The Metropolitan division is stacked

The Pittsburgh Penguins underwent a facelift this offseason. So did the rest of the Metropolitan division.

The New Jersey Devils traded for P.K. Subban and Nikita Gusev, drafted Jack Hughes, and brought in free agent forward Wayne Simmonds.

Jack Hughes is a potentially franchise altering player. Nikita Gusev is said to be the best player in the world who hasn't played in the NHL. Taylor Hall, the Hart Trophy winner two years ago, presumably will be healthier this year than he was last. Ray Shero has done work, and the Devils will be pesky because of it.

The Rangers signed Artemi Panarin, traded for Jacob Trouba, and drafted Kaapo Kakko who figures to have an immediate impact. I don't think they're a threat to win the division, but they sure as hell will be competitive.

The Flyers acquired Kevin Hayes to be their second line center and will be able to count on phenom Carter Hart to start the majority of their games in goal. As much as it pains me to say, Philadelphia is going to contend for a playoff spot.

The Capitals, who have won the Metro in each of the last four seasons, will still be good. The Islanders are due for a bit of regression, but they're still a bitch to play against. The Hurricanes, who were already fast, added Ryan Dzingel.

The Penguins were 15-12-6 last year on December 12th. If that happens this year, it could be a tough climb into playoff contention. It's imperative for the Pens to get off to a fast start this year. They can't count on having a sub-par season and then turning it on in March. That won't be good enough. The division is too competitive.

Adam Crowley

Adam Crowley

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