Last season, the Metropolitan Division was the toughest in the NHL, producing the Stanley Cup champ, the regular season champ and three of the top four teams in the overall standings.
How’s the division shaping up for 2017-18 after a summer of change for a few of its eight teams?
This week, CSN is taking a look at each club's offseason moves and predicting how they’ll do this winter.
Team: Carolina Hurricanes
2016-17 Results: 36-31-15 (87 points). Seventh in division, 12th in conference. Did not reach the playoffs.
Notable acquisitions: F Justin Williams, F Josh Jooris, G Scott Darling, D Trevor van Riemsdyk, F Marcus Kruger
Notable departures: F Jay McClement, G Eddie Lack
2017-18 Hurricanes analysis and prediction: Carolina is arguably the most improved team this offseason and also return a stong, young core. The most important move was the trade for goalie Scott Darling. The Hurricanes were ranked 26th in team save percentage last season. If Darling can provide consistency in net, that will be a huge boost. Carolina finished last season eight points out of the playoffs. Even with some questions on offense, they can easily make up that gap with the improvements they made.
Team: New Jersey Devils
2016-17 Results: 28-40-17 (70 points). Eighth in division, 16th in conference. Did not reach the playoffs.
Notable acquisitions: F Nico Hischier, F Brian Boyle, F Marcus Johansson
Notable departures: F Michael Cammalleri, D Mirco Mueller, D Jon Merrill
2017-18 Devils analysis and prediction: After years of looking like they had no direction, there may finally be light at the end of the tunnel for New Jersey. The Devils improved tremendously on offense with Nico Hischier, the top overall draft pick, and Marcus Johansson. Did they do enough to end their five-year playoff drought? Probably not, but they did take a big step in the right direction.
Team: New York Islanders
2016-17 Results: 41-29-12 (94 points). Fifth in division, 9th in conference. Did not reach the playoffs.
Notable acquisitions: F Jordan Eberle
Notable departures: G Jean-Francois Berube, D Travis Hamonic, F Ryan Strome
2017-18 Islanders analysis and prediction: After firing Jack Capuano midseason, the Islanders went 24-12 under Doug Weight. They then proceeded to do little to help him in the offseason. Jordan Eberle is a solid addition and their three-goalie headache is now solved thanks to J.F. Berube going to Vegas. But this is a team that did not make the playoffs last year and did very little to improve, banking instead on their prospects being able to contribute enough to get them over the edge. To go with the concerns on the ice, there is also a major concern off of it as they will have to deal with the headache of John Tavares nearing free agency without an extension. The noise surrounding Tavares' status will only get louder as the season goes on. Can they compete for a playoff spot? Sure, but they will ultimately be watching the postseason from home.
More Metro Division previews:
Samaje Perine's highlight reel will not feature many clips from his first preseason game. The rookie running back out of Oklahoma struggled in that game, rushing six times for just 15 yards.
In his second game, however, Perine found his game. Playing with the second team offense, Perine looked strong. He ran eight times for 45 yards, more than 5.5 yards-per-carry, and also caught one pass for 29 yards.
"I just got the first game under my belt. First game jitters always going to happen. Once I got that out of the way I got to settle in," Perine said (full video above). "I got to go out and have fun."
More importantly, Perine didn't make the same mistakes the Redskins saw in Baltimore. He held onto the ball, made an impressive catch, and while pass protection will still take some work, he made tremendous strides from the first game.
"The first game everything was going 100 miles-per-hour," he said of the difference between Week 1 to Week 2. "Once I got a chance to actually reevaluate, and slow things down, it just became football."
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden noticed the difference in Perine's play as well.
"I think there was a major step up and I expected that from Samaje," the coach said. "He’s the type of guy that I figured would bounce back. I’m glad to see him play so hard, so well."
The Redskins first-team offense again struggled to run the ball. Rob Kelley doesn't seem to be doing much wrong, as holes and running lanes have not been present with the top unit on the field, but his stats through two games are paltry (12 rushes, 11 yards).
Perine might eventually push Kelley for carries, but that won't be the case at least early in the season. More performances like the game against Green Bay could possibly accelrate that timeline.
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