The New Jersey Devils and the rest of the National Hockey League are set to kick off this week. It all begins Tuesday night when the Tampa Bay Lightning raise their Stanley Cup Championship banner ahead of facing the Pittsburgh Penguins. Following that, the Seattle Kraken will play their first game ever against the Vegas Golden Knights. After a long summer, we are finally here.
The Devils play in the Metropolitan Division which has mixed expectations as a group. It was recently considered the best division in the league but that might not be the case anymore. The division’s former powers are now teams on the down so it will be interesting to see how it goes.
There are a lot of different ways to go but there are teams that you can expect a few teams to be near the top. There are also a couple of teams that you can expect to be at the bottom. Unfortunately, the Devils are a team that you have to see at the bottom until proven differently.
- New York Islanders
- Washington Capitals
- Carolina Hurricanes
- Pittsburgh Penguins
- Philadelphia Flyers
- New York Rangers
- New Jersey Devils
- Columbus Blue Jackets
The New Jersey Devils go into the season needing to prove everyone wrong.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are clearly the last place team right now. They lost Seth Jones via trade with the Chicago Blackhawks and that was one of a few big roster moves that they made including a coaching change.
Unfortunately, the New Jersey Devils have some proving to do. They have been bad for a few years now and have to prove that they are moving up. Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes look like they can be superstars, but they need to get there in order for this team to succeed. They might be a bubble team by the time it’s all said and done, but for now, it is hard to predict them any higher than 7th.
The Pittsburgh Penguins (as long as Sidney Crosby returns in a somewhat timely fashion), New York Rangers, and Philadelphia Flyers are all going to compete for that fourth place spot and battle with the Atlantic Division teams for a playoff spot via the Wild Card. Based on Pittsburgh’s experience, they get the nod for now.
The top three in the division feel obvious. The New York Islanders, Washington Capitals, and Carolina Hurricanes have been the three best teams in the Metro for a few years now. It doesn’t feel like this is the year that changes.
Hopefully, this is the year that the New Jersey Devils prove the doubters wrong. They have the talent to do so now with additions like Dougie Hamilton, Jonathan Bernier, and Tomas Tatar. We talked about Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes, but Yegor Sharangovich, Janne Kuokkanen, Jesper Bratt, Ty Smith, and Dawson Mercer are going to be important as well.
With this roster, it is going to be exciting to see them try and take down the division. They have a lot of great forwards and good defensemen that should be able to play well in front of some good goalies. If they can get healthy and stay relatively healthy all year, they might be better than advertised here.