- BetOnline’s NHL Metropolitan Division Futures slightly favor the Carolina Hurricanes (+200)
- The New York Rangers (+300) have the best goaltender and defenseman in the division
- Pittsburgh (+300) looks to make one last run after re-inking Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang
The Hurricanes are favored to win their third-consecutive Metropolitan Division after acquiring former Norris Trophy winner Brent Burns and forward Max Pacioretty this summer. But, is Carolina really better than the Rangers, the team that eliminated them in the second round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs?
|New York Rangers||+300|
|New York Islanders||+700|
|New Jersey Devils||+1800|
|Columbus Blue Jackets||+5000|
Hurricanes or Rangers?
Carolina (+200) acquired winger Max Pacioretty in the offseason, hoping to get over the hump following their third-straight early playoff exit. However, after tearing his Achilles tendon, the 323-career-goal-scorer is out until at least February. Rod Brind’Amour’s club also upgraded on defense, bringing in 37-year-old Brent Burns to pair with Jaccob Slavin.
The Hurricanes finished six points ahead of the up-and-coming Rangers (+300) before losing their second-round series with the Blueshirts in seven games. New York replaced center Ryan Strome with Vincent Trocheck and named headhunter Jacob Trouba their captain, but were otherwise quiet. With reigning Vezina Trophy winner Igor Shesterkin, 2021 Norris Trophy winner Adam Fox and skilled forwards like Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad, it’s hard to fathom why New York isn’t the favorite to win the division.
— Rangers Nation (@RangerNationNYC) August 28, 2022
Pens and Caps to make one last push?
Pittsburgh (+300) looked to be on the brink of making big changes this summer. But, after re-signing both Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin, the Penguins will bring back the same nucleus that hasn’t advanced past the second round since their last Cup win in 2017.
Sidney Crosby’s rival Alex Oveckin and the Capitals (+900) are much longer shots to claim the Metropolitan following their fourth first-round exit in a row. Washington upgraded in net with Darcy Kuemper, but both Tom Wilson and Nick Backstrom are expected to miss significant time with injuries.
Can Islanders bounce back?
After being just a goal away from advancing to the 2021 Stanley Cup Final, the Islanders (+700) finished 16 points out of an Eastern Conference playoff spot last season. Lou Lamoriello canned respected coach Barry Trotz, but failed in his pursuit of free-agent Nazem Kadri. With tons of talent on the back end, New York could battle for a playoff spot. Though, a division title looks far out of reach.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) July 14, 2022
The Devils (+1800), Flyers (+5000) and Blue Jackets (+5000) are not viewed as contenders. Yet, CBJ is a spectacular value after signing 40-goal-scorer Johnny Gaudreau to pair with Patrik Laine, who was re-upped on a four-year deal.
Columbus is shaky on the blueline aside from Zach Werenski, however this was a near-.500 team last year before adding Johnny Hockey. There’s some value here.
Best Bet: Rangers (+200)
Best Longshot: Bluejackets (+5000)
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