as well as the two Eastern Conference wild card spots.
With that, here is the 2022-2023 Metropolitan Division preview.