NHL Metro Division Preview: 2022-2023, Who Rules a Fiercely Competitive Metro?
Hurricanes Hoping for More Success While Penguins and Rangers Looking to Break Out
NHL Metro Division Preview: The Carolina Hurricanes are favored to repeat as champions, but the Penguins and Rangers are close behind.
In 2021 the Carolina Hurricanes finished 54-20-8 (116 points) to win the division by six points over the New York Rangers. Metro teams have been difficult to figure out for the betting public when facing opposing divisions. Since 2013, Metro teams are 1824-1718 (51.50%) when facing non-divisional foes, but that hasn’t been enough to overcome losses of 4374 units. Let’s continue the NHL Metro Division preview by looking at all eight teams with our NHL betting predictions.
- Opening Night: Tampa Bay Lightning (0-0) at New York Rangers (0-0)
- Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
- Day/Time: Tuesday, October 11th, 7:30 PM ET / 4:30 PM PT
- Streaming: Live Stream Sports
Carolina Hurricanes (54-20-8, 116 points)
- Division Odds: +185
- Conference Odds: +550
- Stanley Cup Odds: +1200
- Projected Season Point Total: 102.5 (-115)
The Carolina Hurricanes used five goaltenders last season but that’s not a concern when you’re dominating possession time. Last season, the Hurricanes owned 56.22% of the shot share and 57.78% of five on five goals. In the offseason, ‘Canes GM Don Waddell went out and made his team stronger by adding veteran defense Brent Burns, Paul Stastny, and Max Pacioretty who will miss about half the season.
You can afford to wait on ‘Patches’ when you already possess incredible depth. If goaltender Frederik Andersen stays healthy, you can count on the Hurricanes making a run at the Eastern Conference crown. 2022 marked the fourth straight season that Carolina has been profitable for bettors (+442 units). Since 2018, the Hurricanes have returned 1138 units behind a 174-114 record.
In that span, only three other teams (Lightning +1529 units, Capitals +1476, Rangers +1474) have made more money for their backers. Against teams playing .550 hockey or better, the ‘Canes are on an 87-48 stretch (+754 units) over the last two seasons. That’s a clear indication that Rod Brind’Amour’s team is a quality wager on any given night.
Pittsburgh Penguins (46-25-11, 63 points)
- Division Odds: +300
- Conference Odds: +1000
- Stanley Cup Odds: +2200
- Projected Season Point Total: 102.5 (under -120)
Believe it or not, the Pittsburgh Penguins have not won a playoff series since 2018. That streak appeared as if it was going to run for a few more years in the offseason when it was undecided if they were going to be able to sign both Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin, but in the end, Ron Hextall was able to keep the band back together for another run at their sixth Stanley Cup championship.
Defensively they added Jeff Petry, Ty Smith, and Jan Rutta. Ryan Poehling was added to the forward group that looks like they’ll be able to match their depth scoring from a year ago. They’re so deep that veterans Jason Zucker and Rickard Rakell rarely get mentioned but both will play valuable second-line minutes centered by Malkin. Unfortunately for the public.
The Penguins did not turn a season-long profit despite a 49-40 (-487 units) including the playoffs. They were a safe wager when getting plus money but as a favorite, the often overvalued Pens lost 503 units. As a home favorite, they finished 21-16 but lost bettors 528 units. Pittsburgh as a road dog is the safest way to bet them this season.
New York Rangers (52-24-6, 110 points)
- Division Odds: +300
- Conference Odds: +1000
- Stanley Cup Odds: +2000
- Projected Season Point Total: 99.5 (-115)
Head Coach Gerard Gallant did a masterful job with the Rangers, leading them to an Eastern Conference final in 2021 before losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Even with adding another successful year to his resume’, his motivation has to be through the roof considering he was been let go in each of his three stops shortly after his teams hit a peak.
In 2017-18 with the Vegas Golden Knights, Gallant washed a 109-point season down with a 93-point effort and a first-round exit against the San Jose Sharks in 2019. He was fired after 49 games into his third season. There are similar stories to tell in Florida and Columbus.
New York lost Frank Vatrano (Ducks), Ryan Strome (Ducks), and Andrew Copp (Red Wings) in the offseason. GM Drury is banking on the kids to step up and play bigger minutes while adding Vincent Trocheck to help be a menace on special teams.
Igor Shesterkin will have some veteran help behind him this season with the additions of Louis Domingue and Jaroslav Halak. New York finished the season as the most profitable team of the campaign, winning bettors 1091 units. Since 2019, New York is 126-105, +1560 units, trailing only Colorado (+1665) in that three-year span
New York Islanders (37-35-10, 84 points)
- Division Odds: +750
- Conference Odds: +1600
- Stanley Cup Odds: +3300
- Projected Season Point Total: 93.5 (under -120)
With their first 13 games of the 2021-22 season on the road, the NHL decided it was only right to give New York the first four games of the season at UBS arena. The Islanders came with a 5-6-2 record but the toll it took on the team would be felt all season long. Out is Barry Trotz as head coach, replaced by Lane Lambert who is entering his first season as a head coach in the NHL.
They locked up their number two center, Mathew Barzal, to an 8-year, $73.2 million dollar deal, but besides that New York will run it back with the same team as last year, except for the retirement of seven-time all-star Zdeno Chara after 24 seasons.
After a streak of three straight winning seasons for bettors, the Islanders broke that string with 1537 units lost overall (25th overall). As an underdog, Barry Trotz’s team was just 10-30 (-1808 units). Only five other teams lost more money on the road for the betting public than the Islanders. This team will be better but we’re still not convinced it’s a playoff team.
Washington Capitals (44-26-12, 100 points)
- Division Odds: +650
- Conference Odds: +1800
- Stanley Cup Odds: +4000
- Projected Season Point Total: 95.5 (-115)
As long as Alexander Ovechkin is in a Capital uniform, not much is going to change. The offense will go through the 12-time all-star, while much of the Capitals’ hopes of getting back on top of a division they’ve owned since its inception. GM Brian MacLellan brought in Darcy Kuemper, who is fresh off winning a Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche, to give them some much-needed stability after losing Ilya Samsonov (Toronto) and trading Vitek Vanecek to New Jersey.
With an aging line-up, health will always be the reason they find success or not. Every big name in the line-up has dealt with injuries including Ovi late in the 21-22 season. The acquisition of Connor Brown (Ottawa) and Dylan Strome (Rangers) will help but Head Coach Peter Laviolette will once again lean on his stars.
The Capitals lost in the first round of the playoffs last year to the Florida Panthers, a series they know they should have won. Washington lost 423 units last season, breaking a seven-year run of producing a profit. Too many things have to go well for Washington to make a deep run in the postseason or make it at all.
New Jersey Devils (27-46-9, 63 points)
- Division Odds: +1600
- Conference Odds: +3300
- Stanley Cup Odds: +7500
- Projected Season Point Total: 90.5 (-115)
The projected season point total is right on, No team in this division should improve more than New Jersey after a 63-point season. General Manager Tom Fitzgerald added Ondrej Palat, Erik Haula, John Marino, and Vitek Vanecek to the mix.
Veteran Head Coach Lindy Ruff will be behind the bench to start his 23rd season in the NHL, the third with the Devils. When the 22-23 season is over, the biggest get might be Erik Hauls who scored 29 goals with the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017-18 before suffering a major knee injury in early 2018. Since, his biggest output came last year in Boston when he scored 18 goals, his largest output since his breakout campaign in the desert.
When the 22-23 season is over, the biggest get might be Erik Hauls who scored 29 goals with the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017-18 before suffering a major knee injury in early 2018.
Palat brings Stanley Cup experience while Marino is a defensive upgrade. Despite the upgrades and optimism, Devil bettors know that -4843 units lost over the last four seasons have left a major dent in the bankroll of many Devil backers, In that span, no team has lost more units per $100 wager than Jersey. That must change before bettors can share in the positive vibes coming from Newark.
Philadelphia Flyers (25-46-11, 61 points)
- Division Odds: +6600
- Conference Odds: +5000
- Stanley Cup Odds: +10000
- Projected Season Point Total: 80.5 (-115)
Say what you want about the new Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella, but there is no doubt that Philadelphia is perfect for the veteran coach. For a team that finished 13th in penalty minutes last season, the discipline that Torts requires should help the franchise be better than they were last season.
For Philly to move towards a playoff spot, they must be better on the power play (12.6%, 31st). The arrival of Tony DeAngelo from Carolina should improve that. Tortorella said many times that accountability is first in implementing a culture change.
Gritty should not be reserved for the mascot. Like in Columbus, Tortorella’s immediate impact will be felt on the defensive end. Opposing teams will not enjoy the space they were handed last season. Whether that’s good enough to push Philly into the playoff conversation remains to be seen. NHL spreads, or puck lines will be an attractive option on most nights because they’ll always come to play hard.
That wraps up our NHL Metro Division preview, here’s our predicted order of finish.
- Carolina Hurricanes
- Pittsburgh Penguins
- New York Rangers
- Washington Capitals
- New York Islanders
- Columbus Blue Jackets
- New Jersey Devils
- Philadelphia Flyers
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