The Cannon Writer Predictions: Metro Division
The fellas & I got together to offer up our standings predictions. We kick things off with the Metro Division.
Starting with the Metro Division, we'll reveal our picks each day until Thursday, wrapping things up Frday with our playoff and Cup predictions.
The Metro Division is Pittsburgh's to lose. Any team with the level of talent the Penguins possess is sure to be the favorite, but they are a team in transition. Gone is Dan Bylsma, replaced by Mike Johnston. It's easy to give Marc-Andre Fleury a hard time, but you can't underestimate the Pens.
Though the Rangers made it to the Cup final last season, their aging roster and lack of major upgrades in the offseason give reason to lose faith in their ability to repeat, or improve on their 2014 finish. Dan Boyle is an interesting addition on the blueline, but adding the likes of Tanner Glass, Matthew Lombardi and Lee Stempniak while Brad Richards, Benoit Pouliot and Anton Stralman departed cannot be considered improvement.
The Islanders are intriguiing. They added the duo of Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin, giving them a new-look second line. If this is the year John Tavares joins the upper echelon of elite players, and they can get at least serviceable goaltending from Jaroslav Halak, the Isles could surprise.
The Devils keep refusing to rebuild according to the traditional formula of trading veterans for futures, then taking your lumps while the young players develop into regulars. This offseason they added Mike Cammalleri and Martin Havlat, adding to an already old core. The Devils are far and away the oldest team in the league, and if they manage to avoid the injury bug they will be a threat for a playoff spot, but that's a big "if". They did lock up their goaltending situation howeer, cutting loose Martin Brodeur and giving Cory Schneider his long-awaited deal to be the clear-cut number one.
The Capitals are a bit of a mystery. Yes, they have Alexander Ovechkin, but they have serious questions in net, and it remains to be seen if the roster as currently assembled will mesh with the tactics and systems of incoming coach Barry Trotz. Evgeny Kuznetsov has star potential.
Games between the Jackets and Flyers are going to be interesting this season, given the recent trade history between the two teams. Scott Hartnell and R.J. Umberger are both going to be looking to show up their former teams, while Columbus fans still love to hate Steve Mason. The Flyers made only minor moves outside of adding Umberger, but they'll remain competitive in the Metro.
It's hard to see the Hurricanes anywhere but last in the division, but despite their talented forwards, the 'Canes just can't seem to get the mixture right. Cam Ward is an expensive backup with Anton Khudobin seeming like the starter. Maybe give the Jets a call about Evander Kane, with Ward++ going to Winnipeg?
Without further ado, here are the picks for the Metro division. Give us your picks in the comments!