Where Do the New Jersey Devils Stack Up in Metropolitan Division?

Mar 1, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; New Jersey Devils defenseman Dougie Hamilton (7) during the second period against the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 1, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; New Jersey Devils defenseman Dougie Hamilton (7) during the second period against the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /
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It is still the long hot days of summer with hockey feeling far off, but August is drawing to a close and next month we will be starting training camp. Then, we’re just a few short weeks away from the pre-season. Free agency is done for most teams, and other than Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, who might be waiting to sign depending on health, Tomas Tatar is really the only big name left. So with that all said, let’s take a look at the Metropolitan Division, where teams stack up, and the early prediction of where they will finish.

1. Carolina Hurricanes

They won the Metro last season and took down the Islanders and Devils in the playoffs. They are going to be the team to beat again next season. They have such a strong system, defensive core, and high-end offense with a core of players who are in their prime. The team also improved in the offseason by adding Dmitri Orlov to an already stacked blueline. Tony DeAngelo returned and can absolutely thrive in a depth role. Take a look at their defense from 1-6.


This is a scary core and probably the best in the league which is how teams win the Stanley Cup. In the regular season, they have the depth to roll 3 pairs comfortably, making sure the top guys are not overworked. Come playoff time, they can’t get feasted on by bad matchups as easily as most teams. We all have seen a hot goalie take teams far, so if any of their guys get moderately hot they will be nearly impossible to score on. It is also worth remembering that they were able to hold the top spot and come out of the division without a high-end forward in Andrei Svechnikov.

2. New Jersey Devils

The Devils will finish in the same spot as last season for a few reasons. The loss of Ryan Graves and Damon Severson is a hit and the defense will be worse this season, at least in the defensive end. The addition of Colin Miller is a depth move. He will be in competition for that final spot with Brendan Smith and Simon Nemec which could go any way.

The real addition is Luke Hughes, who should be a big hit offensively. He will have some defensive hiccups like all young defenders but with some second powerplay time should have some decent numbers. In net, this team will also be rocking a very solid and underrated tandem with Vitek Vanecek and Akira Schmid so we can reasonably expect to have two guys with above .910 save percentages and not be forced to watch a pile of losses thanks to the .885 numbers this team put out in previous seasons.

On the offensive side of things, the team added a big shot in Tyler Toffoli. They also added some serious depth, which will be a matchup nightmare for other teams. They also should expect bigger years from some of the young and improving players such as Dawson Mercer and Jack Hughes, which is the most exciting thing to think about moving closer to the season.

New Jersey Devils
New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31): Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports /

3. New York Rangers

The Rangers are a lock for the playoffs just like the Devils. The top three in this division are all legit contenders for the Stanley Cup. Adam Fox and Jacob Trouba are legit high-end defensemen. Igor Shesterkin is a top-five goalie in the league, if not the outright best. Like the previous two teams, they have high-end talent in the top six. A lot of the veterans are in the win-now age range, but they also have some good young players who could still figure it out and push this team over the top.

4: Pittsburgh Penguins

This team is very old but experienced, talented, and should be able to compete. It is a bit of a wildcard, mostly due to injury history. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are still elite centers, but if either misses significant time, their depth down the middle is an old Lars Eller and an older Jeff Carter which is a big weakness versus the teams above them in this division. On the wings, they have some good veterans, but the only star who you probably know what you will get out of them is Jake Guentzel. Any of the other mid-30-year-olds could fall off a cliff at any moment. All that being said, their powerplay is going to be frightening. If they can be an average team at 5v5, this could push them over the top.

On the back end, they took a massive step forward adding a solid defender in Graves and superstar offensive defensemen and reigning Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson. They will be way better on the back end this season, but both deals will probably hurt them in a few years. In net, Tristan Jarry could be decent enough. He has shown he can play at a high level before. If they get that version of him they could surprise us.