2019 NHL Metropolitan Division Expert Predictions with Betting Odds and Picks
The Metropolitan Division has been the best and most competitive division (in my opinion) since the league underwent realignment and pushed teams into four divisions instead of the six there were prior. Since 2013, the Metro Division has produced three Stanley Cup Champions (Pittsburgh in 2016 and 2017, and Washington in 2018) and three President's Trophy winners (New York in 2015 and Washington back-to-back in 2016 and 2017).
From a division standpoint, the Capitals have been head-and-shoulders above the rest of the teams as they've captured four of the six division crowns that have been up for grabs. This year, much of the same is expected as the Capitals are the favorites to win the division for the fifth straight years with odds of +350.
Behind them, the Pittsburgh Penguins check-in as second favorites at +425, with the Carolina Hurricanes (+475), New Jersey Devils (+500) and New York Islanders (+500) right on their heels. Then we have a bit of a drop to the Philadelphia Flyers at +900, the New York Rangers at +1000 and then the Columbus Blue Jackets at +2200. On paper, this looks like the toughest division in hockey.
If you want to get in on Doc's NHL selection, you can join the team now and start winning with us. We expect a big season this year on the ice, and you can get all our winning picks from puck drop on October 2 right through until the Stanley Cup is awarded in June.
The Favorite: Washington Capitals
The Washington Capitals were supposed to suffer from a Stanley Cup hangover last season after winning the Cup for the first time in their franchise history the year prior. They threw a hell of an offseason party, and many hockey experts would have excused their mediocre season. That's not what the Caps had in mind. Instead, they proceeded to win the division before getting knocked off in the first round of the playoffs by a pesky Carolina Hurricanes squad.
What we like about the Caps is that they have the core of their roster still intact from that Cup-winning season and have not one, but two goalies capable of pulling away with the starting position. In a division that features teams like Pittsburgh and Carolina - teams who love to push the pace and play high-scoring hockey, the Caps have the offensive firepower, led by Alex Ovechkin, to go toe-to-toe with those teams. They also have the defensive awareness to battle it out with teams like the Rangers and Columbus in lower-scoring games.
If you're looking to back the Caps from a
season-long betting perspective
, you can grab them right now at +2000 to win their second Stanley Cup in
three seasons or you can grab Ovechkin at +600 to lead the league in goals
for the third straight season and seventh time in eight seasons.
The Contenders: Pittsburgh Penguins + New Jersey Devils
With all due respect to the Carolina Hurricanes, I'm just not sure their style of hockey is sustainable over a long period of time, which is why I don't have them as serious contenders for the division. Instead, I'll start with the Pittsburgh Penguins, who still have Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on their roster, which makes them a scary team to play against.
From a Penguins point of view - essentially through the lens of back-to-back Cups in 2016 and 2017 - last year was a disaster for the franchise. Sure, they made the playoffs but got knocked out in the first. The main issue was on defense, as they were down a bunch of key players throughout the season and lost a lot of games through injury. The goals per game rose dramatically from the previous year, and Crosby and Malkin could only do so much. The hope around Pittsburgh is the team did enough in the offseason to fix the issues, and I believe they did.
You can grab the Penguins at -205 to make the playoffs, or you can take the +1100-price tag on Crosby to win the Hart Trophy this year.
As for New Jersey, the Devils might have had one of the better offseasons throughout the league as they went out and got P.K. Subban from Nashville and drafted Jack Hughes with the first overall pick in the entry draft. They also added guys like Nikita Gusev, Wayne Simmonds and Mirco Mueller to the roster, which gives them a very deep and talented top-six forwards. The Devils will be eager to make the postseason this year after missing it for the sixth time in seven seasons. We like what they are building, and we believe they can fight for one of the top three spots in the division this year at the expense of the Hurricanes and Flyers.
You can grab New Jersey at -125 to go over their projected win total of 90.5, or you can grab Subban at +110 to win the Norris Trophy.
The Rest: Carolina, Philadelphia, New York, Columbus, and New York
Out of these five teams, the team I would trust the most with my money would be the Philadelphia Flyers. They always seem to have goaltending issues but have seemingly solved that problem with the emergence of Carter Hart. They also have solid offensive options with Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier and Travis Konecny making up one of the most exciting top lines in all of hockey. They are currently listed at -130 to make the playoffs, and I'd take that bet as I see them as a wild-card contender. Teams like the New York Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets are rebuilding and will be a few years away from contending for the division while Carolina and the Islanders play a brand of hockey that not sustainable for successful hockey.
Get $60 worth of member's NHL picks absolutely free - no obligation, no sales people - you don't even have to enter credit card information. You can use this $60 credit any way you please on any of our top hockey handicappers. Get $60 worth of premium members' picks free ! Also, for a limited time get three hockey handicappers for the price of one! Click here for our 3-for-1 NHL picks offer . Also, get free NHL picks every day on Doc's Sports NHL predictions page.
Get all of Tonight's Free NHL Picks.
Get all of Tonight's Expert Expert NHL Picks.