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Factoring in what we've seen to date, and post-deadline rosters, we share our thoughts on which team is best inside the Metro Division.
The Carolina Hurricanes.
On the year, they sit 2nd in both Corsi For% and Scoring Chance For%. They've consistently out-played their opponents – often times significantly so – at 5v5. They just didn't get properly rewarded for their efforts for a long, long time.
Since they bought low on Nino Niederreiter, who has fit in like a glove, that has changed completely. Their strong shot and chance numbers are being reflected on the scoreboard.
Over the last 20 games, the Hurricanes have posted a league-best +19 goal differential at 5v5. That's coincided with a 14-4-2 run, which has put the Hurricanes firmly in the mix for not only a playoff spot, but perhaps a division title.
They may not have as much name-brand talent as Pittsburgh or Washington, but they have a balanced forward group, a strong defense, and finally – finally – they're getting some competent goaltending.
In a down year for the division, it's not hard to argue Carolina just might be the best of the bunch.
The best team in the Metro is a tough question. The Blue Jackets have the best team on paper, and if they figure it out they're scary. They've got the goalie, the depth and two studs on the blue line. Results aside, they're the best.
The Penguins are pretty good even though they've got a pretty weak blueline after making some recent insane additions, but I still like their team. I hope no one says the Islanders, as they proved last night, they're a basement team unless they get stellar goaltending. They are first round fodder for whoever draws them.
I think the best team is probably the Jackets or the Hurricanes, since I don't know if the Jackets will figure it out. The Hurricanes are a great team with depth and a fantastic blue line. I worry about their goalie though. Tough call, there's three teams in the Atlantic who would be the best in this division. I will say its a tie between Carolina and Columbus. Followed by Pittsburgh, then a big gap, then Washington. If the Devils had Robin Lehner, they'd be in first place, so I rank the Islanders last.
If I was choosing the best Metro team based on what I like it would be Carolina for the way they play and how much fun they are- certainly surging at the right time. However, the top dogs in the Islanders and Capitals reign in this division, even with Carolina being 4 points back.
What Barry Trotz has done with the Islanders still amazes me and I think they might be the most complete team of the top 3 based on him as a coach playing a role. The Caps have the experience but come the post season and how each team is playing I put Trotz at the top and that makes the Islanders the best team in the Metro in my not-so0humble opinion.
Best team in the Central Division?
Best team in the Pacific Division?
Thoughts on the Predators/Wild trade?
Thoughts on the Mark Stone trade?
Thoughts on the Sabres/Ducks trade?
Thoughts on the Matt Duchene trade?
Thoughts on the Bruins/Wild trade?