NHL training camps and preseason are well underway and the league is heading back to the old divisional format prior to the 56-game shortened season. That means the Metro Division is back together similar to the old Patrick Division of the 1980s and 90s. And it is a division that has seen a lot of change this past off-season. Some teams have gotten better. While other teams have taken a step back. One thing is for sure this will be a fun division to watch unfold. Not only that but the 2021-22 Metro Division is the toughest division in the NHL.
NHL Insights: 2021-22 Metro Division
The Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders were pegged at top contenders in the Metro Division before the season. The Hurricanes sit atop the division with a record 10-1 as everyone figured they would. They are doing it with a retooled defence that is minus Dougie Hamilton, but Rod Brind’Amour is such a brilliant coach he has everyone buying into the system. It does not matter who he has in the lineup, he just wants them to play consistent hockey. New additions Frederik Andersen, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, and Tony DeAngelo have fit into the lineup very nicely. Do not expect the Hurricanes to slow down the rest of this season.
The Islanders are off to a slow start this season. It is never ideal to start the season on a 13-game road trip. But the Islanders are playing well despite starting on the road. If they can finish above .500 before their first game in UBS Arena, the Islanders will be just fine. They are trying to fit new players like Zdeno Chara and Zach Parise into their lineup. Parise is fitting in on the third line pretty well. Chara has had his ups and downs this year. More downs than ups. But the Islanders have an uphill climb ahead with the division so tough.
With the Columbus Blue Jackets playing better than expected and the Philadelphia Flyers in the mix as well. Not to mention how well the New Jersey Devils have improved with the acquisitions they made in the off-season. New Jersey just needs to stay healthy and once they are lookout. The 2021-22 Metro Division may only have one lock to make the playoffs.
Less we forget about the New York Rangers who made a lot of changes in the off-season and they are paying off early. Many had the Rangers taking the next step this season and to start the season they are. New York just missed out on the playoffs last season, but they are making it a mission to be there this season.
Ep 12: Biting, Montreal, COVID, and Penguins Sale Updateby Full Press Coverage on December 1, 2021 at 5:52 pm
Mike, Jim, and Chris […]
Two stalwarts of the division in the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins are struggling this season. Washington is still near the top of the standings despite their injuries. Alex Ovechkin continues to break records. However, the Penguins are clearly missing Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Not to mention their goaltending is not the strongest.
If there was a year the Penguins or Capitals are going to miss the playoffs this be the season as both teams are on the backend of their windows to win. But you have to give credit to the other teams in the division getting better and making sure there are no gimmie wins anymore.
The 2021-22 Metro Division is so tough as there are no nights off. Nothing is given because the weaker teams are improved and the stalwarts are coming back to the pack. Definitely a division to keep an eye on going forward.