metrodivision

Checking Up On Predictions: NHL Metropolitan Division

As we reach the unofficial midway point of the NHL season with the All Star Weekend in Columbus, its as good a time as any to go back in time and check back in on my pre-season predictions.

I said I was going to be 100% right at the time and as time has told, I sure wasn’t. However, I wasn’t totally out to lunch either. Goes to show that I’m just about as good at this kind of thing as all the fancy people making big money in the mainstream media.

Actually, I’m a bit better because I’m willing to admit I’m wrong instead of throwing a temper tantrum and blocking 100 people on Twitter.

By: Adam Pyde - @Adam_Pyde

So first lets take a look at how I had the Metropolitan shaking out, where the team actually is, what I thought about them in the pre-season, and what I think of that team now.

Carolina Hurricanes
hurricanes
Pre-season ranking: 8
Current ranking: 8 (31 points)

What I said then:

There is some cautious optimism for the ‘Canes. Progress of youth and new coach/GM points will help. More Khudobin and less Ward will also help. But a largely unchanged roster, key injuries already and a lot of teams to jump past will make things difficult.

What I say now:

They’re bad. Worse than last year. Cam Ward has been better than expected but with all the injuries that hasn’t made much of a difference. They’ll probably climb themselves out of Oiler level bad and up to Flyer level bad.

They have players coming back from injury like Jordan Staal and Jeff Skinner should be back soon. But the defence is still basically 3 players and you just can’t get anywhere without at least 5 steady defenders.

This team still has the pieces around the edges, but is missing the big ones. Kind of like Minnesota pre-Suter/Parise, but I don’t see a Ryan Suter on their horizon. Maybe Eichel or McDavid can be that elite level player.

Philadelphia Flyers
flyers

Pre-season ranking: 7
Current ranking: 6 (41 points)

What I said then:

They only squeaked into the playoffs last year, and that defensive group doesn’t inspire hope. With the improvement around them in their division I feel they’ll lose just enough ground to be on the outside looking in.

What I say now:

I love being right. That defence is miserable. Depending who is healthy on which night, the Flyers have $25 million  locked up on defence. That’s not bad. Then you see the personnel that make that up.

Mark Streit Braydon Coburn
Andrew MacDonald Nicklas Grossmann
Shayne Gostisbehere Luke Schenn
Michael Del Zotto Nick Schultz

Move some parts around, but that’s their top 8. You should be able to pay like 15-16 million to get that. And Andrew MacDonald plays his defence like this…

[Video at Talking Baws]

Could you imagine how bad this team would be if they were without Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds?

Columbus Blue Jackets
columbus_blue_jackets_stanley_cup_playoffs_040914

Pre-season ranking: 6
Current ranking: 5 (39 points, no wildcard)

What I said then:

This is more reliant on Johansen. While he did have a career year and is likely to regress once he plays again, he’s still likely a capable top-six center at worst. That’s not easy to replace and really leaves Columbus a step behind without him. If he comes back soonish they’ll be fine. If this drags, this season could be in trouble.

What I say now:

Well Johansen hasn’t taken a step back and the team is getting a career year out of Nick Foligno, but injuries have just decimated this team. At one point they were missing 9 players that would be regulars for them.

Nathan Horton may never come back. Ryan Murray can’t stay healthy enough to validate being the #2 selection in the draft a few years ago. Boone Jenner, Artem Anisimov and Jack Skille are missing. Sergei Bobrovsky, Scott Hartnell, Matt Calvert, Fedor Tyutin, Brandon Dubinsky and Mark Letestu are other key players that have missed at least 5 games due to injury. Many of them missed 10+ games.

Only three players have played all 40 games this season!

It’s really hard to evaluate if the team is really any good or bad. They’re a little too far back in the standings to make the playoffs no matter how healthy they get. Another “maybe next season” in Columbus, but at least they get the All Star Game this year.

New York Rangers
new-york-rangers1

Pre-season ranking: 5 (wildcard)
Current ranking: 4 (52 points)

What I said then:

They won’t make a repeat run to the Finals, but they’re still a pretty good team. Stepan’s injury complicates things but you can’t count out a team with Lundqvist in net. The powerplay can be improved and they still boast depth on paper.

What I say now:

They’ve stayed healthy and I’m suprised at how well their forward corps has done this season. Much better than I had anticipated and Rick Nash looks like the kind of guy worth his contract with 26 goals and 41 points on the season.

Henrik Lundqvist is doing his thing in net. Which means he’s being absurdly good.

The biggest cause for concern on the roster is on defence. They haven’t really got anyone driving things on the powerplay on the back-end. Ryan McDonagh isn’t quite living up to the “greatest defenceman in the NHL” hype he picked up last year and Dan Boyle has been a disappointment with only 9 points on the season.

I don’t think they’ll find themselves on the playoff bubble but I still don’t like their chances for a deep playoff run.

Read the full article at Talking Baws