In contrast to the Atlantic division, the Metropolitan is deep and dangerous, which makes betting on a winner a lot less predictable but gives us an opportunity to win big!
This time around, let’s start at the top of the division and work our way down into the pack.
The Vegas Favorites
Washington Capitals (+125) – The Caps aren’t the Vegas favorite but they just won the Cup so I’m going to talk about them first. The Capitals are obviously really fucking good. They are returning almost the exact same roster as last year’s Cup winners/party animals. Seriously, how much fun was it watching those guys celebrate. In a world in which super teams are being created to dominate sports, to watch Ovi work his entire career to reach this moment was truly incredible; his post-cup ride was a full 13 years in the making.
The Capitals have won three straight Metropolitan division titles but have seen their season point total drop in each of the last three years, so the question has to be asked, how long can this run last in such a talented division? Ovechkin is entering his age 33 season having logged over 1000 games and 21,000 minutes of ice time. He is coming off his highest point total since 2010 and it is fair to wonder how long he can keep up this level of production, which is what he would have to do to win the division for a fourth consecutive season. The Metro is deep, there is added pressure on the defending champions and oh yea, they have a new head coach. Any slip up under the new leadership could put the Caps in a hole that they may not be able to dig themselves out of in terms of winning the division.
Pittsburgh Penguins (Even) – Hard to argue with the reasoning why this team is listed as even money. An offense that includes Crosby, Malkin, Kessel, Brassard, Guentzel, Hornqvist and Hagelin is potent to say the least. In the past, the collection of offensive firepower and quality goaltending was enough to overcome the lack of talent on the defensive end. But, this year, the Penguins have seemed to take it to the extreme. It’s laughable to have signed Jack Johnson to a 5 year, 16 million dollar contract, a 31 year old defenseman who has literally never had a season with a CF% above 50% and the Penguins plan on paying him 3+ million per season until he is 36! The other problem going into this season is that Matt Murray just wasn’t that good last year. If the Penguins want to win this division, he is going to have to improve his .907 save percentage and -8.11 Goals Saved Above Average. This team is a lock for 95 points as long as Crosby and Malkin can stay healthy, regardless of their bad defense and suspect goaltending. If Matt Murray can bounce back and Kris Letang can stay healthy, this team is firmly in the 100+ point conversation and primed for a run at the Metro title.
Vegas is fucking with me and I’m going to bite
Columbus Blue Jackets (+500) – Here we go folks, this feels like a total trap but I’m going to bite because I really believe in the talent the Jackets have assembled and the opportunity they have in front of them. This pick is risky, I won’t lie, but the reward is great. Star forward, Artemi Panarin, and stud goalie, Sergei Bobrovsky, are both unrestricted free agents after this season. Rumors have already been swirling that Panarin wants out of Columbus. This information only makes me more confident in this pick (because I am a degenerate) because the Jackets are going to go all in this season. It is unlikely they will be able to re-sign both players and losing either one would destroy their hopes of hoisting the cup. I think the Jackets are going to make one last ditch effort, this season, to win the whole fucking thing. Honestly, I can see Torts giving a speech of this style at some point in the season but at the end he punches a hole in the wall.
We should talk about Torts for a second, the guy is straight up nuts. You don’t watch so much hockey, you say? Who is this crazy Torts guy, you say? Here he is, losing it on a ref (The ref got his shots in too). Here he is, threatening to fight a reporter, and for the kicker, here he is, trying to go into the opponents locker room during intermission and fight a player. While I may think he’s nuts (he is), he has also been successful at almost every stop of his coaching career. He knows this roster is built to win right now and that this is probably the best chance he will have with this group. They have one of the deepest offensive units in the NHL, a extremely talented top defensive pair in young studs, Jones and Werenski, and a Vezina caliber goalie in Bobrovsky. This team is WAY too talented to be +500, I’ll be betting on the Jackets, let’s win some money together!! LEO!!
Vegas is fucking with me but I’m not going to bite
Philadelphia Flyers (+500) – This one is going to be short because the explanation is short. Offensively and defensively, this team has the talent to compete with the top of the division but the lack of consistent and quality goaltending will be the reason they are competing for a wild card spot and not a division title. If they do get consistent goalie play, which won’t happen, this team will be dangerous.
New Jersey Devils (+1000) – Similar to the Flyers, this team’s problem is goaltending. To expect a full season’s worth of production at a level required to win the division out of Keith Kinkaid is unlikely at best. Taylor Hall is a straight up stud, who broke out in a big way last season with 93 points and Nico is looking like the first line center the Devils were hoping for when they picked him 1st overall in the 2017 draft. This team has talent, and they are squarely in the Wild Card conversation, but they don’t have the depth or goaltending to win the division.
I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE HYPE
Carolina Hurricanes (+800) – How the Hurricanes have better odds of winning the division than the Devils makes very little sense to me. I agree they have more talent on the back end by adding Dougie Hamilton from the Flames but he doesn’t come without his drawbacks. Hamilton has been shipped from two teams despite tremendous production on the ice for a reason. He has garnered a reputation as not being a team-first guy and enough so to the point that these teams don’t feel he is worth the plus production. Besides that, the Hurricanes have had major issues putting the puck in the back of the net. They scored 228 Goals last season, which was good enough for 10th worst in the NHL and last in the Metro division. They lost their 2nd leading goal scorer from last season in Jeff Skinner, which won’t help solve their anemic offense issue. This roster just doesn’t have enough to compete with the big dogs of the division.
Close your eyes, it’s a hot summer day, you take a deep breath of the ever haunting aroma that is hot trash in NYC. Now open your eyes, it’s the winter and that hot trash smell is just the Rangers and Islanders.
New York Rangers (+1150) – The Rangers are in full rebuild mode: new coach, new mentality, and a bunch of losses. The Rangers are mostly focused on the development of their younger players. 2017 first round picks, Lias Anderson and Filip Chytil, both expect to crack the roster to start the year, and their development is key for the Rangers future. At some point this team is going to have to figure out a plan for a world without Henrik Lundqvist.
New York Islanders (+1100) – The Islanders immediate future hung in the balance of John Tavares and he chose Toronto, simple as that. The Islanders finished last season with 80 points in a year in which Tavares played in all 82 games and included a massive season from Calder trophy winner, Mathew Barzal, so to expect them to get 80 points again without Tavares, seems irresponsible at best. Hard to imagine them finishing above 7th with the roster they have put together.
BONUS CONTENT: Torts is out of control
Bonus Bonus Content: What the fuck are the flyers thinking with Gritty????