Washington Capitals: Metropolitan Division Predictions


Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

How will the Metropolitan Division play out for the Washington Capitals? With some help from friends, here are some predictions.

The Washington Capitals have put themselves in a good position for playoff success in 2015-2016. However, it’s important to consider the road to be one of the top teams in the NHL. It’s important to remember that the Metropolitan Division could feature as many as five playoff teams. The Metropolitan Division could have three of the best teams in the NHL.


With some help from my friends DJ Saam from Talk The Red and Becky from Blue Seat Blog (and my dog Zelda), here are some predictions about how the Washington Capitals and the rest of the Metropolitan Division will do this year. Zelda represents a random number generator. I put a post-it note for each team on a tiny Kong filled with peanut butter. The order in which she played with the Kongs is her prediction for the standings. I also let my dog make predictions so everyone can laugh when we get outsmarted by a dog.

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Saam believes that the Washington Capitals will win the Metropolitan Division. The Islanders will finish in second. The Blue Jackets will finish in third, narrowly beating out the Penguins. The Penguins (fourth place) and Rangers (fifth place) will both wind up getting wild card spots. The Devils will finish in sixth. The Flyers will finish in seventh. The Hurricanes will finish in eighth.

Becky’s predictions are fairly similar. The bolded teams make the playoffs.

  1. Washington Capitals
  2. NYI
  3. NYR
  4. PIT
  5. CBJ
  6. CAR
  7. PHI
  8. NJD

She also had this to say:

"The Metropolitan Division will send 5 teams to the playoffs this year, with a lot of talent coming in from many trades early in this offseason. The beginning of July (and end of June for Columbus) saw the massive talent in Phil Kessel, the wicked hands of T.J. Oshie, and a star in the making in Brandon Saad find their way into the division, much to the dismay of teams in the rebuilding phase. The Washington Capitals will benefit mostly from another year under Trotz, with backup from Oshie and a brilliant season from Braden Holtby. The Islanders are growing stronger, but with a typically inconsistent (EDITORS NOTE: except when he plays the Capitals because he turns into Patrick Roy 2.0 when that happens) Jaroslav Halak only questionable for the opener, it could be a shaky season.The Rangers didn’t make many headline moves, but some rookies could make a big difference. Chris Kreider is looking to earn his keep. Pittsburgh and Columbus are both loaded up on offense, but both have shaky defensive depth. I also can’t see Nick Foligno having another 70-point season, as he turns 28 soon and is typically a career 40 point man.The bottom three are all similarly rebuilding. Carolina is debuting Noah Hanifin, who is poised to be a great talent. Philly is shedding older, heavier contracts, and the Devils are completely reconstructing themselves and their identity with Lou Lamoriello stepping down and heading to Toronto."

Zelda’s predictions are bold. I like it. Either that or she just really loves peanut butter.

  1. Islanders
  2. Washington Capitals
  3. Flyers
  4. Rangers
  5. Blue Jackets
  6. Hurricanes
  7. Devils
  8. Penguins

Perhaps Zelda knows something about the Penguins that we don’t? Finally, here are my predictions. Bolded teams will make the playoffs.

  1. Washington Capitals
  2. Penguins
  3. Islanders
  4. Rangers
  5. Blue Jackets
  6. Flyers
  7. Hurricanes
  8. Devils

The Washington Capitals were a disallowed goal away from advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals. Adding Justin Williams and Oshie makes them even better than they were last season. I’m concerned about their fourth line, but that’s a relatively easy problem to fix should that problem arise.

The Penguins will be an excellent team on two conditions. The first is that they remain healthy. The second is that Kris Letang can play a full season. Letang is the cream of the crop amongst Eastern Conference defensemen when he’s healthy. He hasn’t been able to stay healthy lately. If he stays healthy, they’re a Stanley Cup contender and might even pass the Washington Capitals in the standings. If he’s not, they’re screwed. I figure Lady Luck has cursed Letang to the point where he will have good luck for once.

The Islanders didn’t upgrade this off-season, but I don’t think they needed to. Their forward depth is disgustingly good. John Tavares will have a Hart Trophy caliber season (again). Their defense will be their Achilles’ heel. Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk are an excellent top pairing. After them, their defense is sketchy at best.

The Rangers will miss Martin St. Louis and Carl Hagelin. That said, they still have an impressive forward group. I’m not sold on their defense like most people are. Henrik Lundqvist is an elite goalie no matter how you define “elite”. If he gets injured this season, Cam Talbot won’t be there to replace him. The Rangers rode a PDO (on-ice shooting percentage plus save percentage) tidal wave into the Eastern Conference finals last season. Can the tidal wave continue or will it merely be a ripple? Will a PDO tidal wave sweep them out of the playoffs?

I am not confident enough in Columbus to say that they will definitely be a playoff team. I think that they will contend for a playoff spot, but I’m not sold on their defense at all. I don’t care how awesome he is at playing guitar, Jack Johnson is not a viable first pairing defenseman. The Florida Panthers and Ottawa Senators (maybe even the Boston Bruins) will push them for a playoff spot.

I hate the Flyers with all my heart and soul. It pains me so much to say that Ron Hextall did a brilliant job this offseason. The Flyers still have awful contracts to get rid of. Hextall will probably find a way to get rid of them. The Devils and Hurricanes are both going to be terrible. The Canes have Eddie Lack, who loves tacos. I love tacos. That’s about as fair of a tiebreaker as any.

Give SaamBecky, and I (@BmoreDaveS) a follow. Be sure to heckle us if and when my dog’s predictions are more right than ours.

Next: Five Bold Predictions For The Caps

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